This is the reason why fashion is raving about rugby right now

By Josefin Forsberg

Stella McCartney AW23.

With its statement stripes and sporty silhouettes, we are reaching for rugby shirts for late summer layering

This season, fashion seemingly has its head in the game with sportswear making the rounds. We've previously pinpointed the pertinent rise of tennis whites, with pleated mini skirts and preppy polos spotted on street stylers and runways alike. However, we've found ourselves gravitating towards another sporty sweatshirt for the coming autumn season: rugby stripes.


The heavyweight cotton shirts first came into our fashion consciousness during the 1950s when they appeared in American teenagers' wardrobes, by way of collegiate sporting uniforms. The popularity of the traditional sports top, featuring a collar and three button neckline, peaked in the 1980s and 1990s, when worn by the likes of Princess Diana and Mick Jagger – making the rugby shirt equal parts subversive and preppy.

Louis Vuitton AW22. Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton AW22. Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton AW22. Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

The slow-burn craze was first kicked off by Louis Vuitton. The French maison made the rugby shirt the core of its autumn / winter 2022 collection, updating the sporty shirt with unexpected styling. The statement stripes were paired with long, fluid dresses, the sleeves and skirts of which flowed out from under the cuffs and ribbed trims. Some looks saw colourful floral jackets tied around the waist for definition, while white sneakers grounded the sporty ensembles.

Louis Vuitton's love affair with the sport isn't a new infatuation. The brand has a longstanding report with Rugby World Cup, first creating a travel case for the the Webb Ellis Cup for the 2015 tournament and most recently unveiling the Official Trophy Travel Case for Rugby World Cup France 2023. “It is a great opportunity to bring our 'savoir-faire' to one of the world’s greatest sporting events, and once again to prove that ‘Victory Travels in Louis Vuitton’," Louis Vuitton Chairman and CEO, Michael Burke, said of the latest travel trunk.

Gucci menswear AW23.

Stella McCartney AW23.

A.P.C. AW23.

However, Louis Vuitton isn't the only brand enamoured with rugby. The sports-centric shirt was helped on its way to becoming a streetwear staple when Gucci included it in its spring/summer 2018 menswear runway. The Italian house has since included the rugby shirt in its lineup season after season, most recently showing a yellow version with pushed up sleeves during its autumn/winter 2023 menswear show.

That British brands hold the rugby shirt dear is unsurprising – considering the sports massive popularity on the isles – with the likes of Wales Bonner considering rugby stripes part of its DNA and Stella McCartney giving the sweatshirt an equestrian makeover on the brand's latest runway. From the French, we saw A.P.C show a grungy brown and white stripe with extra long sleeves, while preppy cult brands like Gant and Rowing Blazer – not to mention streetwear giants like Supreme – have all adopted the rugby shirt making it a regular in their collections. On the Scandinavian home front, brands like A Day's March and Axel Arigato repeatedly return to the rugby silhouette.

Guest at CPHFW SS24 wears embellished lace-up heels

Copenhagen Fashion Week SS24. Photo: Acielle / Syle Du Monde

The rugby shirt is also making the rounds among tastemakers and street stylers. We've previously spotted Swedish supermodel Elsa Hosk sport a blur of rugby shirts, matching hers with sporty styles like crew socks and biker shorts. The latest rugby look to crop up on the streets of Copenhagen? Norwegian influencer Marianne Theodorsen's yellow version styled with cargo shorts and butterfly heels.

Below, shop the best rugby shirts to buy now for light layering this late-summer season:

Blue striped rugby shirt


Cotton jersey polo shirt

Stella McCartney

Appliquéd color-block wool-blend sweater

Lukhanyo Mdingi

Oversized striped cashmere sweater

Guest in residence

Rugby style polo shirt


Logo-embroidered rugby polo shirt


4-bar stripe rugby polo shirt

Thom Brown

Oversized Gant usa rugger