When fashion's it crowd take on summer's latest sporting obsession – polo in the city – you know you've got to up the ante on your outfit.
With Sydney wrapped up and Melbourne's event planned for this Saturday unfortunately caught at the whim of Mother Nature and cancelled, there is still a chance for the punters of Perth and Adelaide's lads to show the rest of Australia how great style at the polo is done, with other events such as the Portsea Polo happening over summer.
A whole new game
Polo has been around for the best part of 2000 years, but it's only been in the last five that the fashion set have embraced the sport. Just look at the rise in #polointhecity hashtags and you'll see everyone from key "influencers" to sporting stars are seen socialising at the sport.
Janek Gazecki, founder of Polo in the City in Australia, says when he launched the business 12 years ago, he wanted to radicalise the game and make it appealing to those who knew nothing about it. The former lawyer is on a winning streak with his formula that has since been replicated in the United States to woo the masses.
"What we run is a variation of the traditional game. It's called urban polo and we have changed the configuration of the game to make it spectator friendly," explains Gazecki.
"We have changed the rules, made the size of the field smaller and the ball is bigger to make it more visible to those watching," he says.
"If you like we're the equivalent of 20/20 cricket, but we're classy and more upmarket," he adds.
Tailored, yet casual
Polo is an elegant sport, and a nod to its snobbish past is still channelled in the modern renaissance of the sport. That's why the emphasis on those attending still holds onto some tradition when it comes to dress code – it's smart casual where quality tailoring still gets a tick of approval. And if you're being hosted in any of the corporate marquees (Land Rover, Pol Roger to name a few) you need to look the part.
Blokes should avoid suits-and-tie combinations, but it's not uncommon to see a bow tie with a boater and tailored smart linen pants or shorts. Blazers are practically uniform, with a pocket square to be on point, offering a softer silhouette without over casualising your cause.
Quality pieces over quantity
Sydney-based menswear designer Joe Farage says the key for men at polo is to go for quality.
"My advice to guys is wear high quality separates. It's about mixing and matching rather than wearing a traditional suit. Invest in premium fabrics, wool blend, cotton, linen and silk blends. They're perfect for the Aussie summer," offers Farage.
He says rolled chinos, navy and cream colour palettes and a structured blazer are hero items for a winning look.
"Leave the sneakers at home," he adds. "The event is luxurious and elegant and sneakers don't quite fit here. Sport luxe isn't quite the right look for polo –it's a royalty sport and you need to channel that look rather than street wear."
Chris Edwards of Oscar Hunt says think about pops of colour – from pastels to prints and checks, it's a time to ramp up your love of bright fabrics.
"Polo is the season for linen, cottons and even mohair blends in a lightweight which are good for any summer styling occasion," explains Edwards. "It's a time to embrace some whites and be creative with colour without overdoing it."
In it to win it
For the competitive, stylists will be roaming the field to find the best dressed men and women.
Chadstone Polo Stylist Suzy Eskander will be looking for innovative takes on smart casual.
"Keep it simple by styling in varying shades of the same hue. Start with a white pant, light blue shirt, an Indigo blue blazer with a navy belt. Same can be done for greens, greys, tans and pinks. A great way to achieve an uncomplicated stylish look for the polo," she says.
She's a big fan of exposed ankles, all whites will get her tick of approval (yes, that's tailored white denim if you dare with a rolled cuff) and double-breasted for a dressy wow factor.
"Polo is generally about more casual dressing but for a formal English preppy polo look," says Eskander. "Get on board the double-breasted train which is very in right now."
Check out the gallery above to see our selection of polo-worthy gear.