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How often is the first iteration of something the undisputed best? I truly can’t think of any examples besides this one, the Lacoste polo. René Lacoste introduced the polo shirt to tennis, and his eponymous brand was the first to feature a logo on all of its clothing.

In the past 90 years, have we gotten a shirt that’s better than the classic Lacoste petit piqué polo? No. Has a fashion logo ever been so overused, yet remained so undeniably cool? Nope.

And these days, by collaborating with all the brands du jour (take, for example, Sporty & Rich), Lacoste is setting the record straight: Polo shirts are cool, again. It won me over. After 14 years of Catholic school down south in Georgia, I vowed to never wear a polo shirt again. But after a few years of the new Lacoste campaigns, I bought my first petit piqué in a long time… Then I bought another. And another. And another. Now, it’s like a second skin, and I’ve never felt better.

lacoste classic petit piqué polo

JOE LINGEMAN

The Best Things Get Better With Age

This works on a macro and micro level. Macro, we’re talking about a style that hasn’t seen significant change for 90 years. That’s an eternity! The Lacoste petit piqué polo you buy today is going to look and feel a lot like that first one from 1933. Menswear loves heritage, and that means when you slip on a Lacoste polo you’re going to look as great as your dad did in college pictures from the ’80s, or as good as your grandpa looks in pics from his post-war stay in ’50s France.

On a micro level, it’s the actual quality that goes into each shirt. I’ll always be the first to complain about modern supply chains and shitty fabrics, but that petit piqué cotton stands up so incredibly well to daily use. Sweat in your polo. Spill wine on your polo. Use your polo as a beach towel. Wash it a million times. That piqué cotton is tough enough to handle it, and as it gets more worn in, it looks even better on you.

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lacoste petit piqué classic polo

JOE LINGEMAN

The Brand Is as Cool as It’s Ever Been

And on the flip side of tradition is the fact that Lacoste is as cool as it’s ever been. Christophe Lemaire turned the brand into an upscale behemoth over the course of the 2000s. Sporting the crocodile, Novak Djokovic has cemented himself in the middle of the men’s tennis GOAT discussions. Louise Trotter just ended a much heralded four-year stay at the brand that reintroduced the crocodile to a younger, cooler audience, and it looks like it’s going to continue in that direction.

All of this to say, while it might be a classic, the Lacoste polo has never been more in than it is right now. Ride this wave. Wear it in a classic green with baggy jeans, and you look like a downtown cool kid. Wear it in black with black trousers, and you might get mistaken for an important creative director. Wear a white one with gym shorts, and a TikToker will film you and say some shit like, “It’s giving Old Money.” In any scenario, you’re the coolest person in the room.

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lacoste cotton petit piqué classic polo

JOE LINGEMAN

It’s Versatile as Hell

Before we go, I’m not trying to sell you on some From the Bar to the Boardroom direct-to-consumer bullshit. I’m just saying this: Look at any outfit where you are wearing a T-shirt. Swap that t-shirt out for a Lacoste polo, and 90 percent of the time you’re going to look better. You can go to the beach, walk in the park, and sit down to a nice meal without embarrassing your date.

So, if you’ve got an old Lacoste polo in the back of your closet, now is the time to pull it back out. If you, like me, are hesitant to go back to your preppy ways, don’t listen to the voice in your head. The Lacoste polo can be so much more, and that’s why it’s a classic.

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Photography by Joe Lingeman. Prop styling by Andrea Bonin.

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