Ralph Lauren 3-Piece Sack Suit + Pinned Club Collar

We close out February with this fine example of what Ralph Lauren was doing back in 2011. The collection’s press release included the following copy:

Polo Ralph Lauren presents a world of vintage preppy dressing inspired by the iconic Northeast, from a rugged Maine expedition to an urban Ivy League campus to charming New England towns renowned for rich autumn color.

Nine years later and there isn’t quite the same breadth of tailored clothing offered, but the web presentation is certainly handsome

66 Comments on "Ralph Lauren 3-Piece Sack Suit + Pinned Club Collar"

  1. Go Lions? Go Quakers, too! ;]

  2. Is there a link to the photos?
    Or was it a private release?

  3. I second the statement above.
    Where can one see the images of this fall collection?

  4. Urban means black

  5. @J
    Judging from some blogs, not only urban, but also preppy and ivy now mean black. Interesting development.

  6. The model is wearing socks!! Hooray!!!

  7. Actually, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Penn are all urban. Haven’t been to Brown but always assumed they were too.

  8. Well, i love Ivy style,but is a pity that Ralph Lauren don’t make longer suits in gorgeous 30s style,and is converted to slim trend.

  9. I find it odd to use a black model for clothes like this. I’ve seen well-dressed black men, but never one dressed like this.

    Perhaps I’m just too provincial.

  10. Click on the link to the slideshow. There’s also an Asian model. Not sure I’ve seen that from RL before.

  11. ScoobyDubious | February 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |


    You need to get out more.

    I won’t ask where you live.

  12. Does it matter what race the models are? What do you think about the clothes? I saw some good things in the collection. Of course there was plenty of nonsense too. And speaking of the Asian model, he was wearing an awesome overcoat.

  13. I’m afraid it does matter what race the model is.

    Have you ever seen how ludicrous Caucasian females look in kimonos?

  14. ScoobyDubious | February 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm |


    I’m assuming that’s just a really, really bad trolling attempt?

    What clothes would you “allow” a black man to wear that would be “appropriate” for him and wouldn’t offend your Kooky Kids Kollective sensibilties?

  15. Wallace Hainault | February 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm |

    African-American men look just fine in traditional and Ivy clothes. We absolutely should not encourage anyone to embrace the fictional White man Ed Hardy. On the other hand, beefy or pale-haired White women should avoid kimonos. The middle class of any race identifies itself when it steps out wearing the Klassic Kollege Kut, but a well-dressed negro is well-dressed indeed.

  16. ScoobyDubious | February 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm |

    uh…I think you mean well….but the word “negro” is a bit passe.
    Went out of fashion about the time “Laugh In” started airing.

  17. It’s pretty obvious when people try to mask their racist sentiments behind some notion of maintaining some kind of pure “ivy” or “trad” aesthetic. It’s a black model wearing a goddamn sack suit. Get over it.

    By the way, you can’t compare kimonos and “ivy league” style clothing. The former is a traditional style of dress of one country–and in modern times, it’s only really worn ceremonially. So yeah, it does seem jarring when worn “out of context.” The latter is probably the most socially acceptable style of dress in the western world, and by default, the entire world. So yeah, nice effort at rationalizing your bigotry, Curmudgeon.

  18. Love this and the club-collared shirt!

  19. Wallace Hainault | February 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

    I believe Mr. Dubious also means well, but I wish for him a well-honed sense of irony to complement his taste in clothes.

  20. Wow. What a tempest I have launched in this teapot!

    I hope that everyone, men and women, of every race, would choose to dress well. What I’m saying is that while I have seen (a very few) nicely-dressed black men (i.e., jacket and tie, suit and tie), I have never seen one wearing something like this, and I find it jarring.

    Am I really making such an outlandish observation when I say that most black men don’t dress like this model? (If you think this factual observation is “racist” or “bigoted,” then I suggest that you have your “racial awareness monitor” set to “hypersensitive,” and probably ought to dial it down a few notches.)

    In one sense, models are canvasses on whom clothes are displayed. I understand that. However, it is still jarring to have a disconnect between who normally wears a particular style of clothing and the model. I also understand that sometimes designers are intentionally seeking that disconnect. I get that the fashion world is its own milieu, and that sometimes designers present “concepts” and aim for shock value. I’m not used to that from Ralph Lauren.

    As mentioned above, non-Asian women nearly always look silly wearing kimonos. It’s because there is something incongruous there, not to mention the fact that the kimono is more flattering to a specific Japanese body and facial type (and, by extension, similarly-shaped non-Japanese Asians). On the flip side, I’ve seen Japanese men wearing cowboy-style outfits, and while the gap isn’t as great as it is for Caucasians in kimonos, it’s still jarring. It looks out of place.

    I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought had the model pictured in this post been wearing something casual, or even a plain vanilla suit/tie/shirt. However, he’s not, and, to me, this model looks odd, for the reasons given above.

    Which is all I really wanted to say in the first place.

  21. Odd indeed.

  22. ScoobyDubious | March 1, 2011 at 2:14 am |

    @ Henry opined:

    Man….what planet do you live on? You rarely see a black man in a suit and tie? It’s a SUIT! Worn all over the world by people of all races and ethnicities.

    I’m sorry, but I just refuse to believe that you could be that cloistered from reality. You managed to figure out how to use a computer, so I figure you must be trolling.

    Otherwise….just stop talking because you’re embarrassing yourself.

  23. ScoobyDubious | March 1, 2011 at 2:21 am |

    Just noticed this gem from “Henry”:

    “I get that the fashion world is its own milieu, and that sometimes designers present “concepts” and aim for shock value. I’m not used to that from Ralph Lauren.”


    A black man in a suit is “shocking”?
    See Photos of John Coltrane above from 50 years ago. Shocking!

    OK, you MUST be trolling. That’s just pathetic…

  24. Christian | March 1, 2011 at 9:46 am |

    Scooby, I think you’re being a bit hard on Henry, who has left thoughtful comments here for a long time. Also, he did say that he’d never seen someone dressed like THIS before, not a suit and tie period.

    But his marks about RL and “disconnect” specifically seem to ignore Tyson Beckford, who became the face of Polo in the early ’90s. So this is hardly new from RL.

  25. Thank you, Christian.

    I admit to being completely unfamiliar with Tyson Beckford. I lived in Hawaii in the early 90s, and in Hawaii, “dressing up” means “aloha shirt and slacks with closed-toe shoes.” RL was not on my radar.

    Scooby, please calm down. Read what I said, not what you your hyper-attenuated “bigotry” scanner picks up.

    I live in California, so I rarely see anyone in a suit and tie. I live in an area with a small black population–but lots of Mexicans. Come to think of it, while I sometimes see Mexicans in ties, I almost never see one wearing a suit. Make of that what you will.

    I don’t control what other people wear, Scooby, nor do I control who lives around me. If that makes me “cloistered”–well, perhaps you need to check your dictionary.

  26. DCLawyer68 | March 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    A few items:

    (1) lots of club collars in RL’s fall lineup – will have me visting their store in Friendship heights this fall.

    (2) I think Henry’s reference is particular to the style of suits – the vintage aspect. I don’t detect any racism of any sort.

    However, if he looks around a bit more I think he’ll see a resurgence among younger black men for vintage clothing (e.g. Dhanni Jones’s line of bow ties) in the media and websites. I’ve seen quite a bit of interest as people look for ways to differentiate themselves.

  27. ScoobyDubious | March 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    @ Henry

    I think you just proved my point Henry. I’m not sure what your age may be, but i would guess you’re a senior?

    Henry quote: “What I’m saying is that while I have seen (a very few) nicely-dressed black men (i.e., jacket and tie, suit and tie)”.

    “a very few”?

    What my “hyper-attenuated “bigotry” scanner picks up” is that you haven’t spent much time around black people. Period. You said: “I live in an area with a small black population”. I think that may have always been the case with you?

    The fact that you find your statement to be completely normal, and that my response to be over-the-top…speaks volumes.

    I’m not excited, so I don’t need to calm down. I never called you a “bigot”, so you don’t need to rush to defend yourself from an insult that never happened.

    Nobody said that you need to “control who lives around you”. But unless you’re in prison, you do have control of where you live, and your own life experiences. But that shouldn’t mean that you cloister (yes, correct word) your world perspective from the outside reality.

    I’m just truly amazed that in 2011 someone could still hold that view. Guess what? I live in a warm part of the US as well. I see people of all races in suits, all the time.

  28. Wallace Hainault | March 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm |

    Everything else aside, that is a very nice suit and it makes me want to party like it’s 1915.

  29. DCLawyer,

    Thank you. You get it: it’s the style of the suit (and accessories), not the fact of the suit.


    Great comment–I love it!

  30. Scooby,

    As it so happens, I grew up in a city with a sizable black population. As as an adult, I have lived in areas with very small black populations, including a foreign country with a very small population of any kind of foreigner (I guess my travel to four continents and studies at five universities are what make me so “cloistered”).

    So what? Are you insinuating that I’m “racist” for living where I’ve lived?

    As an adult, I have seen very few black men wearing suits and ties. I think this is for two reasons: small sample size, and (apparent) lack of popularity of suits among the black men I do see.

    So what? Are you insinuating I’m “racist” because I now live in a place where very few men of any race wear suits?

    Would you like me to change the facts to suit your expectations?

    Why are you so fixated on race?

  31. ScoobyDubious | March 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    @ Henry

    “As an adult, I have seen very few black men wearing suits and ties.”

    – I find this very very odd.

    “Are you insinuating that I’m “racist” for living where I’ve lived?”

    – Didn’t say that. I said “cloistered”. See above.

    “Are you insinuating I’m “racist” because I now live in a place where very few men of any race wear suits?”

    – Again, didn’t say that. I don’t consider people in Iceland to be racists because of the small number of black people that live there. But if they said, “I have seen (a very few) nicely-dressed black men (i.e., jacket and tie, suit and tie), I have never seen one wearing something like this, and I find it jarring.”, I would say that is probably because you live in Iceland.

    “Why are you so fixated on race?”

    – Oddly enough Henry, YOU brought up race out of thin air because you thought it so strange to see a black man in a suit. So one could ask why YOU are so fixated on race.

    “As it so happens, I grew up in a city with a sizable black population. As as an adult, I have lived in areas with very small black populations, including a foreign country with a very small population of any kind of foreigner (I guess my travel to four continents and studies at five universities are what make me so “cloistered”).”

    -That may well be, which makes your following comment even harder to comprehend:


    “As an adult, I have seen very few black men wearing suits and ties.”

    – Again, I don’t know where you live. Is it rural? A retirement home/resort/golf course? I do not seem to be seeing the same things as you see, hence I can only assume it is your (choice of) environment.

    That is all. We have different realities. You find a black man in a suit to be “jarring” and “concept” that designers use for “shock value”. I find it to be none of those things. In fact it’s pretty mundane. That’s all i really have to say about that.

  32. Scooby,

    No, no, NO! You really need to work on your reading comprehension!

    Christian gets it. DCLawyer gets it. Why can’t you?

    Yes, as it so happens, I see few men wearing suits where I live (California’s Central Coast). I also see few black men. Those combine to yield very few black men wearing suits.

    But that’s not what I was talking about.

    I was talking about the SPECIFIC STYLING in the photo CC used for this post. I have never seen a black man dressed like this. By this I mean this highly distinctive style. I found it unnatural. I did not mean “black man in a suit.” That I find unworthy of notice or comment.

    Is that really such a hard concept to grasp?

    For the record, it’s not about “can,” nor is it about “should.” It’s about what I have seen in my environment. Heck, I can’t even recall the last time I saw, in real life and not on-line, someone else wearing a club collar or a pinned collar, or even a three-piece suit. Imagine that in Kasual Kalifornia!

    In response to your query, I live in a smallish conurbation–definitely not rural. I put on a jacket and tie every day for work. Few of my co-workers do, though, and I don’t see a lot of suits and ties even when I go elsewhere during the day.

    Imagine that in Kasual Kalifornia!

  33. ScoobyDubious | March 2, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    @Henry rewrites:

    “SPECIFIC STYLING in the photo CC used for this post. I have never seen a black man dressed like this. By this I mean this highly distinctive style. I found it unnatural. I did not mean “black man in a suit.”


    Yes Henry…but that’s NOT what you originally wrote now, is it?
    Everyone here can go back and read exactly what you wrote. Just because you decide afterwards to CHANGE what you said and add modifiers to soften your statements, doesn’t change what you originally wrote.

    Now whether you just failed to effectively communicate your ideas the first time around…or whether you actually said what you really meant the first time is for the individual to determine. I know what I still think.

    I live in California as well Henry.

    BTW…I notice that you’re going off about race again in the comments section of the Hilfiger vs. BB article. Just coincidence I’m sure.

  34. ScoobyDubious | March 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm |


    Seems to me that this quote from you is pretty straightforward:

    “As an adult, I have seen very few black men wearing suits and ties. I think this is for two reasons: small sample size, and (apparent) lack of popularity of suits among the black men I do see.”


    Nothing in there about specificity of suit style whatsoever. I didn’t misread anything. Go back and see if i ever called you “racist”, or “bigot”.
    I did not. So…methinks the lady doth protest too much.

    You confirmed exactly what I said. That’s not a crime…that’s just who you are. Obviously we have different daily interactions with humanity.

  35. Christian | March 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    Save it for the English, Scooby.

  36. ScoobyDubious | March 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm |


    It’s all there. No need to elaborate.

    But….we all know that the English were contemplating taking the side of the Confederacy.

    True dat.

  37. I live in a small suburban community near Pittsburgh, PA. I will say that anyone dressed as sharply as the model would be looked at with amusement in my neck of the woods, regardless of ethnic background. As a county seat, even with lawyers running about, people are just not used to elegant clothes.

    I am a retired CPA. My uniform of choice has always been blue blazer, khaki pants, and a button down shirt and tie. Comfortable, casual and dressy at the same time. Once I bought a DB blue blazer, a beautiful item. I wore that blazer a number of times, and never received negative treatment, people just seemed to be amused by the foppishness, especially with a bow tie. The same applies to a seersucker suit, which I have always admired, but would never wear. Last summer I saw a fellow wearing a straw fedora, and I have to admit, he looked very odd in our t-shirt, ball cap society.

    Race has nothing to do with it. Cheers!

  38. Scoobs,

    You still have a problem with reading comprehension, don’t you?

    I was addressing two separate issues. Is that a hard concept to grasp?

    True, my first comment was borderline laconic. Even so, CC and DC Lawyer were able to grasp it, which suggests that the problem lies someplace other than my terseness.

    And I only brought up race in the BB vs. Hilfiger thread because others raised their ugly, anti-white attitudes.

    Have fun!

  39. ScoobyDubious | March 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm |


    uh-huh. whatever you say.

    I’m never called you a racist (although others here have….) but it’s worth noting that many racists never think that they are racists. That’s kinda the root of their problem.

    Not you, of course…

  40. Wallace Hainault | March 4, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    W.E.B. DuBois wore suits like this as a natural part of his Yankee essence.

  41. what a suit should look like… and i just scored a vintage one, same shape, from goodwill…. “Vaughn at Sather Gate” an old berkeley clothier i think..so satisfying..i paid for the tailoring but worth it…

  42. Wallace,

    But so did many other people at that time. It’s not incongruous in that context.


    Define “racist.”

    A major problem is that most people’s definition is so broad as to include someone who acknowledges that different races exist. If that’s the case, then only white liberals aren’t “racist,” and everyone else–including blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and all other minorities, as well as a very small subset of white conservatives–are “racist.”

    Which makes it a ludicrous definition.

    P.S.: I admire your ability to call me a “racist” without ever actually saying so. Gives you plausible deniability.

  43. “As an adult, I have seen very few black men wearing suits and ties”

    Wow! There’s a black man who happens to be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES who wears a suit everyday!

    Give me a break!

  44. Um, Will? Have you been paying attention?

    Obama is one man, and–here’s the kicker–he frequently goes tieless.

    You have not shown my statement to be false.

  45. I think we’d all agree that in our modern day, far fewer men wear suits and ties than they did in the past. However, what almost no one seems willing to acknowledge is that suit-wearing is even more uncommon among blacks than whites.

    This is a statement of fact. That is now what I’m trying to get at: establishing facts. Here’s one: where I live, few men wear suits. Here’s another: where I live, virtually none of the black men I see wear suits.

    Why is that so hard to accept?

    I think I know why. It seems that no one (except me, of course) is willing to say–or even think–anything that makes blacks “look bad.” Or perhaps it’s that no one want to be a “bad” person for noticing a difference between blacks and whites.

    By the way, I’m not even making a judgment–just stating facts!

    Based on what you actually see in the world around you, can anyone honestly say that suit-wearing among black men is common? Clearly it’s not. So what is so awful about stating this glaringly obvious fact?

    Of course, part of the problem is that we have people like Will who have no concept of logic or statistics. I could probably say to Will something like “on average, men are taller than women,” and like a proper nominalist, he would respond, “but I know a woman who’s taller than I am!”

    Here’s the problem: an exception to a statistical trend does not falsify that trend. Unfortunately, nominalists can’t see that. They can’t see groups; all they see are arbitrary collections of individuals.

    I’m guessing that Scooby is also a nominalist, which would be entirely unsurprising, as most moderns are.

    But I digress.

  46. Old School Tie | February 28, 2020 at 5:00 am |

    Ah, uncle Ralphy….I bought three very nice lambswool pullovers last year, lovely soft hand and superb colours, two crew necks and a v-neck. Very slightly roomy, just how I like them, yet after a few days of wear they seem to shrink. Shorter body length, shorter sleeves, smaller chest. Shrunk, just by wearing them. Unbelievable.

  47. Old School Tie

    May I suggest cutting back on the cheese? ;0P



  48. Well. I dunno. The kids in the ‘jazz studies’ department at local college seem to prefer dashikis and berets…and no socks, of course. Please excuse me if I find these things mildly amusing. That’s not going to change.
    As for the cover photo, that suit looks like it would be very warm if worn indoors. The model is typically tall and skinny, but the suit appears to be not ridiculously high and tight.

  49. cont’d,
    That is a British country suit, not particularly Ivy nor Preppy. In 2011 the British trend of the early 2000’s continued. I believe this was due to the internet explosion upon which the Saville Row merchants were dominant.

  50. Wasp-waisted jacket and tight pants: Ivy?

  51. In the long list under “Clothing” at the site, suits are 3rd from the bottom and t-shirts are 3rd from the top.

  52. Brent Gunsalus | February 28, 2020 at 12:54 pm |

    I think the suit is quite nice and looks great with the pinned club collar. In addition to wishing that I were as tall and slim as the model, I wish that RL offered something more like this today.

    I have a very similar 2-piece, 3/2 herringbone suit that I bought at the end-of-season sale at the Polo flagship around 2000 when everything was something like 60% off. Mine is darted with double vents, but the same exact shade of brown. It is the softest wool tweed I own and I usually wear it with brown suede brogues, a brushed wool and cotton Tattersall shirt, wool or madder tie, and sometimes a lamb suede vest from Brooks Brothers. As noted above by friend Bopper, it is something of an English look, but not all that far from the 30s and 40s version of Ivy sold by Brooks Brothers, albeit with a slimmer cut. The BB ads from that pre-heyday era seem to emphasize the British pedigree. It is supposed to be cold this weekend, so maybe I will break it out and wear it with a pinned club collar and cordovan derbies for a change.

  53. I think one could make the argument that in terms of tailoring silhouette, and the actual fact of his suits being by Corneliani and other italian makers, that Ralph represents a kind of Italian preppy–a sort of midway point between the old ivy makers even at their most aggressive, close-to-the-body/wallpaper attempts and mainstream italian tailoring of the sort that established, for example, a James Bond in italian suits look and shops for younger men decades ago who wanted something that appeared more youthful than the more conservative, establishment shops.

  54. Isn’t Hickey Freeman making most of the RL tailored clothing? Watch, by the way, as Hickey Freeman becomes the go-to source for trad suits, blazers, and jackets. You heard it here first…or maybe second.

    The jacket in the picture looks great. Fuller fit, natural shoulders, and long lines. Take a look at the J. Press jackets and blazers featured in Heyday-era brochures– the length. Looks like Squeeze never succumbed to the short-and-tapered silhouette that defined a lot of Main Street Ivy.

  55. ^the 60s and 80s were definitely the closest from the legit ivy purveyors but I think Ralph’s tailoring was trimmer. perhaps someone else with firsthand knowledge could weigh in… i personally don’t like the narrow lapels of 60s versions or contemporary high street fashion/its savile row imitators

    hickey freeman is good quality if they can get the silhouette right.

    the press silhouette in the late 50s/early 60s photos does look the most sacklike or lacking trimness, and the 40s brooks windows make their sack suits look like penguins

  56. ^i thought purple label was corneliani but it’s been well over a decade since i’ve been in one of their stores

  57. Michael Stratford | February 29, 2020 at 10:58 am |

    For those tyros who didn’t understand S.E.’s reference. Here’s the link to the 1961 Squeeze brochure. All one has to do is scroll down.

  58. Michael Stratford
    Thanks for the link. Note the jackets are long enough to cover one’s ass. I often wear 501s when buying a jacket or suit. If my 501 back pockets show in a three way mirror the jacket is too short. I also always wear Weejuns when purchasing trousers, if the length looks good in Weejuns they will look good with laced shoes. To each his own.

    That gentleman in the RL suit looks like a million. RL at his best. Comfort may vary depending on the ambient temperature of the work place. Ban fracking and a suit like that would sell like hot cakes. 😉

  59. you could make a case what Ralph did was closer to this, while democratizing it


  60. Queen Victoria was perhaps the original preppy of this sort

  61. MacMcConnell | February 29, 2020 at 4:05 pm |

    Ivy was democratized long before Ralph got involved. You can bet Ralph did research over the decades poring over old catalogs, magazines, film and more to get “inspiration”. Even when he did his western ware decades ago the original fabrics were researched.

    RL still does some great stuff, but much is off the rails.

  62. Mac, you should write a piece about your try-on rituals. Those are pretty helpful.

  63. MacMcConnell | February 29, 2020 at 9:50 pm |

    I write so badly no one would know what I’m trying to communicate. Public schools! I never go shopping without bring along my own tape and chalk. I only let a sales person mark my trousers is when I’m buying a new brand. For example, I bought some kaks from O’Connells over the net. I had my alteration gal mark the waist and length, she did the job. Since then, I chalk the waist, tell her the inseam with 1-1/2 cuff. If I shop in a men’s shop and the brand is familiar, I just chalk it and hand it to the salesman. Jackets aren’t that hard to chalk, but you have to have a three way mirror. It drives the salesmen nuts.

  64. Vern Trotter | March 1, 2020 at 12:47 pm |

    A piece on try-on rituals would be interesting and amusing. At the late Filene’s Basement in downtown Boston, women would try-on standing in the aisles due to the customer crowd. My daughter would wear her gym outfit instead of underclothes.

  65. Button down collars | September 5, 2021 at 1:48 am |

    Interesting how heated the comment thread got above… For context sometimes a “suit” refers to a 3 piece suit. Chris Modoo of Kit Blake spoke in a podcast about a “Proper British Suit” having 4 pieces, a jacket, waistcoat and two pairs of trousers, one with double front pleats and one with flat fronts, quite naturally both rest on the waist (high rise) and are self supporting. A 2 piece suit is a modern definition of the word suit in a Menswear context, and technically is a newer idea.

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