My first experience with polos was a combined issue of being introduced to the service industry at the age of 12 and the fact that at the age of 12, it was 1987, a time when I'm sure the preppy look of Izods was on its way out but still around, at least in my neck of the woods. In both cases, they were a way to look like everyone else, no matter which side of the Taco Bell counter you were on at the local mall. In both cases, I only wore them if I was forced to.

The Izod alligator has now been replaced with a variety of clothing logos as well as numerous food chains and other retail outlets. I myself have been forced to wear company logos on polos in a series of jobs I've held, including the one where I am presently employed, a Ford dealership. Apparently, the black T-shirts we were wearing with a large 8 inch wide Ford symbol was not professional enough in the body shop, even though, unlike other departments, our office staff was exposed to the extreme heat of the summer months on a daily basis. So polos were issued. In an effort to break the monotony, the other girls in the office and I bought five different colors to break up the days; to help us remember, there is a daily color chart taped on the walls of our offices. Our production manager, Randy is always a color and day behind.

Polos are the epitome of the increased ambiguity of social dress, the gray area between casual and dress that is overused, indicating to me that most people just aren't creative enough with their wardrobe. My distaste for them is likely also derived from my general distaste for the "college" look, that preppy middle class that is marketed by an array of stores that support such blandness, whose names I will neglect to mention. You know who you are.

They require no effort; the three of four buttons they do have do not even need to be tended to, since most people wear a T-shirt under them anyway. They have no shape and tend to either shrink in the wrong places or stretch out in the least desirable ones. While their poly/cotton blend, they are far from cool, yet they are associated with sporty-ness, seen on the backs of golf pros and other low impact sports that while they do not require physical exertion, they do seem to require long periods in direct sunlight.

My largest pet peeve with polos is the ease with which they find themselves in dressy circumstances. While I am not a dressy person by nature or by choice, I do think some standards should be set. If it cannot be worn with a tie and does not button all the way from top to bottom, I don't think you should be wearing it to a night out at the opera with your parents on their 25th anniversary.

Lastly, I am aware that when I address this I am aiming mainly at men. Because you want women to look at you, why would you want to, in any way, resemble the fry cook at Burger King or the kid who washes your car on Saturday afternoons? Any why, oh why, would you want to look like every other shmuck at a coffee shop?

Show some ingenuity, boys. You are being watched more than you realize.