Fred Perry M53 - Design Classic

Polo for the Picky

Fred Perry's shirt scientists have recreated the original twin-tipped polo shirt they released in 1953. Because they know we're pretty fussy, they have gone to forensic lengths in their reproduction methods.

Made in England, the M53 polo shirt has the exact same cotton piqué as the 1953 shirt, with a 'slightly uneven texture'. Don't confuse the striped M53 with the M3. The M3 is the plain (and first) Fred Perry polo shirt, introduced at the All England Lawn Tennis Club for the Wimbledon Championships in 1952. The sporting laurel wreath logo was the original symbol for Wimbledon.

The M53 shirts are also produced on the original loom in Leicester, England. I'm hoping the original loom operators were involved in some way, but this is unlikely.

In case you start peering inside the shirt prepared for anachronisms to angrily denounce, they've included a replica of the 1953 label too.

Mother of pearl buttons? But of course. They were taken for granted in 1953. The buttons are two-holers, with the top button sewn horizontally and the second one down sewn horizontally, though I don't think Fred Perry polo shirts have a standard button placement pattern. Correct me if I'm wrong. (Sadly, I can tell you that Lacoste two-hole buttons are all sewn vertically.)

Legend has it that the twin colour stripes on the collars and sleeves of the M53 Fred Perry polo shirt were added following a request from a buyer to introduce the colours of football teams. The story of the shirt took a rapid non-sporting turn as it moves away from the grass court and onto the backs of football fans and youth tribes. The polo shirt becomes a staple of casual dress.
Look to your laurels
However, a polo shirt like the Fred Perry M53 does not have to be a lazy dressing option. Polo shirt and jeans = yawn. Give the polo shirt some respect and the right context by wearing with cotton trousers, loafers and excellent sunglasses on your summer holiday; and not wearing it at all in winter. Maybe throw a softly structured sports jacket over the top too. Or pop a sweater over the shoulders, continental style. Look to your laurels.


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