A Buyer’s Guide to Polo Ralph Lauren

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 is Polo Ralph Lauren, and where did it come from?

Renowned for its quintessential preppy style, the Ralph Lauren brand has been around since 1967, where it began by selling the ‘American dream’. Today, the brand is distinguished in every corner of the globe, and stands for something much bigger.

family wearing polo ralph lauren

#1 Polo Ralph Lauren History

Image Credit: Vanity Fair

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.

Polaroids from Bury Me With The Lo On book, Thirstin Howl the 3rd & Tom Gould.

#2 What are the different Polo Ralph Lauren labels? 

Polo Ralph Lauren 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 across apparel, accessories, fragrance collections, as well as childrenswear and home furnishings. Below are the current brands operating under the Polo Ralph Lauren 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. Polo Ralph Lauren combines Ivy League silhouettes and English haberdashery with modern styles and classic American sporting looks through both sportswear and tailored clothing.

Polo Ralph Lauren (Womens): The brand is renowned for its classic, go-to, everyday styles. With all of their collections being refined and relaxed with timeless shapes in fresh spring colours and a range of iconic logos.

There’s also…

  • 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!

polo ralph lauren menswear

#3 Why is Ralph Lauren so popular? 

Descending from Ivy League corridors all the way to Kanye West’s 2004 College Dropout days, Polo Ralph Lauren has consistently been open to interpretation and lived outside of the fashion cycle.

True global fashion leaders, 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.

kanye west wearing polo ralph lauren bear

Kanye West, The College Dropout, 2004

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, with new colours and limited edition styles released every season.

#4 Are Polo Ralph Lauren shoes good? 

Yes! Polo Ralph Lauren shoes are known for their robust quality. Often characterised by the iconic pony logo embroidered to the outer sides, Polo Ralph Lauren specialises in a selection of trainers, formal wear and slippers.


Ralph Lauren with his wife


Polo Ralph Lauren Kids

Polo Ralph Lauren Kids

If you are looking for some super cool, casual kidswear then you can’t beat the Polo Ralph Lauren collection. Including smarter essentials and loungewear wardrobe pieces for your little ones, their style is traditional with bright primary colours. In keeping with the Polo Ralph Lauren aesthetic, these are high-quality kids clothing perfect for every day.



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Written by Ciara Martin

Ciara Martin

Ciara Martin

Writer and expert