The second (third? fourth? fifth?) coming from polo

Too hot for a sweatshirt; too cold for a T-shirt. Welcome, gentlemen, to the toughest season in menswear (and somewhat silly because of the global warming scorch). As if getting dressed wasn’t hard enough.

But there’s a balm to that strange window of cold mornings and sticky afternoons, and it’s called polo. Once bastardized by 2000s teenagers who thought it was appropriate to do as their favorite Chad of CO and layer four at a time, this age-old piece of menswear has been saved. And rightly so. It’s one of the most versatile items in your wardrobe, transcending its roots on the polo fields and tennis courts to become a staple for presidents. Yes, the current one. But we’d rather show you pictures of JKF cruising the Hamptons, and Obama being Obama.

Recently, polo has returned as part of the prep-goes-skate wave launched by Lower East Side brands like Noah and Aimé Leon Dore. Think wild colors, streetwear-influenced prints and patterns, and boxy cuts that offer plenty of room for backsliding.

All of which means there’s a second (or, at this point, more like the 20th) ahead for polo. But if there’s a reason it’s never left the hippest postcodes: the polo shirt was, unsurprisingly, designed specifically for horse types. John Brooks, the first chairman of the fallen menswear giant Brooks Brothers, noticed that English polo players used buttons to keep their collars from flapping in the wind. Ingenious, he says, and began mass-producing the piece in 1896.

However, it is far from the polo shirts of today. It was in fact a certain Jean René Lacoste (yes, this Lacoste) who is widely credited with inventing the modern iteration: short sleeves, non-starched, cotton pique collar. This makes it ideal for playing tennis. And also vacations, summer, training, cricket, moving and everything in between. But no layering above or below other polo shirts. Leave this madness in CO.

Keep scrolling for our pick of the best polo shirts around, with picks from Axel Arigato, Tombolo, Rowing Blazers and The Row.

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