The story of the Rugby shirt begins in the late 1800s. Shortly after the rules of the game were formed and Rugby was beginning to take off there was a requirement for some way to tell teams apart from one another. The earliest uniforms were shirts worn with white trousers and a bow tie. Not the most practical attire.
The rugby shirt evolved from a need for comfort and functionality for the players. Thick cotton jersey was the material of choice due to its hardiness and easy of care. The material was breathable, soft and very durable- perfect for withstanding a rough scrum, hard tackles and diving to make a try.
A sense of team pride initiated the introduction of team colours. Around the same time period football was becoming equally as popular. Football jerseys adopted vertical stripes and so Rugby teams adopted horizontal stripes on their shirts. It has remained that way since.
Around the 1950s rugby shirts took off in the mainstream as a style staple. America being one of the biggest importers of Rugby shirts. At the time people were convinced that this was going to be a passing phase, a fashion fad. However, rugby shirts demonstrated their long term appeal and are now considered a classic, sartorial wardrobe staple.
The contrast collars give a smart element to the Rugby shirt, whilst the comfortable jersey makes for a versatile and casual wearability. The team logo is traditionally championed on the left chest which gives a varsity, sporting feel to the rugby shirt.
Wear a rugby shirt with your favourite denim for a relaxed weekend look or team it with chinos for a smarter approach. Add a sports jacket or blazer to step up your rugby shirt look to one of Ivy league inspired elegance.