The Evolution of the Polo Shirt: from Sportswear to Workwear

The ubiquitous polo shirt – used in sports kits and smart-casual fashion, designer brands and uniforms. But how did the garment cross over from sportswear to workwear? And was it really named after the polo game? Read on, as we take a look at the intriguing evolution of the polo shirt.

The Polo Shirt in Sports

During the British Raj, the Indian version of polo was played in stiff, long sleeved shirts. But as the game spread from East to West, buttons were added to stop collars flapping about. Brooks Brothers adapted this idea in 1896 and created the button-down “polo” dress shirt.

We cut to the 1920s, when the standard tennis shirt was just as uncomfortable as the one for polo. Both games were popular with the upper class, so standard “tennis whites” were stuffy long-sleeve dress shirts with starched collars. Enter the world number 1 tennis player of the era. René Lacoste (yes, that Lacoste) was dissatisfied with the heavy fabric and impractical sleeves of the tennish shirt. Lacoste designed a new shirt using a strong pique fabric that allowed the garment to breathe. He added a longer back to tuck in during play, and a ribbed collar that could be turned up to shield players from the sun. This became the benchmark for the polo shirt we wear today: comfortable, durable, and flexible.

Lacoste created a sensation when he debuted the new polo shirt at the 1926 US Open. Other sports, including polo, took note and adopted the comfier style. In 1933, Lacoste co-founded the clothing company of the same name, and sold the fashionable new polos with his trademark Crocodile logo; an early example of brand names on clothing. By the late 1940s, “polo shirt” was the generic term for any shirt of this type, despite its origins in tennis.

By the 1950s, other versions began to appear in the fashion market, such as the Fred Perry style. And in the 1970s, Ralph Lauren launched the “Polo” range, which cemented the polo shirt as the preppy fashion staple still popular today.

The Polo Shirt in the Workplace

Embroidered Professional Polo Shirts Business Sportswear Thetford Norfolk

                          Embroidered polo shirt proofs for Thetford businesses.                                      Clockwise from left: Hugos, Sonny Gardens, Thetford Town Cricket Club and Tiger Fitness.

Nowadays, the benefits of the polo shirt apply to a range of sectors and businesses. It’s a popular choice for School Uniforms and branded Workwear, as polo shirts are both presentable and ideal for physical activity. It’s the best garment for embroidered logos and branding, to help you identify pupils and staff alike.

Our polo shirts are made with strong, flexible and breathable cotton – great for long-lasting uniforms, and suitable for all companies and activities. You’ll have seen builders, plumbers, gardeners, trades people and, of course, sports teams wearing them. Yet, polo shirts also make a great casual office option (such as here at Peels4U Towers). The lightweight design makes it perfect for the summer, and easy to layer up in the winter.

Peels4U provides short and long sleeved polo shirts to give your school or business a professional, uniformed appearance. We supply every size and colour with our affordable branded Workwear service, and offer quick turnaround times. Showcase your name, logo and branding with our high quality embroidery service for stylish, comfortable polos. Who knows, your design could be the next Polo Ralph Lauren, or Lacoste Crocodile… Request a Quote now to #GetNoticed with our Polo Shirts.

Which Came First – the Colour Orange or the Fruit?

As the trees change colour this season, you may wonder which came first – the colour orange or the name of the orange fruit?

The colour has many ties with Autumn. The falling leaves, the Harvest Festival, roaring fires, the bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night, and of course, Halloween. Orange represents nature, danger, warmth… and Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. It’s a complex colour with a colourfully complex history.

The Name of the Fruit Came First

The origin of the word “orange” comes from the Old French term for the ripe fruit: “pomme d’orenge”, or “orange apple.” The word as a colour was named after the fruit,  and first entered the English language in the 16th Century. Until then, “red” was more commonly used to describe what we’d now consider various shades of orange.  Examples include the Red Fox, the Robin Redbreast, Mars (the Red Planet), the Red Squirrel and, of course, Redheads.

After 1688, the colour turned into a political symbol, when the Protestant William of Orange (a principality in the Netherlands) overthrew James II in the Glorious Revolution. Orange became associated with Protestantism in Ireland, and is now a part of their national flag. As the shade of saffron, one of the most expensive spices in history, orange also appears on India’s flag.

The colour orange often has rare and exotic connotations. Saffron is still the costliest jar on the supermarket spice rack. The native Red Squirrel is now under threat in England from the foreign Grey. And redheads, often unfairly mocked for their unusual appearance, were once lauded by Pre-Raphaelite artists such as Rossetti.

The Colour Orange: Which Came First - the Colour or the Fruit?

Veronica Veronese by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Colour Orange in Branding

Orange is a stand out colour in branding, and is a warmer, subtler alternative to its bolder sibling Red. In colour psychology, the positive meanings of orange include creativity, enthusiasm, and optimism – remember the slogan “the future’s bright, the future’s Orange”?

Often used for autumn events, promotions and sales, the colour also features in national and international branding. Take, for instance, the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, car parts specialist Halfords, or online retailer Amazon. In local branding, the Writers’ Centre Norwich and EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices) are notable examples. And the logo for Norfolk based charity Break uses orange with the opposite colour blue, for a popular contrast also seen in the logos of corporate firms Fanta and Aldi. Peels4U recently used orange in embroidered Workwear:

Embroidered Logo Polo Shirt Suffolk Risby Workwear

Peels4U embroidered Polo Shirts for Suffolk based Coopers Cabin

Incorporate orange into your branding for a vibrant way to #GetNoticed. Our Design Consultations use Pantone colours to design an ideal logo or branding for your business to stand out. For special autumn events, promotions or sales, Peels4U offer high quality Posters, Banners, Window Graphics, LeafletsTemporary Signs and more to keep your business in season. Contact Us now or Request a Quote for more information.

Introducing our New Business Starter Packs

New academic year, new season… and now introducing Peels4U’s new business starter packs to help your startup #GetNoticed. With 6 packs to choose from, there’s something to suit every business, from manufacturing, trade and industry to retail, catering, events and more.

And at just £99 per pack (excl. delivery), they’re a competitive and affordable branding solution for your new business. You’ll save 50% compared to ordering items separately, and there are no setup fees. We will vectorise or digitise your logo and branding at no extra cost, and keep the designs on file for future orders.

Invest in branding now to give your new business a professional appearance and attract new customers from the get go. Whether you need workwear, printed items, signage or vehicle graphics, take a look below to find the right starter pack for you:

New Business Starter Packs 

New Business Starter Pack 1 Business Cards Polo Shirts Vehicle Lettering

New Business Starter Pack 2 Business Cards Leaflets Roller Banner

New Business Starter Pack 3 Leaflets A-Board Polo Shirts

  • Promote your new business with 500 eye-catching A5 leaflets
  • Attract customers inside with an A-board pavement sign
  • Help customers identify you with 2 printed or embroidered Polo shirts (front only)

New Business Starter Pack 4 Banner A-Board Polo Shirts

  • Get noticed from a distance with a durable outdoor vinyl banner
  • Attract customers inside with an A-board pavement sign
  • Boost your brand recognition with 3 printed or embroidered Polo shirts (front only)

New Business Starter Pack 5 Business Cards Polo Shirts Windscreen Lettering

New Business Starter Pack 6 Foamex Sign A-Board Polo Shirts

  • Showcase your new business with a Foamex sign for internal and external signage
  • Attract customers inside with an A-board pavement sign
  • Help customers identify you with 2 printed or embroidered Polo shirts (front only)

Order New Business Starter Packs

Visit the Contact Us page now to make an order, and let us know which of the 6 new business starter packs you’ve chosen. It’ll be ready within 1 week, so you can get promoting in next to no time. Can’t find the right pack for you? Request a Quote for a customised and bespoke starter pack to suit your business needs.

Don’t have a logo or branding yet? Peels4U offer affordable, friendly Design Consultations from just £25 per hour. Our graphic designers will advise you step by step on creating the best fonts, colours, layouts and imagery to showcase your new business. We’ll even help you pick the right starter pack for you.

The New Peels4U Website Has Arrived – Find Out More

We’re delighted to bring you the new Peels4U website. After a few months of designing, writing and tweaking, we’re sure you’ll like our fresh new look as much as we do.

What’s new? We’ve updated our branding to eye-catching yellow and black. We’ve improved the layout to make it easier for you to navigate your way around our site. We’ve refreshed our 5 core pages: Signage, Graphics, Print, Workwear and Design, to show you the huge range of services we offer here at our Thetford workshop. We cover everything from banners to lettering, stationery to uniforms, and provide bespoke design consultations.

What else is on the new Peels4U website? We’ve added snazzy graphics to smarten up the look of all our pages. We’ve created a Gallery to display our latest creations – such as printed t-shirts, window graphics and vinyl vehicle wraps.

There’s also a new Request a Quote feature. Tell us about the project you’ve got in mind and we’ll get back to you with a free quote. We work with a range of clients across East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire) and beyond, and no job is too big or too small.

Some things haven’t changed

We’re still a family-run business. We still have over 15 years’ experience in the graphic design and printing industry. And of course we still offer quick turnaround times and competitive prices. Want to know more? Check out our About Us page.

We’d love to hear your feedback about the new site. Tweet us, Facebook message us, or even send us a postcard if you’re in a vintage kind of mood. Certain sections are still a work in progress, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

In the meantime, take a look around to find out more about how we will help you and your business, club or community group #GetNoticed