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Buyer's Guide

A Buyer’s Guide to Polo Ralph Lauren

Holly Thompson
Writer and expert1 year ago
View Holly Thompson's profile

You're likely to have seen Polo Ralph Lauren pop up once or twice in your lifetime, perhaps you've found yourself wondering what actually the brand is, and where did it come from?

Renowned for its quintessential preppy style, the Ralph Lauren brand has been around since 1967, when it began by selling the 'American dream'. Today, the brand is distinguished in every corner of the globe and stands for something much bigger, read our complete guide covering your most asked questions, our top picks from the brand and styling advice.


Polo Ralph Lauren

Our Polo Ralph Lauren Top Picks

Polo Shirts

Polo Ralph Lauren FAQs

#1 Polo Ralph Lauren History

Before its catapult into the mainstream in 1967, the brand started in the early 1960s with a young Ralph Lauren spending his spare time selling handmade ties to his fellow Bronx schoolmates. Ralph then went on to become a neckwear salesman at Brooks Brothers and later persuaded the president of Beau Brummell to let him start his own line at 28 years old, where he worked out of a single drawer in their Empire State Building showroom.

The brand took off in the late '60s and brought a mix of country club/everyday apparel to the states and beyond. Since then, Polo Ralph Lauren has garnered an immensely successful reputation and loyal following due to its rich archive of designs and many lucrative campaigns, gaining cultural resonance within the hip-hop, punk, skate and basketball communities, to name a few.

#2 What are the different Polo Ralph Lauren labels?

The brand overall has had many different brands and diffusion lines since its launch in 1967, with Polo Ralph Lauren (often shortened to just Polo) being the most recognized. The brand's products are vast, spanning apparel, accessories, fragrance collections, as well as childrenswear and home furnishings. Below are the current brands operating under the brand's umbrella.

Image Credit: Vanity Fair

First up...

  • Polo Ralph Lauren: The most recognisable label, think of iconic pieces such as the classic polo player logo. Combining English haberdashery with the all-American Ivy League, it brought forth modern styles with classic American sporting looks.
  • Polo Ralph Lauren (Womens): The brand is renowned for its classic, go-to, everyday styles. All of their collections are refined and relaxed with timeless shapes in fresh spring colours and a range of iconic logos.
  • Ralph Lauren Purple Label (Men's) & Ralph Lauren Collection (Women's): Both labels are renowned for their hand-tailoring, fine fabrics and sophisticated look.
  • Double RL: Made up of selvedge denim, vintage-inspired apparel, sportswear and accessories, the Double RL label is inspired by workwear and military gear.
  • Polo Sport Collection: Heavily inspired by Ralph's childhood in the Bronx and gained a cult following in the 90s and 00s. Think vintage-inspired sportswear influenced by track-and-field sportswear and athletic uniforms.
  • Polo Golf/ RLX Golf
  • Pink Pony: Made up of dual-gender sportswear and accessories. A percentage of sales from these products go towards a network of local cancer charities around the world.
  • Lauren Ralph Lauren: Known for its accessible price point.
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Home & Children

Plus many, many more that have now been discontinued - often characterised as vintage!

#3 Why is Ralph Lauren so popular?

First, a firm favourite amongst upper-class wealth the brand then infiltrated the 90's subcultures on a mass scale. Iconically renowned as the uniform for the Lo-Life Crew who loved the brand for its oversized logos and bright branding. They would try and get their hands on the brand as much as possible, portraying the lavish and luxurious lifestyle they aspired for.

Ralph Lauren is arguably one of the most openly interpreted brands. There are very few brands that have managed to achieve the level of dominance that Ralph Lauren has, striking the perfect balance between aspiration and attainability for many.

RL has appeared in mainstream culture continuously since its beginnings over half a century ago. Alongside endless collaborations that span many different subcultures, we have seen the Ralph Lauren lifestyle break through into Hip-hop music videos, the White House, Kensington Palace, the Oscars, the Met Gala, TV sitcoms and so, so much more.

Take the Polo shirt, for example, one of Lauren's most recognizable hallmarks that debuted over 50 years ago. To this day, the Ralph Lauren Polo is still one of the most beloved pieces in the collection. A foundation of the brand, there are always new colours and limited edition styles released every season. You can read out Buyer's Edit if you want to see which are trending this season.

#4 The Polo Ralph Lauren Bear

kanye west wearing polo ralph lauren bear
Kanye West, The College Dropout, 2004

Following the same success as the brand, the Polo bear descended from Ivy League corridors all the way to Kanye West's 2004 College Dropout Album front cover. The idea was born when Ralph Lauren himself was gifted a Richard Steiff bear in a tailored Ralph Lauren outfit. Impressed with the attention to detail he wanted to offer the bear to customers. Sold in the Madison Avenue flagship store the bear’s sold out in one weekend. However, production stopped due to manufacturing costs.

Cue the Polo Bear apparel line. Designed by Richard Tahsin the bear became the second most recognised logo for the brand. The bear's bold appearance has been adored throughout generations for his character and extensive wardrobe. When they stopped the line the bear became a highly desired vintage, collectable's item, leading the brand to bring back the bear in 2013.

#5 Are Polo Ralph Lauren sizes true to size?

Yes, the clothing range is true to size. The main brand built itself on tailoring and high-quality fashion with its sub-brands following suit. If you are wanting to find your correct size, refer to the size chart to help you.

Men's Size Chart 

Women's Size Chart 

#6 Are Polo Ralph Lauren shoes good?

Yes! The brand's shoes are popular for their high-quality shoes that offer a smart but sporty look. Their shoes bridge the gap between current trainers with a more well-tailored, mature side of fashion. Often characterised by the iconic pony logo embroidered to the outer sides, there's a selection of trainers, formal wear and slippers.


Holly Thompson
Writer and expert
View Holly Thompson's profile