Polo anyone? While just about every American has been to the ballpark to watch a baseball game or cheered their hometown football team in the stands, a much smaller percentage has witnessed a live polo game. Despite the high-brow image many associate with this sport, polo is a pasttime that can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old. That’s why you will find a wide variety of dress styles at a polo match, everything from jeans and flip-flops to designer frocks. The most important factor to keep in mind if you’re going to be a first-time spectator of the game? Polo is an outdoor sport, subject to weather and old-fashioned dirt and grime.
Polo competitors may enter the ring wearing top hats and tailored jackets with brass buttons, but these formalities need not be copied by fans. At one time, dresses and fancy hats were often sported by upper-class spectators, but this is generally not the standard now. “Country casual” makes the grade at a polo match, meaning comfortable yet tailored ensembles that don’t attract attention. The action in the ring, not an over-the-top hat or flashy jacket, should be the focus of the day. Here are a few considerations when dressing for a polo match.
• Most importantly, footwear should be comfortable and practical. High heels are never a smart choice. Polo grounds are large and park-like, with grass, dirt and even the occasional pile of horse poop, making anything but flats look silly. Sandals, sneakers, loafers and boots are all acceptable choices.
• Colors should be classic and subdued, although it is acceptable to wear a jacket or sweater in your stable colors (similar to how you would wear team colors to a football game).
• If you’re feeling super casual, t-shirts, slacks or shorts and flip-flops will do. Otherwise a nice button-down shirt and khaki pants for men, and a light top with slacks or a modest sundress for the ladies.
• Bathing suits and revealing clothing are frowned upon.
• To keep sunburn at bay and allow for better viewing, a hat is a must. Super-fancy hats will look out of place at a polo match, so opt for a nice ballcap or visor instead.
• Polo clubs frequently host parties to benefit worthy charitable causes, as well as many social events. If you happen to be a guest in the VIP section or attending a special event, the dress code will be more formal. Opt for sophisticated, tailored looks, including linen jackets, ties and sundresses.
One of the most popular parts of a polo match happens at halftime, and when spectators are invited onto the field for the divot stomp. During play, polo horses tear up the turf, so replacing the loose clumps of grass (divots) with a good stomp is important. It’s also a fun way to socialize with fellow fans.
Attending a polo match is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature, meet lots of new people and watch thrilling sports action. Don’t worry too much about fashion…just have fun!