Playing tennis, golf or polo using an upper garment that has long sleeves and buttons all the way from the top to the bottom was very cumbersome and impractical.
That was exactly what Rene Lacoste was thinking back in his heyday as a tennis champion. The French tennis star was a Grand Slam champion seven times during his illustrious career in the 1920’s. Just like other champions, Lacoste was never satisfied and always tried to find a way to improve his game. He identified the uncomfortable outfit as one of the things holding back the improvement of his game.
So he set out to design the polo shirt. It had short sleeves and an unstarched collar made of loosely knit cotton. It was smart and comfortable, and it made playing the game a lot easier.
Since then, different companies have taken Lacoste’s idea to make their own brand of polo shirts. Here now are the top 10 most sold high end polo shirt brands.
10. Kent Wang
Kent Wang is a modern haberdasher that not only sells polo shirts, but also suits, outerwear, shoes, socks, cuff links and ties. The company was established in Austin, Texas in 2007. It is committed to creating high quality and classically designed menswear with timeless design and styling.
9. J. Press
J. Press has been around since the start of the 20th century. It was founded by Jacobi Press in 1902 inside the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. While the New Haven store remains the company’s largest, J. Press also has branches in Washington, D.C., New York and Cambridge in Massachusetts. It is the first brand from the United States to be licensed in Japan when it entered the Asian market in 1974. The Japanese clothing company called Onward Kashiyama now owns the company.
8. Thom Browne
Thom Browne is a line of menswear based in New York City. Browne himself earned his spurs working for such prestigious brands like Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren, where he led the creative development team. He created his own brand when business casual clothing starting to become more acceptable in the corporate world. His designs are distinctive and have won him a couple of awards from GQ Magazine and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
7. Paul Stuart
Paul Stuart is a clothing store established in 1938 in New York. It was founded by Ralph Ostrove, a haberdasher, who decided to name the brand after his son, Paul Stuart Ostrove. While New York is still its largest store, the brand also has locations in Chicago and Japan. A Japanese company called Mitsui now owns the brand after it bought Paul Stuart in December 2012.
6. Vineyard Vines
The brothers Shep and Ian Murray established Vineyard Vines in 1998. The company started out in Martha’s Vineyard, though it is currently based in Stamford, Connecticut. While the brand was first known for its line of ties, it has since expanded to include polo shirts, as well as belts, hats, shorts and even bags for adults and children. It currently has 22 stores, eight outlets and 97 retailers.
5. Brooks Brothers
Brooks Brothers has been around since the 19th century. It was established in 1818 in New York, making it the oldest chain for men’s clothes in the United States. It is known for its innovations in the clothing industry, including ready-to-wear clothing that it first introduced in 1859, Shetland sweater, Argyles socks and the wash and wear shirts. The company prides itself as an outfitter for the American president, having served 39 out of the 44 people who have occupied the White House. Ralph Lauren actually started out as a salesman for Brooks Brothers.
4. Hugo Boss
Hugo Boss is a German luxury fashion house. The brand is named after its founder, Hugo Boss, who established the company in 1924 in Metzingen in Germany. The company has different brands of menswear, including the Boss Black, Boss Selection, Boss Orange, Boss Green and the Hugo Menswear. It now has a presence in 124 countries around the world, with 6,102 points of sale. The company itself directly owns 364 retail shops. It is also open to franchising, with over a thousand stores owned by franchisees. The company produces its products in its native Germany, as well as in Cleveland, Izmir in Turkey, and Radom in Poland and Morrovalle in Italy. It employs nearly 10,000 employees worldwide.
Gucci is known for its high fashion, but it also produces a line of polo shirts. The company was founded in 1921 in Florence in Italy. Gucci is also well known for its watches, jewelry, shoes and leather goods. It now has 278 stores around the world that it directly operates.
2. Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren is a fashion designer from the United States who is best known for the Ralph Lauren Polo brand. He got his training in the clothing industry working as a salesman for Brooks Brothers. He then went out and struck it on his own in 1966 when he started producing neckties. He got his breakthrough the following year when he was backed financially by Norman Hilton. It was then that he started using the Polo brand after Brooks Brothers granted him the rights to use the trademark. In 1972, he released his now famous short sleeve pique shirt with the logo of a polo player. The shirt has now become an icon and Ralph Lauren is now one of the richest people in the world.
Rene Lacoste and Andre Gillier established Lacoste in 1933. The brand is known for its iconic green crocodile logo. Lacoste was called “Crocodile” during his tennis playing days because of his tenacious style in the playing court. It has a presence around the world, oftentimes as concessions in some of the most popular department stores and high end shops, like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, and even Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.