Friday, November 23, 2007

Polo Wars

The original modern form of the Polo shirt/t-shirt was made famous by Lacoste. Today most of the iconic polo/tennis shirts are made with woven pique cotton with some brands employing the use of lycra in their more athletic slimmer cuts.

Anyway, polo shirts are popular in our country because it's simply practical. The cotton material is of course cooling. Many find them to give a slightly more formal look than a collarless t-shirt and some prefer the preppy look of the upturned collar. Polo shirts are also good with blazers. Some will layer the shirts (even though it's kinda hot in Malaysia) with a different coloured t-shirt on the inside (and they emphasize the contrast by folding the sleeves of the polo to let the inside shirt peek out). I actually find it alright to layer by wearing, on the inside, a singlet to prevent sweat spots from appearing on the front or armpits of the polo... especially with the darker colours. It's so unappealing to have sweat stains.

Due to the high price, oftentimes, people will (mis)regard wearing certain branded polos as status symbols. To add to this, Ralph Lauren's Big Pony logo (on their BPPs) and Lacoste's larger crocodile logo on some of their polos, were created, I believe, to add to the aim of educating the masses on brand consciousness (and maybe enticing them to buy).

This has of course led to the emergence of counterfeit/fake polo shirts found in places like Chinatown. They definitely cost a fraction of the real thing but one sometimes wonders if these are truly fakes or simply production overruns. The emergence of such polos in wholesalers such as FOS and Reject shop also adds to the confusion. I have heard stories that the factories in China actually counterfeit branded polos and then purposely cut off the labels before shipping them out in order to confuse the customers into believing that such polos are the real thing ("Oo... look here, I got a good deal because these are rejected goods from the factory and they must have cut off the labels so as not to devalue the brand!")

Caveat emptor.

Anyway, back on the high price, I have found that the expensive polos normally have these characteristics...
- Have a better fit (different choices e.g. PRL's custom or classic fit to suit your body style)
- The colours do not fade so easily
- Retains shape better after wash
- Nice buttons. Some are Mother Of Pearl. Most are signed.

That said, high priced branded polos can be seriously overpriced in Malaysia. Moreover, I HAVE also found polos that are far cheaper with similar characteristics. Oftentimes you will find excellent products from Fila (their colours are wonderful and they never fade or colour-run) and GAP (which offers the athletic fit).

Brands like Hang Ten and Giordano also offer a wide range of comfortable polos for a very low price. I have several of the former in various colours and have always found them to be very dependable. I also have some brandless polos (got free as premium gifts from events) that are excellent (even better than some branded ones). I have heard of polos from Le Tigre as well and am keen to try them. Btw, last weekend, I saw some British India ones that look similar to RLs but have elephants instead of horses. They even have large elephant logos on some of them.

Anyway, here are some opinions on some of the polos I have. Apart from the Ben Sherman, the rest can be found in Malaysia.

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman polos are a bit on the slim fit side. The material is nice and soft and they have small fine details. I found mine to be very comfortable.


Crocodile seems to be trying to come back to the fore after their tussle with Lacoste over the crocodile logo. The interesting thing is that back in the 80s and 90s, Crocodile was always seen in Malaysia to be the premium polo brand. You could find really cheap Lacoste shirts back then so we thought that Crocodile were the ones to get. Today, the reality is that Crocodile shirts are not as expensive as Lacoste. I saw this argyle weave in their boutique a while back and decided to get it. However, the shirt shrank A LOT after one wash and I was not happy. I would have expected better quality from a polo that cost RM100+. Too bad.

Shanghai Tang

Shanghai Tang has a range of polos called the Genghis Khans. They are similar in concept to the Ralph Lauren BPPs except that they have the stand/mandarin collar. I liked them when I saw them in the boutique. However, I did not get any because the cut is really weird and, imho, doesn't fit the Malaysian body that well because the shoulders are wide causing the sleeves to jut out. And the sleeves are slightly longer than other polos. On top of that, where for some brands I had to go for L or XL, Shanghai Tang's size S would be closest for me. I had another friend try it out and he had similar impressions. I did however get another product from them.

Fred Perry

I am glad that Fred Perry has made its appearance in Malaysia officially. There's a small counter in Tangs Pavilion and I hear their boutique will open in Midvalley Gardens come December. However, I am betting that only the non Limited Edition Made in China polos will be present. For the Limited Edition Made in UK versions, I think we still have to go to Singapore. Here's hoping that I am proven wrong when the boutique opens. FP polos are very comfortable. I found them to be fitting but not as fitting as Ben Shermans. The pique cotton is very soft. Currently I think they are a bit overpriced in Malaysia.

Banana Republic

I love the BR polo quality. I think their lycra-ed versions are of very good quality. I wish that they produce more vibrant colours though - hopefully in the Spring/Summer collection. At current prices, they are priced lower than a Lacoste or a Ralph Lauren and this makes them slightly better value imho. Quality is up there for sure. To top it all of, BR generally do not display their logo anyway on the front of the polo. I think they simply want to be good products with little flash.


The one that started it all. Lacoste polos are not only the ones who started the trend but also included the side slits at the bottom of the polos and the longer rear flap to ensure that your polo does not slip out of your pants if you bend forward. They also added the stiffer collar that can be propped up to cover the back of the neck from the sun. Anyway Lacoste has the normal green label (one with small crocodile and the newer range with a larger croc logo) and also the silver label which is slightly costlier and the polos employ the use of lycra to make them stretchable as they are very slim fit.

Ralph Lauren

Finally, the Ralph Lauren Polo. It is equally as famous as Lacoste and comes in several variants. The most popular today are the Big Pony Polos (BPPs) - named as such due to the large ponies on the left breast. There are many variants today (you can check the style guide on their website for the meaning of the numbers). But if you just want a plain good old quality polo, you cannot go wrong with a RL polo with the smaller ponies.

There are also some other brands that may warrant your attention. Burberry has a nice range of premium polos as well and their fit is quite snug (slim).

In any case, the above text is only IMHO from my own personal experiences. Please feel free to comment if you have your own thoughts on this. Also would like to know your experiences with various brands.

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Breguet Bling!

Ok... RM2.5 Million priced watch... super BLING!

Check it out by clicking on the photo below (also included are the La Tradition Fusee Tourbillon and the Reveil Du Tsar).

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Puma x Evisu Black Tattoo Denims now available!

When Puma first launched this new series of collabs with Evisu earlier this year, I knew I had to get a pair. I was quite enamoured of the shiny black swallows/paintstrokes on the back pockets of the denims. So when the new Puma boutique opened in Pavilion recently, I decided to check them out. I already had a pair from the earlier version of the True Love Never Dies series but was quite happy with this new one when I saw them. Check out the detailed work!

Also, don't forget to get some TLND notebooks!

You get a special plastic/paper bag when you buy these jeans...

Oh btw, Rudolf Dasslers and Miharas kicks as well as the Urban Mobility range are also available at the boutique. Make sure you grab some free postcards ^_^

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Peeking at the new IWC boutique in Kuala Lumpur

Finally decided to drop by the new IWC boutique in Pavilion to have a personal look at the stunning watches! My report when you click on the photo below...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Eva Popiel and the Global Talk Show

Just managed to catch the show Talk with Beauties (aka Chit Chat with Beauties aka Global Talk Show) on the new KBS channel on Astro (303). Wah lao, the show doesn't have any subtitles but with my rudimentary Korean, I can catch a bit of it. It's a panel of some REALLY pretty girls from all around the world and the host and a group of Koreans talk with them about everything Korean including some interesting and funny topics concerning daily Korean life and how a foreigner experiences Korea.

Anyway, one of the most famous girls on the panel is Eva Popiel...

Youtube clip...

Btw, there's also a Malaysian girl on the panel - Sophia Ridza.

The official site for the show is HERE.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

IWC and Ronan Keating

Was lucky enough to be invited to Valiram Group's new IWC boutique launch at Mandarin Oriental on 2/11/07. The secret guest for the night was Ronan Keating.

Anyway, you can read my full report by clicking on the photo below...

I also took some short videos of his performance (which was amazing to say the least)!

Btw Kim Ong blogged about it too!

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

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