Rugby shirts, a sportswear icon, are enjoying a resurgence in modern men’s fashion.
No longer limited to the image of the ’90s preppy in wide-legged jeans and bold, blocky stripes, these shirts have evolved to form an intriguing juxtaposition of retro style, urban chic, and sporty comfort.
This guide will explore innovative ways to wear men’s rugby shirts while maintaining a cool, modern vibe.
Understanding the Rugby Shirt
Rugby shirts stem from the uniforms used in the sport of rugby. They are identified by their robust build, contrasting collars, and bold horizontal stripes. The current men’s fashion landscape, particularly streetwear, is experiencing a revival of late ’90s and early 2000s styles, leading to a resurgence of the rugby shirt.
The Rugby Shirt: A History and Design
The rugby shirt has its roots in the mid-19th century. The early versions of this shirt were thick, constructed out of heavy-gauge cotton with short collars and rubber buttons. This design proved effective on the pitch as the material was durable, buttons didn’t easily fall off, and collars weren’t easy to grab hold of. Eventually, stripes were added to the shirt, serving as a visual means of distinguishing one team from another.
Modern Interpretations and Materials
The traditional rugby shirt has evolved significantly over time, largely due to changes in sportswear design focusing on performance and comfort. Modern rugby shirts typically have thin, stretchy polyester and elastane combinations that offer breathability, sweat-wicking properties, and superior tear resistance. Nevertheless, the iconic striped cotton rugby shirt continues to hold its place in casual wear.
Ways to Wear a Rugby Shirt
- Casual and Cool: Rugby shirts are statement pieces with their bold, contrasting shades and color-blocking. Pairing a rugby shirt with neutral-colored chinos or straight-cut mid-to-dark-wash denim creates a modern, everyday look. Finish it off with lace-up boots or solid-color sneakers, and for transitional seasons, consider a black or navy bomber or a denim jacket.
- Athleisure Vibes: Considered one of the earliest examples of athleisure, rugby shirts can be paired with trendy jogger pants for a comfortable yet stylish ensemble. As joggers evolve beyond their gym-class roots, a rugby shirt adds an athletic yet chic touch. Stick with neutral joggers to let the stripes of the rugby shirt stand out, and complete the look with solid-color kicks like Stan Smith or Vans.
- Streetwear Style: In the streetwear scene, rugby shirts have carved their niche with unique color-blocking, large logos, and sometimes even embroidery. They’re now seen as the high-end, upgraded version of the ’90s. Make a statement by pairing them with a varsity jacket, wide-legged pants, and don’t shy away from a cap and kicks. For added nostalgia, consider basketball shoes, a bucket hat, or a puffer jacket with a large logo for colder days.
Rugby shirts, with their striking design and comfortable construction, have proven to be versatile, spanning from the athletic field to the streetwear scene. They allow you to inject retro sporty charm into your wardrobe while maintaining a modern edge. So, whether you’re a sports fan or a fashion enthusiast, try the rugby shirt and make it a statement piece in your outfit repertoire.