The History of Golf Attire – How to Improve Your Fashion Score

Sports & Games

Sports attire of all types has evolved from bulky clothing to protect from the elements into sleek performance-enhancing attire. Today, men wear white polo shirts or collared shirts made from light-weight moisture-wicking fabrics.  Golf slacks or shorts are often made from stretch fabrics that allow players to stay cool and comfortable.  Popular women’s styles include a two-piece shirt, skirt, trousers, and accessories like visors, sun hats, and belts.

The Early Days

The exact origin of golf is lost in the mists of time.  It is widely accepted that the modern version of golf began in 15th-century Scotland.  The weather in the Scottish Highlands is known to be unpredictable and quickly changing.  Rapid shifts from sunshine to rain and sudden temperature changes are common. 

Golf clothing has to provide protection against frigid weather, swirling winds, and rain.  Tweed, plaid coats, knickerbockers, or baggy pants were common to keep warm.

Women were not allowed to play golf until the 19th century.  When they did start playing, they often wore dresses with multiple layers to achieve a “ladylike” appearance.

Early 1900’s

Golf became a status sport, especially during the Roaring Twenties.  It became popular in wealthier communities.  

Men sported shirts, ties, waistcoats, long socks, and golf caps.  Women’s fashion shifted from bulky garments to long skirts and stockings.  Pants were taboo, and women wore high heels, as there were no women’s golf shoes.

1930’s – 1940’s

During this period golf clothing took a more casual turn.  Golfers wanted comfortable clothes rather than something based exclusively on style.  A heat wave at the 1933 US Open Championship prompted players to choose lighter, more breathable fabrics.   Waistcoats and jackets were swapped out for collared shirts and flannel pants.

Women’s fashions changed more slowly.  Female golfers were allowed to wear hemlines above the ankle and sleeveless blouses in warmer weather

1950’s – 1960’s

Women’s golf fashion saw great advances in the 1950’s.  Women began to wear fitted dresses with higher hemlines.  A more modest approach was a formless “sack dress”.  These hung straight from the shoulders and did not reveal a woman’s shape.  

In the 1960s, bold colors and patterns began to appear in fashion, and golf attire was no exception.   Bright colors and matching outfits dominated both men’s and women’s fashion.

Today’s Look

Collared shirts, khakis or slacks, and shorts in warm climates have maintained their popularity. Both men and women want comfort and mobility in their clothing. Moisture-wicking and stretch fabrics with bright colours are the norm. Players want clothes that are loose-fitting enough to be comfortable but not baggy enough to look sloppy. They want shirts and blouses that are stylish but don’t stick to the body when sweating.

There is still a focus on practicality.  The right pants pocket has to be large enough to accommodate balls, tees, markers and divot fixers.  Players want to be able to reach into their pockets and find what they are looking for.

Club players want to look good but simultaneously relax and have a good time with their friends.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *