Thursday, December 8

17 Best Rugby Shirts for Men in 2022 to Toughen Up Your Wardrobe

Rugby is a game of contrasts, and the best rugby shirts reflect that duality. On the one hand, it’s a sport played almost exclusively by dudes built like The Rock, who crash into one another over and over again with the unremitting fury and general chaos of a hotly-contested round of Hungry Hungry Hippos. On the other, it was invented by a bunch of prepsters at a British boarding school, which means it has all the peculiar etiquette and collegiate traditions of something like rowing baked right in.

Rugby shirts, similarly, are built thick and tough to survive opponents yanking on ‘em for 80 minutes straight, but they’re also refined and collared like their close relative the polo shirt. And they’re Swiss-army-knife versatile: you can throw one on alone with jeans or chinos or shorts, or you can sub it into just about any situation you’d normally wear a V-neck sweater (think over a button-down or under a blazer) to give your look a little extra ruggedness.

Bottom line, you need one. And, wouldn’t you know it, your pals at GQ have done all the heavy lifting for you. Cop one of the best rugby shirts for men below, wear it with everything, rack up the compliments. It’s that simple. Scrum on.


The Ol’ Reliable Pick

Polo Ralph Lauren iconic rugby shirt

You want something classic and preppy and built to last? You go with Ralph Lauren. And, as you might expect, Polo Ralph Lauren’s rugby shirt is damn near definitive: the stripes are thick, the knit is burly, the buttons are rubber (to prevent them popping off mid-tackle), the collar is begging to be popped. But the biggest selling point of all is the fit—trim but not tight, with enough room to wear one of Ralph’s just-as-iconic Oxford shirts comfortably underneath.

The Respectable Rebel Pick

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Noah quarter zip rugby pullover

At the center of prep’s recent revival is Noah, a brand that’s been inspiring downtown cool guys to dress like private school rejects since 2015. So when designer Brendon Babenzien (formerly of streetwear’s crown jewel Supreme) makes a rugby, you know it’s not going to be a simple recreation of some Ivy Leaguer’s who earned his BA in ’66. This made-in-Canada joint swaps out the traditional buttons for a slick zipper and adds in a hoodie-like kangaroo pocket, giving the erstwhile prep staple a jolt of much-needed energy designed to appeal to recent graduates and dropouts alike.

The 75-and-Humid Pick

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Todd Snyder pieced chest panel rugby shirt

Todd Snyder’s penchant for breathing new life into hall of fame-level menswear is indisputable, whether it’s suede trucker jackets or a slimmed-down, office-appropriate corduroy suits. The cozy melange gray cotton makes this rugby more like your best heavy-duty tee, while it’s still got all the typical cues you expect from a rugby shirt—namely, the contrast collar and placket, and those hefty horizontal stripes.

The Archival Pick

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J.Crew banner stripe rugby shirt

Eager to tap into Brendon Babenzien’s singular aesthetic at a more approachable price? J.Crew—where Babenzien is currently steering the ship as men’s creative director—should be your new favorite one-stop shop. This rugby shirt, which is inspired by the label’s own ‘80s-era archives, cranks up the volume on what’s already a colorful shirting proposition by doing it up in 5 (!) colors packed into one bold, flag-like design—then rotates the traditional horizontal stripes 90 degrees for extra intrigue. The result is a statement piece you’ll want to wear all fall, and for less than a Benjamin, at that.

The Extremely-Right-Now Pick

Rowing Blazers ’70s stripe rugby shirt

Rowing Blazers has made its name on faithful reproductions of iconic sportswear, from David Hockney’s striped rugby shirts to Princess Diana’s cheeky jumpers. So it tracks that this rugby shirt looks exactly like the version your dad would have worn in the 1970s, down to the primary color combo and big chest stripe. And because it’s made out of a seriously beefy 14 oz. cotton, it’ll last long enough to become a vintage grail your own kids will want to inherit.

The Classic-As-They-Come Pick

If you’re looking for authenticity, Barbarian is the way to go—the company’s knockabout gear has been put to the test on pitches the world over for four decades and counting. The brand’s rugby shirts are made in Canada out of premium 12 oz. fleece and feature all of the details you’d expect from a shirt designed to follow you into battle—which means it’ll hold up just fine accompanying you to the farmer’s market too.


Plus 12 More Rugby Shirts We Love

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Kings of NY classic rugby shirt

Definitely not your forever rugby, but a good cheap way to test the waters.

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Fucking Awesome sponsored outline rugby shirt

What do you call a well-behaved rugby with some badass graphics? Hint: It’s all in the name.

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Thames “Murrayfield” rugby shirt

A rugby shirt fit for a king.

Banana Republic rugby shirt

Strip away all of those stripes, letters, and patches, and you’re left with a shirt that’ll look great with anything you throw at it this fall.

Patagonia men’s cotton in conversion midweight rugby shirt

A trail-ready rugby made out of organically-sourced cotton that’s kinder to Mother Nature, done up in colors you might actually spot outside.

Abercrombie & Fitch long sleeve striped rugby polo

The back-to-school stalwart makes a great looking rugby that costs about as much as a notebook and pencils.

$59$27

Abercrombie & Fitch

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Braindead paneled rugby shirt

You don’t have to be a wizard to pull off these Gryffindor-y hues—just pair ’em with some solid-colored chinos and call it a day.

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Aspesi blue and red rugby long sleeve polo

The cozy knit cotton probably won’t hold up in the midst of an actual scrum—but under a navy blue topcoat this fall, the bold stripes are a power move.

Tommy Hilfiger checkerboard skater rugby polo

Dropped shoulders and old-school patterning on the sleeves mean there’s no mistaking this rugby for something you’re wearing because you have to.

J.Press stripe rugby shirt

These days, rugby shirts come in all kinds of outré color combos, but the versatility of tonal blue-on-blue is hard to beat.

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Wrangler unisex heavy rugger

What happens when an east coast prep staple takes a trip out west? A rugby begging to be worn with beat-up jeans and cowboy boots.



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