Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lessons Learned from Ralph Lauren Rugby

[Or, How To Make A Bad Sandwich Out Of Otherwise Good Ingredients]

Two bloggers (who hate one another) simultaneously alerted us to the closing of Ralph Lauren's Rugby line in their blogs here and here.  I thought that I would offer a more sarcastic and mocking tone towards the Rugby brand.  If you ever wanted to be a Ralph Lauren designer, here's how:

Start by wearing something normal.

Now, add a tie to let people know that you go to a preppy college 
where ties are somehow required or normal on campus in the year 2012.

A rugby shirt over the whole thing lets people know that you are also a jock 
who can be counted in for any pick-up game on the fake quad during a picturesque autumn.  
The rugby shirt will protect the tie and shirt, I suppose, if that ambitious kid tries to tackle you. 
"Damnit, Clayton!  I said two-hand touch!  I don't want grass stains on my chinos!"

Now, it's back to the main campus hall where jackets are also mysteriously required.  
Not enough time to remove your rugby shirt?  
No problem, put your heavy herringbone tweed (with severe taper) over that.  
Alternative: corduroy jacket with elbow patches for more allusions to mythological academia.
Even dumber alternative: hooded sweatshirt instead of rugby shirt
Rumpled?  Check.  Carefree?  Again, yes.  Uncomfortable?  Horribly.

Are the autumnal winds giving you the chills during your tailgating or 
ambiguous spectatorship of something horsey?  Put a down vest over the jacket 
which is over the rugby which is over the sweater which is over the shirt.

Should there be a dusting of snow, a quilted jacket (practically a uniform these days) can be put over the whole thing.  It looks stupid, you say?  Correct.  While the layers may bring your internal temperatures to a near-boil, you can at least be comforted knowing that you are unable to move beneath it.  
This won't be a problem because you'll be standing in poses all day 
hoping that you get photographed by someone for a blog.

Nothing says rugby like a scarf.  I suppose I should have used an 
oversized striped one for this, but this will have to do.  My God, this looks stupid,
and I'm in my mid-to-late thirties.

Now you are ready to stand unnaturally contrapposto, hold a football or bundle of books like Doryphoros, or gaze stoically with your chin and heavily combed hair aimed at the horizon.  
Extra points for tucking the sweater and rugby shirt into the belt of your jeans, 
and let's not even talk about socks, the ubiquitous Jolly Roger, or the false sizing labels. 

[None of the above garments are made by Ralph Lauren.]


This is not the first time I've humiliated myself for the blogs benefit.


  1. Positively brilliant. It is a wonder that the line is going under, since clearly you need thirteen items (minimum) to be properly dressed. A RL ad of some variety (it may well have been Rugby) once prompted one of the greatest quotes ever to come out of my six year-old cousin:

    "People don't really wear clothes like that, do they?"

  2. That sums it up nicely.


  3. Oh man. They're really closing? I can't imagine why.

  4. You forgot the high top hiking boots..semi-laced of course...with wide whale cords haphazardly ticked in...sort of. This post is genius my friend!

  5. Alas! Clearly the victim of a period of relative stability in the Middle East, which has resulted in moderating prices for home heating oil. As a result, people in the northeast are able to keep their homes warmer than 40 degrees, making such a wardrobe impractical.

  6. "Laughing well is the best revenge."

  7. What?!
    No burgee to a club that don't exist?
    No crest for family to which you are not related?
    Tisk Tisk...

  8. More of this please!

  9. Excellent. And make sure the wide wale cords are neon orange.

    I personally thought the quilted Barbour-type jacket never would have survived past Bernie Madoff being photographed in one.

    As an aside, I would have put your age in the mid-50s based on your tastes. (This is a compliment, I think.)

  10. Wonderful work. I put together my own version of this for a Halloween party, except with summer gear. Like you, I used things out of my closet I would never wear ALL at once.

    Patchwork madras blazer, rumpled oxford, loosely knotted seersucker tie, Nantucket red shorts, blue/green/yellow Top-Siders, a beat up watch with grosgrain band, and Wayfarers.

  11. That was hysterical...

  12. YWP, what were you thinking? Where are all the patches? That scarf is way too dull. You need one with bright multi colored stripes so you can be seen from four blocks. Geez.

    Great post!

  13. You, sir, are a freakin' genius. That was absolutely spot on.

  14. Having attended a small private college with YWP, I can tell you that we definitely did dress at least this preposterously "preppie" at times. We left off the rugby shirts, but one of us would actually wear up to three oxford shirts of the same weight one atop the other with occasional sweaters between them. It was breathtaking, as you might imagine.

    Looking back, this wasn't a question of romanticized snobbery so much as a deliberate gesture of difference and subculture, like our own photo negative of late seventies punk clothing and attitude. If this style had been desirable or even acceptable to the mores of the campus at large, we wouldn't have bothered.

    More recently, I have acquired one of those ralph lauren quilted jackets. A friend of mine found herself wearing it instead of her own coat after a long night on the town, and not knowing where to return it, gave it to me. It looks like a Barbour, but is actually made like one of those nylon puffy coats. Passable for walking the hound around the block though. One downside is that it took almost twenty minutes to peel or cut all the RL labels and logos off of it.

  15. Re turning your old subway tokens into cufflinks; I beginning to think that cufflinks are very aging & only worn by BOFs

    What do think?

  16. Awesome. Ralph Lauren's various endeavours are each sad in their own ways, but Rugby may be the worst of all.

  17. This is a brilliant piece of photodocumentation and a fitting tribute to the closing of a label that means Ralph will probably take in only $99 jillion next year instead of an even $100J.

    We're lazy as f**k so we just drew a chart in Photoshop: http://www.unrefinery.com/article/why-rl-rugby-is-calling-it-quits


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