The plaid polo shirt is a 1990s classic. Is it a classic in any other way other than a 1990s-era nostalgia piece? Probably not. It is honestly kind of an bizarre and insane shirt. I am not sure I would exactly say it looks "good." Putting a plaid pattern on a pique cotton polo shirt is such a 1990s thing to do. It's hard to explain, but it is. Who came up with this idea?
I picked up this PRL (Made in the USA) plaid polo from a thrift some years back. Honestly, I very rarely wear the shirt. Until I took this photo, I don't think I had worn it in over a year. I rarely wear polos in general, never outside of spring and summer and never outside of something ultra-uber-hyper-casual. You get it. So why write this bit about it you may be wondering?
I am writing about this 1990s era shirt because just the other day I was looking at instagram and came across this shocking photo on the Polo Ralph Lauren Instagram account.
Photo Credit: Polo Ralph Lauren Instagram Account
The caption read:
"Reintroducing #ThePoloShirt in seasonal plaids..."
There are a lot of light 90s trends that bubble up here and there these days. A few years back PRL resurrected some 90s pieces on a limited run. However, it was this post that particularly struck me. I don't know why, but it feels like the most extreme 90s throwback I have seen in our style corner yet.
What does the resurrection of this 1990s era classic(?) mean? Probably not much, honestly. Sadly, I imagine the fit is too tight, as everything is undersized these days. Most likely, the fabric will also be too thin as well. The vintage one that I have is made of a super thick and comfortable pique and the fit is boxy and roomy.
I imagine that the way these will be worn today will most likely not be done in a great way. The shirt is already such a campy, cult kind of shirt that to wear it in a way which even approaches pulling it off (whatever that means for this shirt) requires some real intention and awareness. It isn't easy and the appropriate time for the shirt is rare. I don't think that a mass successful pulling-off of this shirt will be what happens.
The plaid polo is not like a blue OCBD which looks good on every guy in almost any situation. This is a niche, strange, not even sure if it actually looks good, threading the needle kind of shirt. This shirt is already so extreme, weird, kind of tongue-in-cheek that I think it sadly, most likely will be worn in a way which just makes everything look more goofball.
I don't think a true return of the 90s is upon us. Nevertheless, if you have a soft spot for 90s nostalgia and think you have the right kind of 90s tude to pull it off, the re-release of these is actually kind of cool and fun, maybe you will want to pick one up as finding them thrift can be difficult.