Rugby Ralph Lauren To Close In 2013

Yesterday WWD reported that Ralph Lauren plans to shutter its Rugby brand next year. That will include 14 stores as well as its e-commerce site.

It’s a disappointment for us here at Ivy Style: Rugby‘s blog has given us quite a few links (I even wrote for it a few times), and while the bulk of the clothing was overstyled fashion-prep, the brand did help keep alive the taste for Shetland sweaters and natural-shouldered three-button jackets for a new generation. — CC

41 Comments on "Rugby Ralph Lauren To Close In 2013"


  2. Boris Nofziger | November 3, 2012 at 10:38 am |

    Here’s the key: “the bulk of the clothing was overstyled fashion-prep”.

    I’m not losing any sleep over this, other than hoping the Chicago location doesn’t stay empty too long. But the brand was a parody of itself and it was pretty darn expensive, too, for something that’s going to look dated soon.

  3. Poor Richard.

  4. “The brand specializes in Preppy/Rugby inspired lifestyle apparel for male and female clientele ages 16 through 25. Rugby”.

    Now, Ralph Lauren can once again focus on clothing for adults.

  5. Main Line Trad | November 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm |


    Even their “adult” line features jackets that are too short and waist lines that are too low:

  6. Minimalist Trad | November 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    Can one hope that BB Flatiron will meet the same end?

  7. Orgastic future | November 4, 2012 at 1:54 am |

    Damn! I know a lot of you old “stuffies” are happy, but I loved Rugby’s stylish and optimistic take on a traditional style. Good style is using the whole box of crayons….not just the 2 your father used.

  8. I’m not old, or stuffy and I’m not surprised that Rugby has failed. I’m not going to celebrate people losing jobs, but the stuff is – largely – silly, hyperbolic junk….it’s like a neo-prep Halloween costume pop-up store.

    I always felt from day one that Rugby pulled down the RL brand (in many ways: quality, price, image, branding, age bracket, etc). There just isn’t a large enough market – thank god – for this sort of forced, poorly executed, overexposed faux “preppy” stuff…..this news proves that point.

  9. Minimalist Trad | November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |

    @Orgastic future:

    Re: “Good style is using the whole box of crayons….not just the 2 your father used.”

    Using the whole box is fashion, not style.

  10. This budding debate would step up a notch if you guys opted not to speak metaphorically.

  11. We can expect a rise in urban crime once the Rugby cafe is closed.

  12. I think Rugby would have done far better if they had stuck to the basics and marginalized their fashion items. I once found a season-end sale at a Polo outlet store and ended up having to sift through piles of contrast-micro-club-collar burgundy and navy striped oxfords. The average male thinks that a plain collared shirt is “dressy,” so why would they decide to wear a full costume? The bloggers who did opt to drape themselves in the vagaries of Rugby weren’t plentiful enough to keep the brand going alone.

    On the other hand, I did enjoy the three or four items I did get from them (on steep discount).

  13. Orgastic future | November 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

    @ Minimalist Trad:

    Style is essentially the expression of creativity. And while I do appreciate the Ivy affectation of the almighty Blue Blazer, chinos and weejuns, I like brands that allow room for alternate expressions of tried and true staples such as “Ivy.” I don’t think that Rugby was meant to be a flawed caricature of the “Ivy/Prep” culture. I believe it was meant to enhance the basic template that so many of us love and maintain. And let’s be honest…Rugby wasn’t designed to be marketed to the assembly line, factory bread purveyors of all thing Ivy in the first place. Being mad at Rugby for what it did to Ivy or prep is as useless as being mad at Andy Warhol for his take on expressionism.

  14. Rugby was a very exciting line to me. While I didnt like everything they put out, I can say that about every brand you can name. This decision leaves a humongous void in my choices for quality clothing.
    I am very disappointed.

  15. sucks for the people who work there and neighborhoods that lose businesses. . .

  16. Speaking as a student on a budget, Rugby was pretty awesome (they had a 10% student discount.) For a long while they made brand-less button down shirts at half the price of Brooks (or Polo) and a far more traditional cut (e.g. wider collars) than J.Crew. Their jeans were fantastic, skinny, but not stupidly skinny.

    My greatest complaint were their chinos, which were poorly made (every pair I owned eventually ripped at the crotch,) but honestly the shirts alone made the brand worthwhile.

    Was most of their stuff ridiculous (especially in how it copied British Public Schools)? Sure. But until, in the past year, they started adding the Skull and Crossbones logo to everything, I never regretted a trip to their store.

  17. Rugby cannibalized Polo.

  18. Co-signs Andrew B. Rugby was pretty decent right up until it slapped a gothic style “R” on everything. That was the moment I severely stopped buying Rugby.

    I had always felt that Rugby was Ralph Lauren’s Abercrombie & Fitch moment.

  19. Rugby is this generation’s parachute pants and Members Only jackets. People got all duded up looking like this back in the 80’s as well with the neon, etc. They took some normal clothing and went outrageous.

    Can’t wait for this Pee Wee Herman look to be gone.

  20. For me the quality just didn’t stack up with the cost of the clothes. The London RL Rugby branch hasn’t even been open for 12 months. The UK brand Jack Wills is also shutting down its Aubin and Wills shops which peddled a similar retro hip collegiate line to that of Rugby. This over stylised preppy stuff has had it’s day, generally the sort of people who have been buying it are the type who will soon move onto something else anyway.

  21. I am sorry to see Rugby close. Rugby had an excellent selection of very nice batwing bowties at a reasonable price.

  22. Rugby had a lot of quality items, and the pricing was not that extravagant. Yes it was pricier than whatever the normal college kid is into – but for those of us who loved the aesthetics of Rugby, it was great. They even had Caruso making the suits for a few seasons, which is pretty damn good (although half-canvassed, for the price was decent)

    There was always a path to avoid the patches/logo emblazoned items, obviously many items were garish, but the core of the brand was cut slimmer for the skinnier folk, and was relatively comparable quality to Polo RL. Sad to see it go, since its not easy finding PRL in 36R, or XS sizes. I’ve never paid too much at Rugby, always ended up being the same amount I would have spent at PRL. I agree with Soren, Rugby was much better without a defining logo, let the brand be its flaring self, the Gothic R was not creative and rather a bold cop-out to why the brand existed in the first place – a rebellious little offspring to Polo that dressed itself in all types of logos/patches/emblems etc…

    There was no mention of Rugby failing in business or losing money in the earnings call, rather just a consolidation of a brand that was not moving forward at the expected rate, and refocus on the core brand and market. What was odd is that they mentioned D&S and Club Monaco as what they were hoping to focus on to bridge into the gap that Rugby leaves behind (paraphrasing), and I really think that is a bad excuse.

    In any case, I’ll be back to PRL, and probably dipping myself into Gant Rugger as well. I will miss me the flare of Rugby, but I guess its time to grow up.

  23. My Rugby piece is my partially lined linen-blend tweed herringbone jacket, great for the warmer climate of where I am. I can tell you from working at a Ralph Lauren store that, up close, the jacket had to have been woven off of the same machines as Ralph tweed herringbone. It was identical to a women’s jacket we had. Except the price point was lower. Sad day indeed.

  24. I have looked at D & S and Club Monaco but not much quality of design or manufacture there-Rugby was much better quality; Rugby looked like after the mfr produced the PoloRL Blue Label they would produce Rugby using the same factories. Note that the Rugby bowties were made in Italy sometimes of the same or similar fabric as PoloRL but on different patterns. If Rugby had had size patterns more like A Living Blue Label, I would have bought shirts there too.

  25. Just ordered 3 bow ties from!

  26. Dickey Greenleaf | November 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm |

    The Ralph Lauren Rugby brand, was very waspy, in it’s attempt to advertise, I think this is the reason the brand suffered from sales, because it didn’t appeal to the average prep kind of guy or girl. Waspy types like you Chris, probably enjoyed writting about these particular style of clothes, because it is in line with your kind of mannerism(no offense Chris) when comming down to wit, style, and language, which from another standpoint didn’t crossover the lines of communication very well, and this is the reason for the debacle. In my attempt to besmirch you, furthermore I hope to congradulate you on another successful year here at Ivy-style. Cheers big fella, except use a non-alcoholic beverage when consuming.

  27. Minimalist Trad | November 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

    @Orgastic future

    Re: “I do appreciate the Ivy affectation of the almighty Blue Blazer, chinos and weejuns…”

    Not an affectation at all sir; they constitute the essence of Ivy.

  28. I think they blurred the lines between Polo and Rugby designs to save on cost. I found many Rugby shirts with patches of The Alps, non-rugged apparel (but clean and too preppy). Sometimes you couldn’t tell whah was Rugby or Polo. My

  29. Rugbyz quality is amazing if you don’t like the bold colors the good quality of the clothing then you couldn’t afford it that simple. Rugby was keep ralh Lauren alive they even created a denium supply because the younger generation loved it so much. If you ask me they should close down denium and supply and club Monaco they aren’t making as much money as rugby did.

  30. What if Abercrombie buys rugby ?

  31. It is a shame Rugby closed. The jeans were well made and the vintage slim cut were proportioned beautifully. Very good quality… I have washed my Rugby jeans hundreds of times and still kickin!
    Loved the country themed Rugby’s and many of the accessories, including Rugby Swiss Army knives and cufflinks were 2nd to none… Plus the decor of the Rugby SF store was unbelievable designed…

  32. This is a calamity. I loved the little skull and crossbones logos on the shirt, I wish I would have found out about this sooner!

  33. Rugby was a mixed of things, old school Ralph Lauren( which is always a good thing) a corny take on english and american prep culture but in a strange way , Fun!.. some items were very classy, over priced yes and overdone with all the insignias, but what isn’t? , With any clothing line you have to pick and chose the good and the bad .Rugby would compete with J. Press, Andover shop, Ben Silver on some levels but check out their prices. the key to style sometimes is to mix and match the old and the new . I have worn Rugby pieces with items in my closet 20 years old. made in China , yes, but the stores had a good feel and the workers were excited and fun too. Ralph Lauren , as always tries something new, I am glad he tried Rugby, I always get compliments when I wear an article of clothing from the rugby line, some folks just look and smile or just look, who knows what their thinking, but that’s Mr.Lauren, always making the public take notice and think. Will miss Rugby, I wonder what coming from Mr. lauren next?

    peace, TerryT.

  34. terry T
    First, I must qualify myself. I’ve never been in a Rugby store or bought Rugby. I do not know about the quality of Rugby, construction or fit. I only know what I’ve seen on Rugby’s web site.
    Other than the crest and emblems, something Ralph started with a vengeance in the 1980s, you are right in my opinion, “Rugby was a mixed of things, old school Ralph Lauren( which is always a good thing)”. We lost our Polo Shop in Kansas City about a decade ago, now I find very few “old school Polo” items on Polo’s web pages.

  35. I was very sad to see this close, I really appreciated the aesthetic and own a few pieces. Luckily Brooks Brothers has a similar style in the Flat Iron Store concept. The Red Fleece Line which is what they call it has great classic prep pieces with a modern twist. Guess I will solely be shopping there going forward.

  36. GLAD they got rid of it

  37. Still depressed over Rugby closing. RL is too stuffy and most of the items don’t have modern cuts. Guess we’ll have to wait for someone else to capitalize on the market

  38. Looking at some Rugby pieces i cant buy makes me so sad. I’m a 15 Year old Girl from Germany asking myself where i can get clothes, looking like the pieces from Rugby Ralph Lauren.
    Especially for girls i can’t find rugby shirts, scarves, Baseball caps and Blazers as goodlooking as the Rugby’s… Has anyone any suggestions for me where to Shop? Or will there being a New brand with such great clothes? Sure, the basics like shirts and polos from Polo Ralph Lauren are great, but there are no rugby shirts for Girls and the Blazers are too “Old” for me. And the scarves from Rugby were so wonderful…..

  39. Gloria, if you haven’t, check out RL boys department. A size 20 boys is equivalent to a size 8 womens.

  40. Have a collection of well-taken care of, if not mint condition, in good condition RUGBY to sell. If interested email me at and I will forward you all the pictures I’ve taken. Will be posting them up for sell; SIZE IS SMALL (men). I took really good care of them being that I was crazy over Rugby. Only reason I’m selling is because I’m redoing my wardrobe.

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