Pop-Over, Not Polo
Many guys have been referring to one of our favorite summer styles by the wrong name.
While the polo shirt remains a perennial sight on sporting grounds, college campuses, and weekend driving ranges, its cousin, the popover, is prized for a nonchalant refinement that’s hard to pass up.
The fast history: polo shirts derive their name and design from the game itself, first created in the 1920s, evolving over the years and through many brand claims to become an on-again, off-again favorite, depending on the wearer. Popovers, by comparison, first came onto the scene in 1960s Connecticut, earning their name from literally “popping” the shirt over one’s head.
It’s an easy comparison to make. Both styles are half-placket shirts sold in similar cotton options and maintain degrees of crossover. But while a popover can work handily under your suit jacket, the polo shirt isn’t really meant for it. The softer collars and ribbed long sleeves of a polo shirt aren’t suited for a nice jacket or sport coat (though they certainly deserve consideration for more casual outings).
The popover, however, keeps its structure and form similarly to a dress shirt–because it’s made with the same techniques, buttoned cuff, back, and shoulder patterns. This allows the knowledgeable man to swap out that wardrobe basic for a lighter, softer, more summer-ready alternative that could even be chosen with short sleeves. Additionally, popovers are often woven, as opposed to knitted polos, and may employ a button-down collar.
Popovers work well on their own, layered under a sweater, or, as mentioned, operate smartly under a blazer or suit. Because they lack the ribbed cuffs that polo shirts frequently possess, they also allow for degrees of stretch and ease, resulting in additional comfort. They are the height of adaptable shirting, and deserve space in any well-curated closet.
At Knot Standard we have a broad selection of popovers in many styles and colors, and offer monogramming to add an extra personal touch, click below to view more.