How the Lacoste Polo Shirt Modernized Tennis and Helped Shape Fashion

The classic L.12.12 remains a basic part of the summer uniform

It was September 1926, and an unforgettable piece of history was about to be made at the U.S. Open. French team player René Lacoste was the No. 1 player in the world, sure to command attention as he stepped onto the grass court of the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. But while Lacoste would win in mixed doubles that year, it was another play that would have the most lasting impact: When the 22-year-old Lacoste appeared at the service line, he was wearing a polo shirt.

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This story first appeared in the June 26, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.