Welcome to the world of rugby shirts, a timeless fashion staple that transcends the boundaries of the rugby field. In this article, we'll explore various ways to style rugby shirts, transforming them from mere sportswear to a versatile fashion statement. 

At UK Rugby Store, we understand the unique appeal of rugby shirts in casual wear. Join us as we delve into different styles, ensuring you look your best whether you're at a match, out in the countryside, or even while enjoying a smart casual event. 

Let’s get started.  

What this article covers:

How to Wear a Rugby Shirt with Style

In our experience at UK Rugby Store, you can easily make a rugby shirt a stylish wardrobe addition. Read on for our top tips. Why stop there? Consider adding some rugby socks, or a rugby cap, for the ultimate finish for your look. 

Wearing Rugby Shirts For Everyday Casual 

Rugby shirts have evolved from their athletic origins to become a staple in everyday casual wear. 

At UK Rugby Store, we understand the versatility of this garment. For a casual yet stylish look, consider pairing this Japan rugby shirt with neutral bottoms. The classic combination of a rugby shirt with jeans or khaki pants, a style popularised in the late ‘90s, remains a timeless choice. 

To add a contemporary twist, match the shirt with grey, black, navy, or tan chinos, or opt for straight-cut mid- to dark-wash denim. This creates a balanced look that highlights the rugby shirt's design while maintaining an overall casual aesthetic.

how to wear a rugby shirt

To complete the ensemble, consider footwear and outerwear. Lace-up boots or solid-colour sneakers are excellent choices, offering comfort and style. 

For transitional seasons, a bomber or denim jacket can add an extra layer of sophistication to your casual look. This approach to styling ensures that the rugby shirt remains the focal point of the outfit, while the complementary pieces enhance its sporty yet refined nature.

How To Wear A Rugby Shirt As Athletic Wear

The rugby shirt's origins in sport make it an ideal candidate for athletic wear. At UK Rugby Store, we recommend pairing our rugby shirts, such as this Georgia RWC 2023 shirt, with jogger pants for a sporty and functional outfit. 

The key to this look is maintaining a balance between the bold stripes of the shirt and the simplicity of the joggers. Neutral-coloured joggers allow the rugby shirt to stand out while providing comfort and flexibility for active pursuits.

Footwear choices like Stan Smiths or Vans sneakers can add a subtle yet stylish touch to the athletic ensemble. 

For added functionality and style, a track jacket can be a great addition, especially in cooler weather. This combination not only pays homage to the rugby shirt's athletic roots but also embraces the modern trend of athleisure, blending sportswear with everyday fashion.

What To Wear With A Streetwear Rugby Shirt

In the world of streetwear, rugby shirts have carved out a niche for themselves, characterised by bold colour-blocking, large logos, and unique embroidery. 

To fully embrace this style, consider pairing a rugby shirt with a varsity jacket for a nostalgic yet fashionable look. 

how to style rugby shirt

Cropped wide-legged pants can add a modern twist to the ensemble, while a cap, such as a bucket hat or a dad cap, completes the streetwear aesthetic.

Footwear choices in this context can vary widely, but basketball shoes are a classic choice that adds to the retro vibe. In colder weather, a matching puffer jacket with a prominent logo can be the perfect outerwear to complement the rugby shirt. 

This style is about making a statement, combining elements of nostalgia with contemporary fashion trends.

Street Wear vs Athletic Wear Rugby Shirts

The distinction between streetwear and athletic wear rugby shirts lies in their design and material. 

Athletic wear rugby shirts offered at UK Rugby Store, like this sleeveless Samoa jersey, are crafted from performance-based materials such as polyester and elastane. These fabrics are moisture-wicking and quick-drying, making them ideal for sports and physical activities. 

The design of these shirts is focused on functionality, with a closer fit and enhanced tear resistance to withstand the rigours of athletic use.

In contrast, streetwear rugby shirts prioritise style and fashion. They often feature bold designs, colour-blocking, and logos, making them a popular choice for fashion-forward casual wear. 

While they may not have the same performance features as athletic wear rugby shirts, they offer a unique and stylish way to incorporate sporty elements into everyday outfits.

What Are The Specific Sports Functions Of The Rugby Shirt?

Rugby shirts are designed with specific sports functions in mind, making them more than just a fashion item. 

how to style a rugby shirt

These shirts often feature small rubber bubbles on the chest and shoulders, which aid in ball handling and provide grip during the game. 

In our experience, the materials used in these shirts (see this Italy training shirt) are typically synthetic blends that offer breathability, sweat-wicking, and better tear resistance than traditional cotton. This makes them not only stylish but also functional for athletic use.

At UK Rugby Store, we understand the importance of both style and functionality. Our rugby shirts meet the demands of the sport while also being fashionable enough for everyday wear. Whether you're playing on the field or enjoying a casual day out, our rugby shirts provide comfort, durability, and style.

History of the Rugby Shirt

What Was The Original Rugby Shirt?

The rugby shirt, a symbol of rugged athleticism and casual style, has its origins deeply rooted in the mid-19th century. 

It emerged from the Rugby School in the UK, where the sport itself was born. The original rugby shirt was part of the first official uniform worn by the Rugby School's team, setting a precedent for the sportswear. These early shirts were a far cry from today's sleek designs. 

They were crafted from heavy cotton, built to endure the rough and tumble of the game. At UK Rugby Store, we celebrate this rich heritage by offering shirts that combine the essence of these original designs with the advancements of modern fabric technology.

What Are The Designs And Materials Used In Rugby Shirts?

Initially, rugby shirts were designed for durability and practicality. The heavy cotton used was tough enough to withstand the physical nature of rugby. 

what to wear with rugby shirt

As the sport evolved, so did the shirts. Key features like short collars and rubber buttons were introduced to enhance performance on the field. These design elements prevented the shirts from being easily grabbed by opponents and ensured that buttons would stay on during the game.

Today, rugby shirts are made from a variety of materials. While traditional cotton remains popular for its comfort and classic look, synthetic blends have been introduced for enhanced performance. 

These modern fabrics offer improved moisture-wicking, breathability, and durability. At UK Rugby Store, our rugby shirts are a blend of tradition and innovation, crafted to meet the needs of modern athletes and fashion-conscious individuals alike.

Why Do Rugby Shirts Have Stripes?

The iconic stripes of rugby shirts serve a purpose beyond aesthetic appeal. In the early days of the sport, these stripes were a practical solution to a pressing problem: distinguishing one team from another on the field. 

Typically, rugby shirts featured five or six bold, contrasting stripes. This design has become a hallmark of rugby shirts, enduring through the years. Today, while modern casual wear often deviates from this traditional pattern, the stripes remain a defining feature. 

UK Rugby Store offers a range of designs, from classic stripes that pay homage to the sport's history to modern, minimalist styles that appeal to contemporary fashion sensibilities.

Rugby Shirts in the 20th Century

Throughout the 20th century, the rugby shirt evolved from a purely athletic garment to a symbol of casual, preppy style. See this vintage Springbok jersey

what to wear with a rugby shirt

It gained immense popularity among college students and became a staple in the wardrobes of those who favoured a sporty, yet sophisticated look. The rugby shirt's journey through the decades was reinterpreted to reflect the prevailing fashion trends. 

In the 1980s, it was often seen as heavily colour-blocked, while the 1990s brought a more casual, American heritage vibe to the garment.

As per our expertise, today, the rugby shirt stands as a versatile and beloved piece of clothing. It's cherished not just for its comfort and durability, but also for its ability to straddle the line between casual wear and sportswear. Its rich history and adaptability have ensured its place as a timeless garment in the fashion world.

How Fashion Brands Are Interpreting the Rugby Shirt Revival

In recent years, we've witnessed a significant revival of the rugby shirt in the fashion industry. High-end designers and streetwear brands have embraced the rugby shirt, reimagining it in various ways. 

This revival has seen the rugby shirt being transformed from a sportswear item to a fashion statement. Brands are experimenting with bold colour-blocking, oversized logos, and innovative fabric blends, pushing the boundaries of the traditional rugby shirt design.

At UK Rugby Store, we are at the forefront of this revival. Our collection includes rugby shirts that are functional, comfortable but also trendy, and fashion-forward. 

We offer a variety of styles, from traditional designs that nod to the sport's heritage to contemporary versions that reflect the latest fashion trends.

what to wear with the rugby shirt


The rugby shirt's evolution from a practical sports garment to a fashion staple is a testament to its enduring appeal and versatility. 

At UK Rugby Store, we take pride in being part of this legacy, offering a diverse range of rugby shirts that cater to the needs of athletes, fashion enthusiasts, and everyone in between. 

Our collection is a celebration of the rugby shirt's rich history and its contemporary relevance. Whether you're looking for a shirt for the field or everyday wear, UK Rugby Store has the best rugby kit for you. 

Visit us to explore our collection of best rugby jerseys and experience the timeless appeal of the rugby shirt.

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December 19, 2023 — Alex Taylor