Rugby Shirts: Popular Tops for Versatile Outfit Combos

Athleisure may not be the example you think of when you envision a stylish and chic outfit, but there are some items, like rugbys, that are sporty yet come with an elegant allure to easily elevate even the most ordinary of your outfits. Even though they originated back in the 1800s in England, mainly worn as uniforms for the sport in striking stripes to make them noticeable on the field and distinguished between different teams, they kept a stylish aesthetic spreading beyond the world of sport.

Rugbys with their long-sleeved, stiff collar, and button-neck elements, despite being sportier than the classy polos, are a nice option if you want to take your casual/athleisure attire to the next level without actually going too much away from your taste or comfort zone.

Why Are Rugby Shirts Popular?

close up of a rugby shirt


They’ve got a vintage vibe, that’s at the same time modern, both of which are aspects that appeal to the preppies. This appeal among the prep world goes back to the 1950s when classic preppy wardrobe revolved around this fashion staple. Durable, flexible, and most of all comfortable, what more could you wish for out of a stylish top?

Not surprisingly, many brands have started creating their form of fancy rugby tops in versatile fabrics, sizes, designs, and colourways, further resulting in the growing popularity of these clothing items. Among these, you have various well-known names in the Australian fashion scene, including RM Williams, Thomas Cook, Wrangler, and Ringers Western, all greats in the fashion-forward country style.

What makes them so special, despite the simple outlook, is the fact they make you look put-together without even trying hard. You’d be in great company choosing to wear them, as some famous names like Diana, Princess of Wales, Mick Jagger, David Hockney, Hailey Bieber, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Gigi Hadid, among others, already sported them.

Moreover, in addition to being the perfect fit for the sports environment, specifically the pitch, the fact these chic tops have made it into the world of fashion, all the way to the runways, makes them clothing options you can easily incorporate into your dressier outfits too. This means when you choose to invite a top such as this to your wardrobe, you open up a world of possibilities for creating outfit combinations, including more formal ones.

As long as your work environment is more flexible with the dress codes, you can seamlessly introduce your choice of rugby tops into your daily work attire. This is true for men and women alike, as clothing retailers have plenty of options to offer for both. Some rugbys today even come without the stripes, and in most lightweight and breathable fabrics, so you can find the perfect option and the perfect fit.

How to Style Your Rugby Tops?

friends wear different rugby shirts


As the versatile clothes they are, rugby shirts provide you with various options with styling, depending on your occasion and the setting. To give you some ideas:

Try a Casual Look

As they have a casual/sporty aesthetic, you’d have no trouble coming up with the most stylish casual outfits. A piece of advice is to pick the relaxed or regular fit if you’re more into a casual rather than a sports aesthetic. Your favourite pair of straight-cut, loose-fitting jeans and white sneakers combo is the perfect match for a rugby jersey of your choice. In case you’re more into rocking country style, these tops are also a great option as you can have fun combining them with your cowboy boots, creating your own iconic country outfit.

Wider pants and jeans are another option if you’re aiming for a more retro appeal, which also happens to be the ideal bottoms for streetwear ensembles. As far as layering goes, it’s easy to match your rugbys with a denim jacket for when the weather gets cold and you need a layer extra to keep you warm. They’re just as easily paired with varsity jackets for a more high-school look. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with the accessories either, as caps like snapbacks, and bucket hats are equally stylish picks.

Mix Them in a Sporty Ensemble

They started out in the world of sports, so it’s no surprise they still happen to be a sporty option for your athleisure days. This is particularly true for the performance fit which is super slim and made for the sports environment. Shorts as much as jogger pants are some examples of bottoms you can style them up with. If you’re afraid of the slim aesthetic for it being too revealing of your body shape, however, you could just as easily pair these bottoms with a regular or relaxed fit rugby top.

Spice Up a Formal Look

Want to show off your playful side with the formal look, without going overboard with the casual vibe? Leave it up to the rugby sweater to do its job. It’s unrefined yet refined at the same time, perfect to be matched with a little dressier pants, like chinos, shoes like oxfords, and a layer like an eye-catching blazer. Great for an evening look, as well as a corporate or after work party outfit.