Joint Venture: The Elbow Is The New Ankle

Several years ago the fashion forward began using the sockless ankle as a style focal point. Later the wrist — adorned with “man bracelets” — became another prime location for enhanced personal expression.

But now, according to new fall items released on the Rugby website, the hot anatomical joint is the elbow. Four out of eight sweaters, or 50 percent, are decorated with elbow patches.

Oh, and neo-prep trendsetters also consider striped watchbands passé: Braces are the new watchband. — CC

32 Comments on "Joint Venture: The Elbow Is The New Ankle"

  1. Rugby continues to frustrate me.

  2. I’m not sure the model in the first image would appreciate where you’re clickin’, buddy.

  3. Yeah, someone just alerted me. Three out of four had mouse hands feeling up the models.


  4. Can’t we just be happy with a tie and simple white pocket square? The on-going Pitti-ization of men as peacocks just bugs me. It’s analogous to suggesting men all buy Corvette’s to make up for our small…..

  5. Bite your tongue: I used to have a Corvette.

  6. I’ve actually worn through the elbows of two cardigans, and may need to patch the elbows of my most venerable tweed jacket in a few years.

  7. Incidentally, I noticed that the “patch” phenomenon is still going strong at Rugby: you can spend $178 to look like a hobo!

  8. Ahhh!!! So glad I just invested in Patch Stock!

    But seriously, this is so collegiate, and I love a little campus fashion!

  9. The Scoundrel | August 2, 2011 at 11:01 am |


    That quaint term is about as up-to-date as a Shirley Temple film.

    I do believe that patched elbows are strictly for ne’er-do-wells, rogues and vagabonds.

    Anyone seen my monocle?

  10. Buying new items with leather patches? No way!

  11. Beats the crap Brooks Brothers is selling

  12. Strikes me as a superfluous affectation.

  13. Just wondering……is the center of the elbow patch supposed to line up with the tip of one’s elbow?

  14. Sounds like a question for manton or Will.

  15. Richard Meyer | August 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    Silly affectations. 🙁

  16. Tom Conroy | August 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    Not good. The only time to put patches on your clothes is when you have worn out the knees or the elbows. Patches are a throw back to a very distant era. Back to the time when I was growing up in the late 50’s early 60s. At this point it is sort of an insult to some of us who lived in an era when parents needed to patch clothing for growing kids. 50 years ago it was a vey different world for the middle class. Tom Conroy

  17. Years ago (when they came in actual sizes and were made in England) I bought a brown cashmere cardigan from Brooks Brothers that came with elbow patches (that never lined up with my elbows) and around that same ancient time, I also bought a tan camel hair (made in USA) cardigan from L. L. Bean that came with elbow patches that never lined up with my elbows.

    So, elbow patches on new clothing are nothing new, but I still don’t understand how anyone could wear through their elbows, as one’s elbows never come in contact with anything.

  18. M. Farquharson | August 3, 2011 at 3:17 am |

    There was also a day when the modern suit was only country-wear, and when no one would dream of loafers in town, but times evolve. Your style was doubtless attacked by the old boys of the generation before. Patches look old-school, trad, and sharp in my opinion. Good call Christian.

    One aspect I prefer to modern clothing is the cut, the silhouette. Today we have far sharper/Italian cuts.

  19. Richard Meyer | August 3, 2011 at 4:57 am |

    Tom Conroy speaks the truth!

  20. I bought I very nice tweed jacket earlier this year at an end-of-winter sale and got it for ridiculously cheap. But at the time I was on the fence about it because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the elbow patches. I guess I’m glad I bought it now. Haha. But seriously, elbow patches are one of those things that will come and go in fashion, but won’t go out of style with a traditional dresser.

    As for striped watch bands, I’m actually glad they are going out of fashion. Like many of you I’m sure, I was wearing regimental watch straps before they became fashionable (we can probably thank J. Crew for that) and I got numerous compliments on it. I will continue wearing mine, but I am partial to a leather band on my watch in the Fall and Winter months.

  21. PS…I’m not quite dead yet.

    burp fart snort

  22. @RoyRPlatt

    I have worn through the elbows on two of my sport coats, as I often rest my elbows on desks / tables / bars / etc. A bad habit and evidence of poor manners (I know), but nonetheless… elbow patches are a boon for me.

  23. Michael Mattis | August 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    Elbow patches are excellent for us barflies. I tell you how many sleeves I’ve ruined leaning against the plank.

  24. No one talks about the braces?

    I just can’t stop seeing them as “Ravenclaw” and “Gryffindor” official house braces.

    I’m not sure I’d ever honestly wear suspenders. I just think they’d veer off from prep and go straight to geek. I have enough geekness naturally, I don’t need to add to it.

  25. Richard Meyer | August 4, 2011 at 4:01 am |

    Some of the above comments don’t understand that reparing a worn elbow with a patch is fine, but patches on a brand new garment are just a silly affectation.

  26. @ Richard Meyer

    Perhaps they’re preventative? Haha.

    Patches on sweaters are a little extreme in my opinion. A jacket is one thing. What is interesting about the pictures is looking at where the patches are. It appears as though the top of the patch should line up with your elbow joint. Good to know.

  27. Michael Mattis | August 4, 2011 at 9:09 am |


    Certainly. When leaning against the bar, your elbows are slightly off and below the plank. It’s the part of your forearm just below the elbow that’s in danger. This sensitive area needs to be protected if drinking is to be protracted.

  28. Any analysis of Brooks Brothers latest back to College collection, yet?

  29. Patches on a cricket sweater? That’s pushing a silly trend too far.

  30. It’s smart to have them. After leaning on a desk or table all day, they are practical to keep wear-and-tear and soiling minimized. You don’t wash wool sweaters after every wear, you dry-clean them after every 4 or 5 wears. Why all the animosity? It’s just clothing…

  31. They are already in the Polo Ralph Lauren discount store on the Gold Coast of Queensland Australia.

  32. I like the look of elbow patches especially on a tweed jacket, its adds to the rugged look. On a sweater? Im not so sure…. : )

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