5 style lessons we can all learn from the OGs of athleisure
Going back to the source, like a flashback-heavy Christopher Nolan movie, does wonders to trigger that aha moment. Marion Cotillard's character in Inception is salient to its complex narrative and the unravelling of its protagonist's enigma, the way tennis is vital to the plot of the polo tee. You see, the garment's modern version was innovated for the sport by tennis legend René Lacoste, who served up as many aces on court as he did noteworthy outfits through his eponymous label and personal sartorial sensibilities.
So it is in this vein and, on occassion of the brand's 85th anniversary, that we turn to Lacoste and his doubles partner Suzanne Lenglen — a sporting luminary and a daring fashionista back in the day in her own right — to inform the contemporary polo wardrobe of today. Style inspiration if you will, in interest of rinsing the garment of recent tech geek sins and breaking the quintessential court dress out the box.
Below, five pro tips to induce those aha styling epiphanies. Go on, try your hand at it with Lacoste’s limited edition range of iconic reissues celebrating the last 85 years.
1. LOOSE-FIT IS NOT A CRIME
Pro tip: A loose-fit and an ill-fit are worlds apart, and a '60s-style polo — cut with a placket of buttons throughout — lends itself to an experimention with relatively generous silhouettes. In fact, you'd hardly want a garment like that embracing the skin for fear of veering into geeky, too-tight cardigan type territory. Match up to the volume on top by tucking into wide-leg trousers.
2. SKIRT THE OBVIOUS FOOTWEAR CHOICE
Pro tip: Ditch the white court sneakers or chunky kicks — that itch can be scratched with literally any other ensemble other than the classic tennis dress born of the '80s. Pairing with soft, leather oxfords in shape of Lenglen's will smarten up the casual frock. Likewise with headgear, drop the narrow nylon sports headband for one thicker and turban-like, seen above.
3. LAYER TO CREATE TEXTURE
Pro tip: While a jumper's heft and weighty fabric beckons the garment to be worn straight on skin, the visual effect of layering here is king. Whether its polo under a pullover or, T-shirt under a polo-pullover (yes, a '50s creation by Lacoste — see below), two is always better than one. Note: outer layer should be roomy enough so as not to glimpse unsightly bunches of the fabric under, and to look effortless like Monsieur Lacoste above.
4. CREATE THE ILLUSION OF A DEEP-V
Pro tip: A lady in a modest neckline runs the risk of being labelled prudish or worse, WASPy (gasp!). Lenglen, notorious for pushing the envelope with an individualistic style back in the day, demonstrates the merits of creating an optical illusion of a plunging neckline, by way of a cardigan buttoned over a dress though only at the bottom. Follow her lead.
5. MONOCHROME FOR THE MODERNIST
Pro tip: A navy polo tucked into khaki shorts or chinos is like getting straight Bs; it's not terrible by any means, but also not first-rate either. Take the leap towards singular styling by dabbling in tone-on-tone. If both top and bottom are one colour, break it up with a contrasting belt like Lacoste has done.
Available at all Lacoste stores.
Visit the Lacoste exhibition created in honour of the brand’s 85th anniversary at Level 1, Raffles City Shopping Centre Garden Court. From 14 - 24 June 2018. Find out more.