Polo Primer: Dress Code & Traditions
Much like a Hollywood awards ceremony, polo fashion vies with the actual event for top billing. Without appropriate dress, successfully integrating into the polo scene is unlikely. Have your highlighters ready as several confidential polo insiders share the scoop on the unwritten dress code for a Sunday afternoon at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
A safe bet to fit in: A colorful, fitted shift dress like Lilly Pulitzer, a chic Sail to Sable tunic, a Diane Von Furstenberg or J.McLaughlin wrap dress, a maxi or a long, flowy dress. For 3 p.m. games, you may want to arm yourself with a wrap.
A fashion-forward choice to stand out: A statement piece such as a beautiful necklace, shoes or bag.
Rules when it comes to polo fashion: Anything goes. You see everything from white jeans and tall boots to bright-colored, long dresses with beautiful wedges.
A polo-watching essential: A chic pair of sunnies.
Hats at polo: cool or clichéd? Hats are definitely still a part of fieldside fashion. Floppy, wide-brim hats are always classic.
Recommended color palette: Bright and cheery.
Quick cheat: Always opt for a wedge shoe or flats. Heels will have you sinking in the grass.
A safe bet to fit in: Blue jeans and a jacket or a suit with an open shirt. Adjust your level of casual depending on whether you are tailgating or in a box.
A fashion-forward choice to stand out: A bright color worn tastefully, such as a pocket square.
A polo-watching essential: A jacket. It’s good for the windy days but can be taken off when it’s hot or to lend to a lady if the weather becomes brisk.
Quick cheat: Blue jeans are totally acceptable, while a formal suit with a tie is a bit too much.
Stomping the Divots: At halftime (between the third and fourth chukkers), spectators are welcomed on the field for divot stomping—when participants push small patches of grass and dirt that are torn up during polo play back into the ground. In addition to helping keep the ponies and players safe, divot stomping is an opportunity for spectators to stretch their legs and socialize. The menial labor is typically rewarded with gratis Champagne and, at the International Polo Club in Wellington, ice cream bars. (Photo to the right by LILA PHOTO)
Quick cheat: While you may be tempted, do NOT mention you learned about this tradition from Pretty Woman.
Coin Toss: The coin toss takes place before the game to determine goal direction. At the season-opener games, a notable individual or celebrity often performs the toss. (The International Polo Club has had Bo Derek and Tommy Tune in recent years.)
Photo by Gonzalo Villota
For more of our polo guide, from rules and regulation to the game’s top players, click here.