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The Evolution of Rugby Shirts: A Timeless Wardrobe Staple

CEO Tinh Phung
The rugby shirt has come a long way since its humble beginnings on the muddy fields of Warwickshire, England. Today, it is a versatile and stylish garment that has captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts...

The Best Rugby Shirt Brands For Men In 2024

The rugby shirt has come a long way since its humble beginnings on the muddy fields of Warwickshire, England. Today, it is a versatile and stylish garment that has captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts and lovers of classic prep alike. Its appeal lies in its ability to effortlessly transition between smart and casual looks. Whether you're a fan of streetwear or classic tailoring, the rugby shirt is a must-have item in your wardrobe.

Rugby Shirt Buying Considerations


The fit of a rugby shirt is a matter of personal preference. Originally slim-cut to prevent opponents from grabbing onto the fabric, a slimmer fit gives a more tailored and sophisticated look. Pair it with tailored trousers, and it becomes a viable alternative to the traditional Oxford button-down shirt. On the other hand, a relaxed fit offers a laid-back feel that goes well with denim, cargo trousers, and sneakers.


Rugby shirts are typically made from mid-to-heavyweight cotton jersey, which gives them their distinctive texture. The weight of the fabric can vary slightly, with heavier cottons being ideal for layering in colder months, while lighter cottons are suitable for summer. Although the long sleeves may not make it suitable for the beach, it is perfect for layering under outerwear during cooler weather.


One of the reasons why rugby shirts are so popular is the wide range of colour and stripe combinations available. Historically, stripes denoted team affiliation, but now they add a vibrant touch to an otherwise muted look. Whether you prefer bold, multi-coloured shades or neutral tones that complement your other clothes, the rugby shirt's versatility allows you to make it the focal point or a subtle accent of your ensemble.

How to Wear a Rugby Shirt


While the rugby shirt is inherently casual, it is possible to dress it up with the right styling choices. Opt for unstructured blazers to pair with your rugby shirt, as traditional business suits may clash with the shirt's casual vibe. A relaxed, unstructured sports jacket made from herringbone wool or cotton twill complements the texture of the rugby shirt. Finish off the look with suede desert boots or loafers, and don't be afraid to tuck it in for a polished appearance.

Smart Casual

The rugby shirt truly shines in smart casual outfits. Its collar allows it to be worn comfortably under blazers or lightweight jackets, making it perfect for pairing with tailored trousers. Embrace high-low dressing by combining a rugby shirt with jeans, an unstructured tweed blazer, and Derbies. To achieve a more modern look, roll the hem of the jeans slightly above the ankle.


If you're new to the rugby shirt game, starting with a casual outfit is a great way to ease into it. It pairs effortlessly with denim, making it a natural choice for a sporty and laid-back style. Embrace the versatility of the rugby shirt by wearing it with shorts in the spring or loopback sweatpants and sneakers for vintage sportswear-inspired comfort. Complete the look with a baseball or five-panel cap in warmer months, or a beanie for a layered winter outfit.

The Best Rugby Shirt Brands


Known for its contemporary take on classic menswear, Ami offers rugby shirts that combine throwback design with modern detailing. These oversized designs are made from beautifully crafted fabrics, making them a standout choice for those seeking a unique jersey.

[Shop now at Farfetch]

Ralph Lauren

As the king of American prep, Ralph Lauren produces expertly designed rugby shirts that stand the test of time. Expect to find timeless striped styles in a variety of easy-to-wear colors.

[Shop now at SSENSE]


Founded in 1949, Gant is a brand known for its preppy staples. Their rugby shirts are made from soft yet durable cotton, offering authentic craftsmanship and timeless style.

[Shop now at John Lewis]

J. Crew

J. Crew is renowned for classic designs with modern touches. With their newly announced creative director Brendon Babenzien, formerly of Supreme and founder of Noah, you can expect rugby shirts that perfectly blend throwback styling with contemporary streetwear sensibilities.

[Shop now at J.Crew]

Carhartt WIP

Dating back to 1889, Carhartt is a Detroit brand known for its workwear-inspired designs. Carhartt WIP, their streetwear-focused line, offers subtly oversized rugby shirts that effortlessly pair with denim and sneakers.

[Shop now at END.]


Noah, founded by Brendon Babenzien, is a brand that brings together modern streetwear and classic menswear. Their rugby shirts feature relaxed fits and unique detailing, such as zips instead of buttons, embroidery, or rear logos.

[Shop now at Noah]

Rowing Blazers

Rowing Blazers boasts the most comprehensive range of rugby shirts on the market. Made in Portugal from heavyweight cotton jersey, their rugby shirts range from classic block stripes to reproductions of shirts worn by icons like David Hockney and Mick Jagger. Whatever style of rugby shirt you're looking for, Rowing Blazers has you covered.

[Shop now at Rowing Blazers]


Drake's is a leading menswear brand that champions classic British style. Their rugby shirts are cut from the finest fabrics and are available in timeless designs. They offer both classic rugby shirts and a 'mock collar' variation with knitted cuffs and a mini collar reminiscent of a polo shirt.

[Shop now at MR PORTER]

The History of the Rugby Shirt

The rugby shirt's origins can be traced back to the Rugby School in Warwickshire, England, where it was designed for the game of rugby in the 1800s. Originally made of wool, it later transitioned to heavyweight cotton due to its durability and resistance to sweat, rain, and mud. The shirt's design included stiff cotton collars that stayed in place and avoided flapping, along with a button-free placket to prevent scratches.

The Best Rugby Shirt Brands For Men In 2024

The most distinctive feature of the rugby shirt is its colourful stripes, which were used to distinguish between teams. Over time, the rugby shirt's popularity grew beyond the pitch. Icons like David Hockney and Mick Jagger embraced the shirt in the 1960s and 1970s, giving it a cool and rebellious edge.

Today, the rugby shirt continues to be a staple in fashion, with artists like Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Tyler the Creator embracing its timeless appeal. From Ralph Lauren to Aime Leon Dore, numerous brands offer their own unique take on this classic garment.

So, whether you're a fan of streetwear or classic menswear, the rugby shirt should be a key player in your wardrobe. Its versatility, comfort, and timeless style make it a must-have item for any fashion-conscious individual.