Rugged & Refined

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Mitchell for this piece on Lauren. You can read more of his work by following the links in the article.

Uncle Ralph was kind enough to add my name to a V.I.P.-only email newsletter called the “Polo Gazzette” and my first impression was that Mr. Lauren had read my mind (or at least his team of designers had read my posts).

The inaugural edition included ivy caps (which I wrote about here:, worn with classic tailored menswear: a look they dubbed “tough and refined”.

Hot on the heels of Grandpacore (which I wrote about here:, the genius that is Ralph Lauren is pivoting from flou (feminine) streetwear and athleisure towards a classic tailleuse (tailored), masculine silhouette.

The first edition of the Polo Gazzette threw this lowly menswear geek into a tizzy: diverse images of men of all ages wearing ivy caps, bow ties, waxed cotton hunting jackets, sweater vests (Grandpacore again), boots, and even a recipe for a cocktail called a Top Hat.

Say goodbye to post-Covid grey athleisure worn over Zoom meetings. Say goodbye to androgynous, cheugy European designer streetwear (*cough* Gucci). Say goodbye to effete country club members (picture Biff and Muffy) smugly sipping Gin and Tonics outside of a clubhouse straight out of a Slim Aarons photo.

As Bob Dylan wrote, “the times they are a changin’” and the menswear pendulum appears to be swinging back towards rugged masculinity. Think Steve McQueen riding a Triumph motorcycle in a white butttondown, cigarette dangling from his lips. Imagine young men from the 1930s racing motorcycles in ivy caps, sweater vests, bow ties and blue jeans; neck scarves flapping in the wind.

Menswear fashion runs in slow cycles and what was fashionable 100 years ago appears to be the new zeitgeist. Uncle Ralph’s latest collection is on the cutting edge of thecollective consciousness of classics-inspired contemporary menswear. Three cheers, gentlemen to the return of masculine elegance. Raise a toast to the new aesthetic (I know John hates that word), an aesthetic called “Rugged and Refined”!



1. Screenshots from Mitchell’s Gmail account

2. Steve McQueen: courtesy Getty Images

11 Comments on "Rugged & Refined"

  1. Didn’t St. Johns raise a stink about this masculinity thing a while back?

  2. Terry Garratt | January 23, 2024 at 11:25 am |

    I did a search and found links to five Polo Gazettes.

  3. MacMcConnell | January 23, 2024 at 3:14 pm |

    In what world did motorcycle racers wear ties while racing in the 1930s? Racers wore wool team jerseys and leather jackets with field boots and field pants. One will find racers in ties and tweeds posing with their bikes for the press. Granted motorcyclist using their bikes to commute wore normal street clothing of the time. Like the iconic McQueen image, riding in the city at low speeds. Ever tried to get dead bug parts out of an oxford shirt? FYI, McQuenn’s shirt isn’t a BD. Waxed poplin jackets and pants were tradionally produced for game keepers and motorcyclist.

    Bob Dylan and Steve McQueen both owned Triumphs.

    I agree with Ralph’s sort of return to the late 70s styles. Yes styles recycle. But, tennis, golf and polo might have been a better example than motorcycle racing of how things change in fashion.

    Thanks for the article, very good.

    • @MacMcConnell,

      Thank you for the kind words! This is my fourth piece for Ivy Style and I’m very grateful to John for the opportunity. I also did a Q & A with Bill Thomas from Bills Khakis. Be sure to support PennBilt, the world’s best khakis, made in Pennsylvania.

      I beg to differ with you, sir, but in the 30s motorcycle racers did indeed wear tweed, goggles, club collar shirts AND fine neckwear on the race track.

      I’ve included a link to a Ralph Lauren video on YouTube that has archival footage from the 30s:

  4. Gregory Carrara | January 23, 2024 at 7:48 pm |

    Am I the only one who cannot see a Steve McQueen picuture here?

  5. Gregory Carrara | January 23, 2024 at 7:49 pm |

    Sorry for the typo I meant picture…

  6. Jim. Somerset,England. | January 24, 2024 at 1:07 pm |

    Not enough tough masculinity in the world nowadays.
    To be applauded.

  7. MacMcConnell | January 24, 2024 at 2:35 pm |

    I do see a bunch of Ralph’s models wearing ties, sweaters and tweeds, but they are not motorcycle racers. I wore a three piece grey flannel suit to my mother’s funneral on my Bonneville. The church was a mile away and the Jeep was in the shop, I’m not a racer. I did wear gogles and a cap. I imagine T.E. Lawerce was wearing jacket and tie when he was killed riding his Brough Superior.

    Google “1930 motorcycle racers images”. You will notice most of the motorcycles are single or V-twin cylinder bikes. When Triumph and other motorcycle brands developed the parallel twin there was a debate. The question was, “Would any self respecting gentileman straddle bike that wide?”.

  8. Gregory Carrara | January 24, 2024 at 7:36 pm |

    Thank you for the pic of the king of cool!

Comments are closed.