Polo neck

An example of a classic polo neck.

A polo neck (UK) (or turtle neck in the US) is a garment—usually a sweater—with a close-fitting, round, and high collar that folds over and covers the neck. It can also refer to the style of collar itself, or be used as an adjective ("polo-necked").


History

Woman in a black polo neck.

The poloneck sweater, like most sweaters, first emerged in the 1890s as an article of sportswear. It had a varied application but was most often used for the more static players in field sports (a use preserved for the soccer goalkeeper as late as the 1950s in the UK). It was also used in some equestrian activities, though no evidence exists for its use in polo, which might otherwise have explained its name. Originally a thick woollen garment, lighter versions were designed for those who found coarser wool uncomfortable against their skin. These lighter polonecks would become popular for golf amongst both sexes by 1895. Its use by women was also extended into field sports like hockey soon after this. This use as sports wear would continue into the early 20th Century.

Workwear

Polonecks crossed over from sportswear to work wear at the turn of the century, mostly amongst menial workers and seamen. The latter use at sea also led to its adoption by Royal Navy. It was probably at this time that its unisex status as sportswear was exploited by early feminists, who would wear their Hockey sweaters as day wear.

Casual wear

Over time polonecks would become acceptable casual wear, though still usually for men only. It was in this stage that a range of light polonecks in a variety of colours began to be designed. Their adoption by Noel Coward in the 1920s turned them into a brief middle class fashion trend. Again, it was the feminists who turned these into a unisex item.

Absorbed into mainstream American fashion by the mid 20th century, the poloneck came to be viewed as an anti-tie, a smart form of dress for those who rejected formal wear.

Womens wear

Later its increasing acceptability as women's wear saw it become a fad amongst teenage girls, especially in a lightweight form that emphasised aspects of their figures. It was not long before Hollywood was also exploiting this image as part of the sweater girl look.

By the late 1950s the "tight poloneck" had been adopted as part of the preppie style amongst students, a style emphasising neatness, tidiness and grooming. This would become an important aspect of the polonecks image in America. The look would filter through to Britain and Europe in a watered down version.

In contrast, France saw the black poloneck adopted by left wing bohemians and intellectuals, and by the late 1950s their counterparts in the United States and Britain had also adopted the fashion.

Feminist wear

This trend continued into the 1960s and 1970s, with the white poloneck being briefly adopted as a corresponding item for mainstream feminists. The poloneck was generally seen as a unisex and classless garment and wearing one remained a political statement in many circles. However, the poloneck in all its forms soon became a standard wardrobe item for both sexes during this period.

As explained in the spandex fetishism article, another reason why spandex and other tight fabrics may be fetishised is that the garment forms a "second skin," acting as a fetishistic surrogate for the wearer's own skin. Wearers of skin-tight spandex garments can appear naked or coated in a shiny substance like paint. The tightness of the garments may also be seen as sexual bondage.

Polo neck with sleeves. Polo neck without sleeves.

Return to fashion

By the 1980s it was largely out of fashion, though continued to be regarded as a staple item. However the 1990s saw its return to the catwalk, and it was soon to regain its place as a popular fashion item, particularly in America and on the Continent.

See also:

  • Spandex fetishism
  • Lacoste
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Preppy
  • Tennis shirt

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However the 1990s saw its return to the catwalk, and it was soon to regain its place as a popular fashion item, particularly in America and on the Continent. In particular, the auction website eBay has a policy stating that used garments must be completely clean before being listed for sale and listings for underwear are not allowed at all.[1]. By the 1980s it was largely out of fashion, though continued to be regarded as a staple item. Used clothes are occasionally sold on the Internet. The tightness of the garments may also be seen as sexual bondage. Used cars may require more maintenance or have fewer features than later equivalent models. Wearers of skin-tight spandex garments can appear naked or coated in a shiny substance like paint. George Akerlof published a paper entitled "The Market for Lemons", examining the effects of information asymmetry on the used car market.

As explained in the spandex fetishism article, another reason why spandex and other tight fabrics may be fetishised is that the garment forms a "second skin," acting as a fetishistic surrogate for the wearer's own skin. Used cars may have been bought or leased by their previous user, and may be purchased directly from the previous owner or through a dealer. However, the poloneck in all its forms soon became a standard wardrobe item for both sexes during this period. Used cars are especially notable for depreciating in value much faster than many other items. The poloneck was generally seen as a unisex and classless garment and wearing one remained a political statement in many circles. Purchasing used items may also prevent them from becoming waste. This trend continued into the 1960s and 1970s, with the white poloneck being briefly adopted as a corresponding item for mainstream feminists. The strategy of buying used items is sometimes used to save money, as they are typically worth less than the equivalent new items.

In contrast, France saw the black poloneck adopted by left wing bohemians and intellectuals, and by the late 1950s their counterparts in the United States and Britain had also adopted the fashion. Some stores will take used items in exchange for credit toward the purchase of newer goods. The look would filter through to Britain and Europe in a watered down version. Used items can often be found for sale in thrift stores and pawnshops, as well as internet auction sites. This would become an important aspect of the polonecks image in America. When a person gives an item of some value that they have used to someone else, typically an acquaintance or family member, it is sometimes referred to as a "hand-me-down". By the late 1950s the "tight poloneck" had been adopted as part of the preppie style amongst students, a style emphasising neatness, tidiness and grooming. A used item is one that is not new or a resource that has been partially or completely depleted.

It was not long before Hollywood was also exploiting this image as part of the sweater girl look. . Later its increasing acceptability as women's wear saw it become a fad amongst teenage girls, especially in a lightweight form that emphasised aspects of their figures. Absorbed into mainstream American fashion by the mid 20th century, the poloneck came to be viewed as an anti-tie, a smart form of dress for those who rejected formal wear. Again, it was the feminists who turned these into a unisex item.

Their adoption by Noel Coward in the 1920s turned them into a brief middle class fashion trend. It was in this stage that a range of light polonecks in a variety of colours began to be designed. Over time polonecks would become acceptable casual wear, though still usually for men only. It was probably at this time that its unisex status as sportswear was exploited by early feminists, who would wear their Hockey sweaters as day wear.

The latter use at sea also led to its adoption by Royal Navy. Polonecks crossed over from sportswear to work wear at the turn of the century, mostly amongst menial workers and seamen. This use as sports wear would continue into the early 20th Century. Its use by women was also extended into field sports like hockey soon after this.

These lighter polonecks would become popular for golf amongst both sexes by 1895. Originally a thick woollen garment, lighter versions were designed for those who found coarser wool uncomfortable against their skin. It was also used in some equestrian activities, though no evidence exists for its use in polo, which might otherwise have explained its name. It had a varied application but was most often used for the more static players in field sports (a use preserved for the soccer goalkeeper as late as the 1950s in the UK).

The poloneck sweater, like most sweaters, first emerged in the 1890s as an article of sportswear. .
. It can also refer to the style of collar itself, or be used as an adjective ("polo-necked").

A polo neck (UK) (or turtle neck in the US) is a garment—usually a sweater—with a close-fitting, round, and high collar that folds over and covers the neck. Tennis shirt. Preppy. Polo Ralph Lauren.

Lacoste. Spandex fetishism.

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