Anything But Basic: The Polo Shirt





By Michelle Crowe



Inès de la Fressange proves that polo shirts have international appeal.


Two or three years ago, I spent an afternoon at Arranmore Farm in Yorkville as a talented photographer captured images of polo players and ponies for a magazine cover and accompanying story. As so often happens, the shoot had come together at the last minute with lots of accompanying stress. Something about the thundering sound of the ponies’ hooves, along with the smell of fresh-cut grass and the mesmerizing blue sky of the summer day combined to melt away the worry.

The players, to a person, showed up in white jeans, amazing custom boots and polo shirts, and they just oozed glamour and style. Probably because they weren’t trying at all and insouciance is the key to winning at casual chic.



Understated style: J.Crew’s collaboration with Lacoste.


This must be why the polo shirt is such a staple for all of us who don’t ride, but look to capture some of the offhand attractiveness of those who do.

With its body-skimming slim fit and collar, a polo pairs well with almost anything, Of course, it’s a natural fit with the jeans and jodhpurs favored by equine experts. It’s also an all-day, everyday favorite with shorts or trousers.



Polo Ralph Lauren Spring 2015.


For ladies, a polo shirt can be the perfectly unexpected choice for statement skirts. I have a favorite metallic brocade Prada skirt in a lovely but tricky mint green and silver color combination. I like it best worn with a white polo.



Alice + Olivia Spring 2014.


Maybe because polo shirts feel complete as is, no one really feels compelled to add a statement necklace or other major accessory so something special like an extra cool skirt or pants in a pop color don’t wind up fighting for the eye’s attention. Again, by not trying too hard, it’s easy to achieve outfit nirvana.



A vintage photo from Bruce Weber offers proof that an unadorned white polo is perfection.


Those looking to show off their perfect polo pairing and those looking to find inspiration or tranquility in the sport of kings still have opportunities to see a match this summer as the Chicago Polo Season runs through September 14. Matches are held at Oak Brook Polo Club and Arranmore Farm & Polo Club. More information is available at