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Classic Shirt Style Finds New Fans (August 9, 2006)

A rugby-style polo (Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College)
Polo shirts are a longstanding staple of sporty-casual and everyday wear. But recently this basic style, worn mostly by men, has been given an elegant new twist that has garnered popularity among female office workers and other trend-conscious young women. Among the styles that have sparked the polo shirt boom are the skipper - a collared, buttonless v-neck top - and the rugby shirts with border trim that showed up in Gucci's spring/summer 2006 collection.

Teens Latch on to Polo Craze
The polo shirts that have captured the imagination of young women this season are slim-cut, with elegant embellishments that spice up what is traditionally a conservative-looking garment, such as frills around the bust, lace trim at the hemline, and puffy sleeves. These delicate, feminine versions of the polo are often worn with flared skirts. Meanwhile, polo shirts in refined fabrics like silk or blended linen are showing up at the office in place of blouses. Paired with suits, they enable women to cut a dashing figure.

A vibrant orange polo (Ryujirou Izumi)

Polo shirts have found favor among not only OLs (female office workers) but also teenagers. The "gals" of Shibuya favor midriff-baring cropped polos and military-style polos with logos or crests, while the cool crowd in Harajuku like to wear the shirts underneath a vest or camisole. Another popular combination among the Harajuku set is long polo shirts with stirrup pants. Teens like polo shirts because they are more casual and comfortable than shirts or blouses but look smarter than t-shirts.

Polo shirts are also attracting a following among teenage boys, who are pairing shirts from well-known labels like Fred Perry and Lacoste with neckties. A growing trend among boys is to experiment with designs and adventurous color combinations including greens, purples, and light pinks.

A striped skipper (Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College)

Back to Basics
Polo shirts have been popular in Japan before, during the "preppy" craze of the 1970s and the Shibu-kaji ("Shibuya casual") period of the late 1980s. In the former, polo shirts were adopted as part of a prim-and-proper reaction to the hippie styles and rough, mannish "angler" fashion of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the latter case, they represented a rebuttal of the quirky "DC" (designer and character) brands popular in the 1980s.

Style watchers say that the current polo shirt revival is part of a craving for neat, refined style among those who have had enough of the eclectic and layered fashions of recent years. The polo shirt has come into vogue not only as traditional sportswear but also as an item representing a move back to the basics of fashion.


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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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