Polo Rugby Death Feature

Remembering the Death of Ralph Lauren’s Polo Rugby

Words by Cole Louison

One year ago this week, at 7 p.m., the last remaining Rugby store locked its doors. The closing officially ended a fashion line by Ralph Lauren that was, by all accounts…interesting. Rugby was based on the prep school look: tweeds, rep stripes, knit sweaters, and the classic heavy-weight shirts incorporated from the jerseys of rugby clubs in the U.K. Well-made stuff your grandpa could have worn to Yale, but looked good today. That was the concept.

The execution was another story.

Maybe they were downsizing and Polo had to incorporate their Halloween line. Maybe corporate guys got drunk and began a brainstorm session with, “Y’know what people love? Skulls!” Or maybe Ralph just wanted to play a $6-million joke. Whatever the reason, soon Rugby was pushing a look that appealed to very few, a look a friend described as, “Harry Potter on a Pirate Ship”—a look that didn’t make much sense. $500 was too much for a blazer covered with fuzzy patches. Stripes were fine, but ties so busy they looked like big pieces of taffy were not. And the skulls. Be they on key fobs or knit sweaters or incredibly expensive velveteen slippers, they had little to do with most shoppers’ college experience.

Rugby seemed out of it, and the shuttered store in NYC’s West Village was the best illustration of that, with its Jolly Rogers and piles of ties draped across old trophies you felt like knocking over. Then there were the saleboys. Here’s an actual exchange that took place regarding a nice pair of wingtips:

Me: How much are these?

Blonde Kid in saddle shoes, khaki clamdiggers, and a bow tie tied in a knot instead of a bow: They’re not for sale.

Me: Oh.

BK: Yeah.

Rugby limped through the fashion world for eight years, and did appeal to some. Certain rappers rocked the bright colors and geezer styles with flair, and the best dress shirt I own is theirs (it’s white, slim-cut, and totally skull-less). But for the most part, the label goes in the cultural file cabinet between Nike SHOX and Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania—ideas we can enjoy now that they’re behind us.

For your consideration, here’s a trip down memory lane.

Polo Rugby Cream Blazer

1. Basic dressy-causal. Good quality. We’re off to a great start, though popping half a sportcoat’s collar makes it look like you just stepped in from the wind.

Polo Rugby Motorcycle dude

2. Pushing it a little, but that’s the idea right? A few bright colors to enhance a classic look. AOK.

Polo Rugby Ivy Club

3. Besides George Bush’s motherfucking Skull and Bones, we don’t know much about the secret clubs of the Ivy League. We do know they probably didn’t give out short-sleeve sweatshirts that say IVY CLUB with falsely distressed bullshit Greek letters to be worn with comic book panel slacks and another polo shirt (collar popped).

Polo Rugby 2 Chainz

4. It’s very possible that the guy who brought Rugby to hip hop was 2 Chainz. He performed in the brand, pairing the classic shirts with bling. It caught on.

Polo Rugby Girl In Green

5. Fine.

Polo Rugby Black

6. Want to make a good topcoat great? Just replace the buttons with little nooses, then add an arm patch of a gold and purple lion waving a dildo. Best when paired with filthy All-Stars and pants from the summer John Kerry ran for office.

Polo Rugby Artsy Girl

7. What. The.  Fuck.

Polo Rugby Paul Cain Fabolous

8. Castaways can be treasure. Alongside Paul Cain (also rocking Rugby), Fabolous rocks a knit sweater and matching hat. The result is an old new look of edgy prep. Well done.

Polo Rugby Twins

9. We don’t think much about rugby—the game–but we think we wouldn’t play it in Willy Wonka’s dinner jacket and sweatshorts. (We might try and hold Channing Tatum’s hand on the way back to the dorm, but that’s another story).

Polo Rugby Vado


10. Vado dug Rugby too, and knew how to enhance its already enhanced look. The matching watch and the tattoos only help things along.


Latest News

kanye west News

Kanye West is Producing Albums For Every G.O.O.D. Music Artist

Yeezy Season has returned
mike sits on his rooftop in the god's with me music video Music Video

A Higher Power Watches Over MIKE in New “God’s With Me” Video

Church in these streets
body-cameras News

Study: Police Body Cameras Have Problems, But Are Still Necessary

Some things never change
chance the rapper dwayne wade News

Chance the Rapper and Dwayne Wade Are Co-Producing a Film on Chicago Basketball

And you say Chi City!
Evidence Music Video

Evidence and Jason Goldwatch Show You Their Los Angeles in “Jim Dean” Video

"Walkin' in the rain off the Jim Beam / Dreams broken on the boulevard, Jim Dean"

Read This in Auto-Tune: T-Pain’s New Album, ‘Oblivion,’ is Here

Still snappin'
seven1 Music

PREMIERE: SeVen1 ‘Sinners Remorse’ EP

"These shorties is f*cked up / They kill but can't hustle"
moneybagg yo youngboy never broke again Music

Youngboy NBA and Moneybagg Yo Team for Conceptual ‘Fed Baby’s’ Album

Against the law
Willie Music Video

PREMIERE: Willie The Kid x V Don “Blue Notes” Video

"The love kept me afloat, the hate kept me on my toes"
plane News

Pilots Have a New Hobby — Drawing Dicks in the Sky

Excuse me as I f*ck the sky
CoteKid Reviews

Check Out SpaceJam Bo’s Exciting New Mixtape ‘Cote Kid’

Montgomery's finest
cyhi the prynce Video

Off The Record: CyHi the Prynce on Kanye West’s “FourFiveSeconds”

“I thought [Kanye] was gonna get Bruce Springsteen on it or something.”
jay-z News

JAY-Z Advocates for Meek Mill, Ties Case to Larger Cause in New York Times Op-Ed

"Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine"
6ix9ine-trippie Features

A Brief History of the Trippie Redd and Tekashi 6ix9ine Beef

It was all good just a few months ago
Yujia Hu Hey, You're Cool

Hey, You’re Cool! Sushi Master Yujia Hu

"I think of sushi as another form of art"
smokepurpp lil peep Music

New Lil Peep Song with Smokepurpp Surfaces Just Hours After His Death

"Think I’ma die no joke, take a couple Xans with the coke”