Friday, May 17, 2013

The Lacoste Shirt, 1962

Both Photographs Taken in 1962,  From Our Archives


“The sports shirt of choice is the Lacoste.  Only the all-cotton model will do, the one with the cap sleeves with the ribbed edging, narrow collar, and two button placket (never buttoned).”  

The Official Preppy Handbook, 1980




For contrast, here is a three button (non-Lacoste) shirt.

46 comments:

JSprouse said...

Funny you should post this. I wore my yellow LaCoste polo today. That and the navy one I wear the most out of the 6 I have.

Old School said...

How nice to see a gentleman with the waist of his trousers at a proper height.

You're certainly right about men buttoning the bottom button of their polos.

Anonymous said...

In the non "multi-culti" country where I come from , much of your unspoken sartorial ( and other) customs are the norm. To share them ...outside of your mutually recognized peers, is not done. It all means a lot especially when unlike in your country the government does not intervene in myriad ways in an attempt to forge a culture.

I am man and buttoning any of the two polos is done only by children or those who would yearn to appear like one.

No criticism here, Muffy, for I admire your often altruistic work in this charming blog.

W.

John D said...

Lacoste and RL are my two favorite brand polo style shirts. The cut and material plus to the two button placket make for a perfect casual shirt.

Anonymous said...

Which one (bewteen lacoste vs polo) do you prefer (I know you wear polo brand), and why? I want to hear your preppy insightful idea on this, please.

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Anonymous 10:08 - I grew up wearing Lacoste (or Izod Lacoste) and had no complaints. Now, however, their Women's polos have too tight a fit and the fabric is too thin, thus I wear RL polos. As John D said, I like the fabric, collar size, the two button plackets and also some of the colors of the RL, although the shrinkage is significant. Having said that, I have not bought any new RL shirts in a while.

Carmelo Pugliatti said...

Lacoste shirt...but not flat front trousers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for quick reply. I'm sorry, but asking you the quality and style of lascoste you wore in childhood is idfferent from what they are offering now?
Speaking of RL polo, I begin these day struggling with sizing issues too. It's too bad.

John D said...

@Anonymous 10:08- I would add to Muffy comments by saying RL last a long time and become better with age, in my own opinion. Also I buy all of mine at the factory outlet.

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Anonymous 10:38 - Yes, the quality was much better then than it is now for Women's. Although I am sure I wore a combination of Boy's and Women's when I was younger.

WRJ said...

Lacostes are the perfect polo for wearing untucked, as they lack PRL's uneven hem. I also prefer their pique, which seems nubbier and meshier (not a word) than others. The colors are really fantastic (though PRL does a good job here, too). And I've found them extraordinarily durable. I confess to not typically buttoning, since on me it looks dweeby--akin to, as my mother would say, actually putting pennies in one's penny loafers.

Sizing is a consistent issue--I ordinarily wear a "5", which seems to run the gamut from a slim medium to a baggy large, with unpredictable shrinkage making it all a guessing game. Plus the price is getting outrageous--I can remember buying one for something like $40 about 10-12 years ago, and now they're $90. That said, I can't find a better-designed casual shirt.

Craig Sevde said...

I as well buy my RL at the outlets. It appears to be in essence the same knit throughout the RL line. I avoid the shrinkage by laying the across a patio chair in the sun. Slightly pull them wrinkle free. I never dry them in a dryer. Granted I reside in Florida.
They come out wrinkle free and full bodied.
The true polo has the tennis tail and is suppose to. Originally to keep the tuck while on court.
why do these people that make the snide remarks hide under anonymous? Lol!

Anonymous said...

On some of today's Lacoste shirts that crocodile has grown awfully large.

They also have a bazillion different styles for the polo. A tad daunting to make a selection.

It seems like Lacoste may be in the 'New Markets' category of Trad/Preppy Companies?

Here is something I struggle with: colors. Beyond navy and white, it always seems a challenge to pick out polo colors. Any advise?

Cheers,
Gary

Flo said...

The new Lacoste is definitely no comparison to the Izod Lacoste in the womens, and the price is utterly ridiculous! The last one I bought was from the mens department and it was a much better weight. But I refuse to pay that much for a polo shirt when there are other brands as well made (if not better) for less. I miss my gators though :(

Anonymous said...

I remember in college (mid-70s) scrutinizing the "alligator shirts" in department stores and knowing that the banded sleeve, long tail and two button placket were the hallmark of the true Lacoste. Those style differences,and the French-language size tags, "Homme", "Patron," etc. The Izod Lacoste shirts had hemmed sleeves and shorter tails, and we found them somewhat mundane and a lesser prize than a true Lacoste.

Anonymous said...

As far as color, I recommend white and grey because they look really great and natural under pima cotton or fine merino wool navy blue cardigan, which is essential indoor air conditioning in summer. What is your thought, muffy, who is my preppy icon, please?

j.mosby said...

Muffy,
I've started to fall back on wearing my Lacoste shirts more and more recently. I've worn them since high school days. I was a stickler about tennis whites when I played tennis also!
I remember the original Lacoste shirts that were made in France where cut fuller and had the longer back tail like the RL ones, and they wore like iron I recall!

j.mosby said...

Muffy

The BOAST brand is making a comeback also!

http://www.boastusa.com/

Anonymous said...

As noted above on a couple of occasions the shirt above is an IZOD Lacoste shirt. What separated that shirt from the Lacoste shirt of that era is the longer tail, the occasional blue gator if it looked better on that particular color and the authentically preppy color palette. The reason for that is that the IZOD Lacoste brand was stewarded by an American, Vin Draddy, who had a keen sense for the American aesthetic, and protected the brand with a narrow distribution and consistent quality until he sold it to General Mills at the end of the 70's. Please note that the Lacoste brand was nothing in the rest of the world till it was something here in the US, (Mr Draddy did a favor for Rene Lacoste when he took on the label and married it with his Izod label in the 40's)where it was soon seen on the likes of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, John Kennedy and the Duke of Windsor on the links in Palm Beach, all whom were friends of Mr Draddy. So the reason why the 'Izod's' from that error were of exceptional quality is because Mr Draddy demanded it. You'll notice that today's Lacoste shirts sold here in the US aren't even made in France anymore, hence the poor quality and inconsistent sizing. To compare that IZOD with the RL shirt, it never has and never will compare... beautiful colors, but no comparison. Don't believe me by an IZOD Lacoste shirt that has both the IZOD spool of thread on the label and the Lacoste croc, with French sizing on EBay and 40 years later you'll still have a shirt with terrific color saturation a responsive rib and it will feel as good on as 40 years ago.

Reactionary Trad said...

Only gigolos and narcissiistic metrosexuals undo both of the buttons on their polo shirts.

Reggie Darling said...

Bottom button always buttoned for men. No flexibility on that. Now, for colors, while one, of course, favors white and navy (the warhorses), with Lacostes one can go wild! Solids only, please. Somewhere in the house I have a photograph of a very young Reggie, ca. 1962, wearing a Lacoste. For the life of me, I haven't a clue where it is, though. Wish I did! RD

Paul Connors said...

lAs for me, I have only one new Lacoste polo in a corl color. The rest of my polo shirt collection is from Brooks Bros. For one thing, I see no qualitative reason for a 28% price premium between the BB shirts and those Lacoste shirts available today in the USA.

As I write this, a BB shirt costs $64.50 or 3 for $139.00. The Lacoste costs (men's) $89.50. I see no reason to pay the premium.

And yes, all my BB shirts have banded sleeves a 2 button placket.

Anonymous said...

Are the current polos from Lacoste really worth the exorbitant price?

Anonymous said...

I always got a kick out of seeing the JC Penney response to Lacoste: the shirt with the running fox!

Anonymous said...

I agree on lacoste being bad quality and sizing issue sure, but I would say lacoste polo shirts made in peru are still wearable and nice color (especially light pink, which they call flamingo) and very consistent in sizing. But, unfortunately, it's getting harder finding peru made lacoste shirt today. I see lots of elsalvador made lacoste getting way worse in quality and sizing.
Speaking of ralph lauren men's polo by the way, sizing issue is very significant especailly from china made polo shirts.
Based on my vast trials and exepriences, srilanka made polo shirts are better in quality and sizing. I hope that it would help.

DMA said...

You always talk about the important topics: Barbour new vs. then, who makes the best kakhis, etc... The only important issue I haven't seen you mention is the perfection of the Brooks Brothers classic white, non non-iron, button-down, made in America, oxfords! Simply a beautiful shirt! Sublime. But not always easy to find! Load up when you find your size! (I almost hate to wear mine it is such a beautiful item of clothing, perfect in almost every way!) You also haven't mentioned the lasting good quality of the L.L. Bean men's penny loafer. A lot is wrong with many Bean choices, but their loafers are still the best that I have found - outside of a Gucci price-range.

Thankfully you are now mentioning another important topic - the horrible quality of Lacoste shirts today. I keep thinking I am buying them at the wrong store (Lacoste on Madison Avenue) or that maybe they sell the good shirts to the department stores. Are they of a better quality at Bloomingdales? Is it just me or are these new Lacoste shirts just garbage? Thin, course material and strange fitting. Where does one buy the good ones? Is there a secret handshake of which I am not aware?

Thank you, Muffy, for your wonderful blog!

Muffy Aldrich said...

@DMA - I agree with your comments about the Brooks Brothers classic white oxford. The white, along with the classic blue, are staples in our house (see first picture here).

Craig Sevde said...

Agree with DMA on B2 100% Trad cut white shirts. B2 is opening stores like mad and they are not an available in-store item in the new stores. The Orlando store is open now and none of these types are on the shelf. However, I'm not sure people in Orlando even know who Brooks Brothers is. Business dress in Orlando is a clean T-shirt.
On line is best or the Madison Avenue store still has them in house. They are a great shirt.

JSprouse said...

I got all my LaCoste shirts -well- lets say as a gift about 10 yrs ago. I wouldn't pay the price for RL or LaCoste today.
I guess I'm a "dweeb" because I have 1944 pennys, my birth yr, in my 20 yr old BB loafers. Oh, and I don't button my 2 button LaCoste "tennis" shirts.. Does that make me a gigolo, a dweeb and metosexual? My wife wants to know.

Anonymous said...

RL and LaCoste shirts are over exposed. Takes no thought or sense of style to wear them. At one time the brands were original. The majority of the people whe wear them do it simply to wear a shirt with a brand slapped across the front.

Boston Bean said...

I was brought up in Boston to believe that a gentleman dressed conservatively; that meant that the only acceptable colors in Oxford buttondown collar shirts were white, blue, and white with blue candy stripes, period. Similarly, my grandfather and father told me that I wasn't living in Southern California, if I even contemplated buying a polo shirt that wasn't either navy or white. I'm glad that I continue to follow their advice.

Anonymous said...

My dozen or so LL Bean polo shirts have lasted wash after wash and haven't stretched out or shrunk. They also cost far less than Lacoste. As a bonus, the absence of a brand logo confuses shallow brand-whores because they can't figure out how much or how little I spent.

WRJ said...

I never cease to be amused by certain of your more emotional commenters. Gigolos! Narcissiistic (sic) metrosexuals! I can assume he or she would feel most comfortable in Saudi Arabia and other countries that embrace the hijab.

I am relieved to finally understand why I've been constantly harangued on the streets of Boston: "Return to California, heathen!" (I was wearing green.)

Finally, let us all appreciate the father and grandfather who were able to perceive and eliminate even mere contemplations of the Forbidden Colors--telepathy really has fallen by the wayside with the passing of the Greatest Generation, along with unlined collars and the true natural shoulder.

mary anne said...

I would also like to chime in on LLBean polos. Their mesh, banded arm ones are just fine. Also, instead of polo ponies, aligators or palm trees one can have a monogram, should the shirts be too plain. Works for me, and much cheaper. The Lands End ones used to be nice as well but, alas, no longer.

Orange Fiji said...

Agree with Anonymous @ 12:07: The Bean's Double LL polo shirts at $35-$40 are far superior to anything that Lacoste sells @ $98 the last time I looked. Made of thick, well made material that holds up in the wash. The lack of a logo is also a plus. Why would you PAY Top dollar to advertise someone else's brand?

Orange Fiji said...

I also remember the IZOD Lacoste shirt circa 1980's was a good shirt if a touch over priced. But today's Lacoste is a terrible shirt. The material is way too thin and the shirt's style is a little too √čuropean" for my taste.

Harry said...

A longtime Lacoste Polo wearer, I don't feel comfortable anymore paying $90.00 for these items. Besides, as others have mentioned, the shirts are getting really thin and the quality has taken a nosedive, particularly the past 5 or so years. I've gravitated over toward Bills Khakis "Iconic" Polo shirt. They are not cheap -- priced about the same as Lacoste - but they are made in the USA and the quality is bulletproof. Good basic color selection, too.

Anonymous said...

About four years ago I bought a bunch (one of each color they had) of polo shirts at Costco. The brand was called Lady Hathaway. I don't even know if that is a real brand but I paid $12 per shirt. I wear each one at least once every two weeks (some colors more often) and they fit awesome (not fitted, regular fit), the marerial is not too thin, the color has not faded, no threads have come loose or buttons gone missing. And no logo. Sadly, Costco stopped carrying this brand.

Dave T said...

I have some Lacoste tennis tennis shirts with the newest being about four years old. The collar and fabric are a little thinner. The fit is a little off and the perfectly long tail is missing. Not really too big of a deal on any of those counts. Would I spend $90.00 on a new one? Probably not, as there are pefectly good substitutes out there. The only thing that I don't like on some of the newer shirts is the half circle on the top of the back. Regarding RL shirts, I like them, but they all seem to develop small tears on either side of the side seams which didn't seem to happen to my old Izod Lacostes. t's irritating

I agree with WJR, some take this stuff far too seriously. I go unbuttoned because the button plackets tend to be shorter than the period of Muffy's father's photos and I find that, for me, I'm uncomfortable with buttoning. It's nothing more than a preference.

HP Talk said...

Apart from the basic muted colors, PRL's pastels and heathers are brilliant. I feel the color of the logo on BB polos and the color of the shirt don't match up nicely. Also, I went to a factory RL store on the way back from the family ranch a few weeks ago and there is a noticeable difference in quality with the offerings. They definitely use different factories for those stores. Lastly, unless you're a pale old man, leave both unbuttoned.

Dutch Uncle said...

@HP Talk

I am most certainly not a pale old man, but I know that if buttons are there, they are there for a purpose. Old School gents button both of them.

Lafcadio said...

Polo shirts were most certainly completely buttoned up when worn with a jacket in the 60s, by the Ivy cognoscenti in New England, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

I remember buying my first (and for a long time, only) LaCoste polo shirt just before leaving for college in 1958 from Lord & Taylor in Manhasset, NY. As I recall, it was white with a red alligator. It wasn't until the 70s when I got into sailing that I bought a lot of (Izod) LaCoste polos, as well as some of their v-neck acrylic sweaters, in various colors. After Izod and LaCoste parted ways I didn't see the "alligator" polos on the market until years later, so I began purchasing RL polos, also in various colors, which I prefer today. I only buy them at outlet stores because I cannot justify paying over $80 for a polo shirt (or any shirt, for that matter). The only exception I've made to that "rule" is the RL polo made for my alma mater.

kate lewis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Camford said...

1954: $8

http://theivyleaguelook.tumblr.com/post/28008055915

sara said...

Has anyone tried the Collared Greens polo shirts? They are made in South Carolina from cotton grown in Texas. The quality of cotton (mostly grown in India) has certainly gone downhill in the past few years so I'm willing to try any grown here.