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In our recent exploration of fall trends, we identified the best rugby shirts as a must-have seasonal staple. Perhaps this was a cop-out; rugby shirts are part of the perennial fall uniform blueprint. Heavy enough to keep those pecs and biceps free from brisk wind and dropping temps but easy enough to dodge any sort of bunching or weight that comes with lugging around a jacket, the style is worth its weight scrum-ready cotton and nautical stripes, a no-brainer for the transitional days ahead.
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What Is a Rugby Shirt?
The rugby shirt dates back to mid-nineteenth century England, incepted as a uniform for the newly christened eponymous sport. Traditionally crafted from tightly woven cotton and constructed to take a beating, the original rugby shirts were reinforced at the seams and sported rubber buttons and a heavier collar for added protection. The style transitioned to a cornerstone of academic and colligate casualwear in the U.K. and eventually America, cementing itself are a seminal style during the ’50s ivy craze.
This explains the tendency to think of collegiate-inspired rugbys featuring autumnal tones of burgundy, navy and gold (go team!), but there exists a wealth of reinvented styles from the likes of Noah and 18 East that lend themselves to a modern aesthetic while still managing to capture the preppy, Ivy League essence of the silhouette…and infusing some of the new vibes the style has co-opted from skate and street culture.
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These modern masterpieces function somewhere in the grey zone of chunky sweaters and elevated polos: considering the often heavier and more durable cotton used to construct the shirts, they’re a no-brainer for in-between temperatures, ideal for those days when you can go sans jacket but can’t quite enter short-sleeve territory.
By now, you should be fully sold on the merits of the best rugby shirts — if you’re still on the fence, check out a kitted-out Paul Mescal and be swayed. To streamline your transition into ivy-clad collegian, we’ve highlighted some of the best rugby shirts around. From timeless brands like Orvis and Brooks Brothers to fresh installations to the cannon by Connor McKnight and Rowing Blazers, find the best rugby shirts for men in 2023 below.
Best Rugby Shirts for Men in 2023:
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.