Three years later, we’re still mourning the loss of Ralph Lauren’s elaborate sister brand: Rugby by Ralph Lauren. Not that we want to be wearing it, but we’d like the option should a party with a theme of 2002 come up.
The brand catered to those under 25, but the only people who actually wore Rugby were much younger. Think Middle School elite. Nothing said I’m cool, hot and twelve like a tie print blazer and skirt to match. Rugby’s success and failure hinged on the idea that people would actually want to wear clothing inspired by collegiate athletics, the Ivy League and everything preppy, but unfortunately the people wearing Rugby were neither involved in collegiate athletics or the Ivy League. They were twelve.
Now that all of Rugby’s clientele is old enough to know better, we can look back fondly at the questionable outfit choices they made possible. Uncomfortably thick orange and purple polos, ruffled baby blue dresses and outfits entirely embroidered with tiny sculls. Newsboy hats with pins and plaid socks and scarves, all at once. Rugby didn’t fuck around with understated. They weren’t about it.
The definition of an off-duty preteen (not that they were ever on duty) was a suction tight striped Rugby polo and intentionally mismatched madras skirt, size 00 because puberty was still a year or two away. At its height Rugby had fourteen stores across the world, staffed by Marissa Cooper wannabes and buff metrosexual men.
When the brand shut down in 2012, we didn’t really notice because most people stopped wearing Rugby a long time ago. But now that we realize it actually closed for good, we're a little sad. RIP Rugby.