Yes, rugby shirts are in fashion – just make it clear you’re wearing it that way

Last Updated: June 15, 2024By

The Rise of the Rugby Shirt: A Casual Chic Revolution


Move over, Breton top; there’s a new kid on the block in 2024, and it’s none other than the rugby shirt. Picture this: instead of your classic navy and white striped tee, envision Prince William back in his St. Andrews days, rocking that contrast white collar like a pro. But hold your horses, I’m not entirely serious here. I might be exaggerating a tad for effect, so no need to break into a sweat just yet. Forget about those freshman shenanigans or rugby showdowns at Twickenham. Let’s steer our thoughts towards a different scene – think more along the lines of David Hockney sporting a pink and blue rugby shirt with some casually faded green trousers.

And hey, it’s not just the royals and art icons getting in on the action. Even style mavens like Diana, Princess of Wales, and Chloë Sevigny, that actress who’s got an Oscar nom under her belt and a knack for always looking fab, are jumping on the rugby shirt bandwagon. According to Sevigny, it’s all about the warmth, ease, and laid-back vibe of these shirts. “It’s like wearing a cozy sweatshirt, but fancier. I mean, it’s got a collar!” she spilled to Harper’s Bazaar last year.

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, the rugby shirt is having a major fashion moment, seamlessly sliding into that casual corner of your closet where the Breton top used to reign supreme. Sevigny gets it – the Breton was the go-to for chill weekends when clothes hugged a bit tighter. Now, enter the rugby shirt, perfect for today’s fashion vibe where we’re all about sporty threads, slightly oversized fits, and the classic charm of a crisp white collar.


The resurgence of the rugby shirt isn’t confined to the rugby pitch. Its newfound popularity is spreading like wildfire from the streets of New York to the cool corners of Los Angeles and Copenhagen. Now, as far as I know, rugby isn’t exactly the national sport in the US or Denmark, which might explain why this garment is shedding its old associations with class divides and dude-bro vibes. Instead, it’s reinventing itself as a chic, effortless piece you’d happily throw on for a lazy Saturday morning or a casual pub night.

But hold your horses! Before we go any further, let’s pause for a quick word.

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Now, back to business. This ain’t your typical sweat-it-out-on-the-field kind of sporty. We’re talking about a preppy, laid-back vibe here – think looking effortlessly cool as you lounge on the grass, maybe with shades on, sipping a refreshing drink. Sure, you might muster up the energy to cheer on your team now and then, but that’s about as strenuous as it gets. And let’s not forget, the fashion-forward rugby shirt is made of sturdy cotton, not exactly ideal for a marathon sprint. You’d risk breaking a sweat in no time.

Now, let’s set the record straight on a few things. No shorts. No sweatbands. We’re not going for a full-on scrum here. And to elevate this casual staple, you’ll want to pair it with something a tad more polished. White jeans are a safe bet – relaxed yet refined. But don’t sleep on the versatility of that collar; it plays well with smarter bottoms too. I’ve even spotted it rocking a pencil skirt on my front row adventures lately. So, here’s a handy rule of thumb: if it works with a Breton top, chances are it’ll work just as well with a rugby shirt.

When it comes to these shirts, worn and weathered beats brand-spanking-new any day. Pay attention to the collar, though – a crisp white one is key. And for the best finds, hit up those vintage stores. You might just stumble upon a gem from the ’90s by Tommy Hilfiger or Abercrombie, still in mint condition. Consider it a fashion victory, my friends.

Model: Cynthia at Milk. Styling assistant: Sam Deaman. Hair and makeup: Sophie Higginson using Sam McKnight and Tom Ford beauty. Rugby shirt: Rowing Blazers

Casual Chic: The Rugby Shirt Revolution

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