The History Of The Rugby Shirt

Written by Marc | 19/08/2016



Other Sports

The rugby shirt, shockingly, originated from the game of rugby. Players used to play the game in a white button-down shirt, white trousers and a bow tie. Naturally, after several games, it was decided this look wasn’t quite right for the game. An alternative had to be found.

It took a couple of years for the gentlemen of the sport to accept the change. They finally hung up their tweed blazers. But, when they did the rugby shirt was an instant success, and very little has changed in its design since then.

Rugby 1


The first rugby shirts were made from thick cotton. This was so they would withstand the tough game and not rip in the scrum. Short collars were added to the shirt with rubber buttons so they couldn’t be grabbed hold of and the buttons wouldn’t scrape a player’s face.

Rugby shirts are still prominent today and are now welcomed in the world of fashion. Originally, all rugby shirts would have horizontal stripes on them to signify a team’s colours. A deal was made with football teams at the time which stated rugby would use horizontal stripes, whilst football shirts would use vertical stripes.

Nowadays, professional rugby shirts come in all different styles and designs. Very few still use the horizontal stripes or hooped look. Many have developed their own style like New Zealand is the ‘all blacks’. However, in fashion, the traditional look of hooped rugby shirts is still prevalent.

It was in the 1950s when people began wearing rugby shirts off the field on a mass scale. The first to start the trend was the fans, it being an easy way to associate with the sport without actually playing rugby.

Rugby shirts started off emulating a preppy style, similar to that of polo shirts breaking into the fashion industry. Now, big brands like Ralph Lauren and Gant sell rugby shirts in their collections, with numerous different designs, styles and colours on offer.


Rugby 3

Rugby 2


The rugby shirt can be worn with pretty much anything. They work well with both jeans and chinos, but can also be worn with an Oxford style shirt underneath. They are a very versatile piece of fashion, and much to popular belief, are not restricted to dad fashion.

When worn well, the rugby shirt will look very stylish, and the bold block colours or striped design is eye-catching and will really brighten up a dull outfit. Rugby shirts are generally long-sleeved in fashion; however short sleeved styles are also available.

Mainline Menswear sells rugby shirts, and polo shirts matching the rugby shirt style. If you want to browse our extensive collection, visit our website here and bring the rugby shirt back into your wardrobe.

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