The pick of the polos

While the polo shirt might nowadays be a regular fixture in most settings, the garment’s roots go back to sport – and, specifically, tennis. First conceived by Rene Lacoste, it married the formality suggested by the starched collar with the breeziness suggested by breathable fabric. This combination was ideal for tennis, with its buttoned-down culture and traditions that still reign over the sport today.

The design, of course, was hugely successful, going on to be adapted in other sports and then more widely in mainstream fashion. This has meant that the polo can now be seen on workers and Saturday night pub-goers alike. But the garment still retains strong roots in the sports brands from which it first emerged, who still come up with great designs for the classic shirt.

If you’re interested in polo shirt printing and want to make sure your designs for personalised polo shirts are up to scratch, then these iconic sports brands can offer great inspiration. Here are some examples of sports brands who have had years to perfect the art.


The all-American sports brand keeps things simple with just a couple of small tweaks. The understated colour, in all grey, is complemented by the embroidered logo in off-white. The logo is in classic position on the left breast, the only difference here being the size – it’s a touch bigger than you might expect to see in other brand’s polos. Then with the garment itself, the back extends a touch further than the front, a small difference that marks this shirt out with a touch of distinctiveness. 

Fred Perry

As British tennis players go, they don’t get much more iconic than Fred Perry. Likewise, the clothes that bear the Fred Perry logo – and, in particular, the polos – bask in the aura of an iconic, recognisable brand. The above shirt, dubbed the M12, comes in a range of colourways and is the garment that represents the brand’s bridge from sportswear to streetwear. There’s a story behind many of the colour combinations, with the above combo tied to football club West Ham, whose kit colours this is inspired by.


This is where it all started: Rene Lacoste, and his sartorial innovation over half a century ago. Since then, Lacoste have ridden the wave with the polo being adopted into the world of everyday casual wear, and their polos retain their elegant simplicity, with gentle tweaks around the edges. The above is a prime example: we have the embroidered logo rendered in its full emerald green glory, matched with a muted, summer-y striped pattern on the shirt itself. 

Ralph Lauren

The most self-consciously high-end of the brands collected here, Ralph Lauren trade on an identity rooted in the traditional mores of the upper classes. Their signature polos are no exception: the over-sized logo, after all, depicts someone playing polo, the horseback sport imported to Britain by officers posted to colonial India. The above is a playful version of the classic, filling the logo with the iconic stars and stripes.


Aimed at golfers, this Adidas shirt is the most sport-focused of the polos here. Retaining the classic tenets of the garment, their design takes things in a more bold and future-facing direction. It’s made from a softer, more breathable Climalite fabric, intended for sports, and the blue stripes have echoes of contemporary football jerseys.


Many of the examples here bridge the line between sportswear and streetwear, but none so much as this Reebok shirt. Old meets new, with the classic collar and traditional left breast logo combined with the bright big splash of the logo printed across the shirt’s front and shoulders. 

Want to create your own personalised polo shirts? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround polo shirt printing and embroidery, counting a number of clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.