Even people who don’t care about fashion know the name Ralph Lauren. This designer is pretty much synonymous with men’s fashion and the brand has been a leader in male style for decades. Are there brands similar to Ralph Lauren or is this designer label truly untouchable? Are there other brands that are on par with Ralph Lauren in some way, or others that mimic the things you like about this famous brand?
It’s time to explore the world of men’s preppy fashion, from suits to leisure wear, and see which brands stand out from the pack.
History of Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren was born in the Bronx in New York City. He worked his way through school, making a living in sales during the day and attending business classes at night. The education would end up being very useful. So would his sales job, which ultimately sparked his love of fashion.
Lauren was working for a tie company while attending business school and soon, he was inspired to design his own neckwear. Ralph Lauren looked at the ties he was selling and knew that he could do better.
In 1967, Lauren created his own brand and his own business: Polo.
He launched his first full line of men’s clothing in 1968, a mixture of tweed suits in classic, sophisticated designs. In 1971, he added a line of women’s clothing. And in 1972, he debuted the Polo logo that would become a famous trademark of the brand.
Ralph Lauren clothing caught public attention in the 1970s when Hollywood actors began wearing the preppy, sporty styles created by the designer under the Polo brand. His classic fashion soon became popular around the U.S. and Ralph Lauren became a household name after expanding his label to include home goods and clothing of all types.
The Raph Lauren brand grew to encompass a huge range of lifestyle products, including everything from furniture to household paint. By the 1990s, Ralph Lauren was a global brand.
Ralph Lauren remained personally involved with the company and maintained leadership of the brand until 2015, when he officially stepped down as CEO of the Ralph Lauren Corporation. However, he continued to remain the chief creative officer for the brand that bears his name even after this change.
The Ralph Lauren Look
Fashion watchers consider Ralph Lauren to be a distinctly American brand, a take on classic American fashion with a modern designer twist. Ralph Lauren specializes in sporty, preppy fashion that is perfect for the golf course but the brand makes all types of clothing, from the most casual workout wear to high-end suits and formal gowns.
The Ralph Lauren brand is characterized by a distinctly preppy vibe. The styles here are structured and highly stylized, with an overall sophisticated and elegant look. The designs are not over-embellished. Extra touches and details are added in small ways to maintain the stylish, traditional designs.
Ralph Lauren mostly uses a classic color palette that’s strong in neutral hues and Earth tones, such as dark greens, blacks, browns and blues. The Ralph Lauren look is all about looking highly stylish and sophisticated but in an elegant and effortless way. You just happen to be super stylish. You didn’t try to make that happen, though. That is, in essence, the Ralph Lauren brand: elegant, timeless style that doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard.
Finding Brands Similar to Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren definitely stands out for its distinct look. But there are other brands similar to Ralph Lauren that have also managed to capture essential aspects of this brand. Find them and expand your wardrobe with new fashions and new labels that will appeal to your personal sense of style.
Abercrombie & Fitch (Less Expensive)
Like the Ralph Lauren brand, Abercrombie & Fitch makes fashion for men, women and children of all ages. You can find everything you want to wear here, from socks and underwear to outer layers. Abercrombie & Fitch has a distinctly casual look, with clothing styles that reflect the latest trends.
Abercrombie & Fitch primarily appeals to younger fashion buyers in their 20s and 30s and the brand has been associated with trendy, youthful fashion for decades. You can find lots of stylish options for casual fashion here, along with plenty of activewear, jeans and matched sets. Unlike Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch does not make formal wear or suits. This is a place for casual fashion, not for professional or formal style.
The clothing at Abercrombie & Fitch is priced far more affordably than Ralph Lauren. That’s because the A&F brand is about affordable, trendy fashion.
This is fast fashion, not designer fashion. Fast fashion is produced and sold quickly based on current trends. Brands that specialize in fast fashion, like Abercrombie & Fitch, have a rotating product line that changes to reflect current styles of the day. This makes clothing from this brand much less expensive than the more exclusive designer fashion sold by Ralph Lauren.
Ben Sherman (Less Expensive)
Ben Sherman specializes in men’s fashion, focusing only on clothing for him. The brand also carries a line of accessories and shoes to go with their fashions, which capture just about everything you might want to wear. There are lots of options for sportswear here, along with outerwear, loungewear, activewear and more buttoned-up, professional styles, too.
This brand focuses on casual everyday style that’s more sophisticated than flashy, much like Ralph Lauren. Clothing from Ben Sherman is less expensive, on average, than Ralph Lauren items of a similar type. You can get the preppy men’s fashion you like here and spend a little less than if you were buying from Ralph Lauren.
Billy Reid (Similar Pricing)
Billy Reid makes stylish, sophisticated clothing for men and women who want to dress in sharp, timeless looks that don’t necessarily reflect all the latest passing fashion fads. The clothing here is made in cotton, leather, wool blends and cashmere, reflecting the simple but comfortable style of these fashions.
Billy Reid makes all kinds of clothing and accessories, everything from sportswear to suits, something the brand has in common with Ralph Lauren. The product line here isn’t nearly as extensive as what you can find with Ralph Lauren but Billy Reid has a wide product line of classic, comfortable, everyday and professional fashion that definitely captures a sophisticated and preppy vibe.
The pricing at Billy Reid is similar to Ralph Lauren, so you won’t pay more if you choose to shop here.
Brooks Brothers (Less Expensive)
Brooks Brothers is famous for suits the way Ralph Lauren is famous for polo shirts and athletic wear. Brooks Brothers suits are considered to be the height of style but actually, this brand makes a huge range of clothing that includes styles for men, women and children.
You can get all sorts of fashion at Brooks Brothers and all of it has a distinctly preppy appeal, much like the clothing you can find at Ralph Lauren. Brooks Brothers carries a huge range of shoes and accessories that includes everything you might need to go with your suit. You can also get vintage-inspired fashions here, along with sleepwear and underwear. Brooks Brothers even has a tuxedo shop.
The pricing here is somewhat less expensive than what you’ll pay for similar items at Ralph Lauren. Though Brooks Brothers is an extremely well-known and well-established brand, the company tries to keep its fashion affordable and accessible, rather than making it highly exclusive and hard to get.
Calvin Klein (Less Expensive)
From fashion for the living room to fashion for the red carpet, you can find the Calvin Klein brand everywhere. CK makes everything you can possibly put on, including fragrances. Though the brand famously makes branded underwear, as referenced in the “Back to the Future” film trilogy, Calvin Klein makes every type of clothing in every type of style for men, women and children. Like Ralph Lauren, this is an extremely famous and internationally known designer name.
Calvin Klein makes all kinds of fashion, from casual looks to formal wear that is displayed on the bodies of the world’s A-list celebrities. The brand also makes accessories and shoes of all kinds to go with the clothes. But unlike Ralph Lauren, CK focuses on fashion only and makes no home products.
On average, clothing from Calvin Klein is less expensive than similar items you can find under the Ralph Lauren label. Though Calvin Kelin is a high fashion brand and a globally known name, the fashions here are designed and priced to be affordable for a wide client base.
Like Ralph Lauren, CK appeals to fashionable people of all ages who want to look and feel good by creating classic and timeless styles. When you want to spend a little less and still enjoy designer fashion, Calvin Klein is a great place to go shopping.
Club Monaco (Less Expensive)
Club Monaco makes sleek, chic fashion for men and women in classic and understated styles. The clothing here is definitely meant to be high-end, as it’s almost exclusively made in materials like linen, Merino wool, suede, leather, cotton and cashmere.
You can find all the fashion basics at Club Monaco, including blazers, sweaters, pants and polo shirts but unlike Ralph Lauren, this brand does not sell suits. Club Monaco specializes in casual and professional fashion that is meant to be simple and elegant, timelessly good-looking. These are go-to fashion staples in designs that look good and are meant to last.
On average, you’ll spend less at Club Monaco than Ralph Lauren when buying similar items. The pricing here is more affordable, so you can buy more items for less when you shop here. Like Ralph Lauren, the fashions at Club Monaco appeal to a wide buying audience that includes men and women of all ages.
Drake’s (More Expensive)
Drake’s focuses only on men’s fashion and it makes a huge selection of it. You can get all kinds of things to wear at Drake’s, including classic T-shirts and polo shirts. This brand sells denim, knitwear, trousers and sweatshirts. But Drake’s is well-known for selling suits, something the brand has in common with Ralph Lauren.
This brand also creates a huge range of accessories, everything from sunglasses to keyrings to ties and hats. You can even shop for footwear here, something to finish off that amazing Drake’s suit you just found. Drake’s, like Ralph Lauren, is a high-end clothing brand and you can expect to get a high-end design and feel from everything you buy here.
Drake’s clothing is all handmade in England using very fine materials. Clothes here have all sorts of little extra details and touches, such as mother-of-pearl buttons and other little embellishments that really raise the luxury clothing bar.
Because this is a luxury brand and everything is made by hand, Drake’s is a bit more expensive, on average, than similar clothing items from Ralph Lauren.
Hugo Boss (Similar Pricing)
If Ralph Lauren is preppy American fashion, Hugo Boss is preppy European fashion. Hugo Boss is a globally famous brand in fashion that provides clothing and accessories of all kinds for men and women. Like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss is known for selling high-end athletic wear and it is famous for suits. This brand has a ton of stuff in common with Ralph Lauren, including similar pricing.
Like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss sells everything you can wear, even underwear, and makes a huge range of shoes and accessories of all kinds, too. That includes pocket squares, cufflinks, wallets and watches, fragrances and socks, along with any other type of accessory or adornment you can possibly name.
Hugo Boss has a look that’s similar to the sophisticated style of Ralph Lauren. These styles are timelessly fashionable and usually made in simple, elegant designs that don’t have a lot of embellishment. Hugo Boss offers clothing in classic colors, including rich Earth tones, neutral shades and some bright jewel tones, like royal red.
The clothing and pricing here look a lot like Ralph Lauren, in fact. If you like one of these brands, you will likely end up liking both.
J. Crew (Less Expensive)
If you were trying to think of names associated with preppy fashion, you might say J. Crew just as quickly as you’d say Ralph Lauren. This brand is famous for its timeless and traditional clothing styles, which are made to be modern and stylish without being subject to the whims of passing trends.
J. Crew clothes are made to be high quality and they’re designed so that you can wear these items for many years to come. They won’t go out of style. They’ll keep looking like sleek, sophisticated fashion, something J. Crew has in common with the Ralph Lauren brand.
Like Ralph Lauren, J. Crew makes all kinds of clothing, from pajamas to business suits and everything in between. You can get denim and T-shirts, polo shirts and blazers, along with accessories to go with it all. J. Crew offers a huge product line featuring clothing in all different colors, something the brand has in common with Ralph Lauren.
J. Crew is also a lifestyle brand, like Ralph Lauren, and makes a huge variety of home items, along with items for pets. The catalog includes beauty and wellness products, fragrances, candles and all kinds of other goods.
Though J. Crew is a designer brand and makes clothing in styles similar to Ralph Lauren, the prices here are less expensive than similar items at Ralph Lauren. J. Crew also always has items on sale, so you can save even more if you hunt for bargains here.
Lacoste (Less Expensive)
The Lacoste brand began with a single shirt design. Created by a then-famous tennis player in the 1930s, the Lacoste label quickly became known for men’s sportswear. Today, the brand has expanded to include a huge range of clothing for men, women and children. Lacoste also makes shoes, bags and accessories like watches, sunglass and caps.
Lacoste has never strayed far from its athletic roots and continues to make casual clothing and sportswear in classic, colorful styles. Lacoste uses color combinations and graphic images to create fun, eye-catching casual fashion. You can’t find suits or professional wear here…unless you’re a professional athlete and you wear athletic clothing for your career.
The Lacoste brand is a little more colorful and a little more trendy in design than Ralph Lauren, but both brands are well-known for creating high-performance sportswear that looks and feels good.
Lacoste’s prices are a little more affordable than Ralph Lauren, though the two brands have an interesting history and a unique relationship that stands out in the fashion world. In their own ways, both brands were built around selling polo shirts.
Lacoste makes polo shirts to this day, a fun fact as the polo shirt was the first shirt ever created under this brand. Lacoste is recognizable for its crocodile logo, something the brand has carried since day one.
L.L. Bean (Less Expensive)
L.L. Bean is a lifestyle brand, like Ralph Lauren, selling a huge range of items that include lots of different fashions for men, women and children, along with bags, outdoor equipment and home goods. While Ralph Lauren focuses primarily on sportswear, professional wear and formal wear, L.L. Bean has cornered the market in outdoor apparel and gear. The brand is famous for its rugged outdoor clothing.
Like Ralph Lauren, L.L. Bean doesn’t focus on following fashion trends. Rather, the brand creates timeless style stales that everyone needs in their closet, high-performing T-shirts, flannel shirts, polos and other items that can be worn for all kinds of outdoor activity. Because L.L. Bean creates outdoor clothing, the fashion here is distinctly casual. You won’t find any suits at L.L. Bean.
L.L. Bean makes hard-wearing, nice-looking clothing for hunting, fishing, hiking and all the stuff you want to do outdoors. The brand thrives on providing everyday, affordable fashion, so the pricing here is less expensive than similar items you can find under the Ralph Lauren label.
Nautica (Less Expensive)
Nautica is associated with American preppy style, a reputation the brand has in common with Ralph Lauren. You can always trust Nautica for classic clothing staples that are well-made without being overly embellished and have a general preppy look. The clothing style at Nautica is similar to Ralph Lauren designs, in fact. If you like the clothes from one brand, you’re sure to like the other.
The Nautica product line includes casual wear of all types, including sweaters, sweatpants, swimwear, T-shirts, polos and jeans. You can find accessories like sunglasses, watches, bags and socks, along with other types of shoes and outfit embellishments. Like Ralph Lauren, Nautica also makes items for the home, though the Nautica product line isn’t quite as extensive.
Nautica is not a designer or high-fashion brand, however, and the pricing here reflects that. The clothing and items at Nautica are far less expensive than similar items at Ralph Lauren, though the design style is highly similar and both brands offer many similar types of clothing.
The Nautica brand does not limit its clothing to make it exclusive and does not use high-end materials and techniques to manufacture items, which makes the products here far more affordable than Ralph Lauren’s designer items.
Perry Ellis (Less Expensive)
Perry Ellis, like Ralph Lauren, is associated with classic fashion that includes suits, underwear and casual and professional clothing of all types. This brand has a huge line of accessories and shoes and even makes fragrances. In other words, Perry Ellis and Ralph Lauren sell many similar products and fashions.
Perry Ellis focuses on men’s fashion that is made to be sophisticated, stylish and casually elegant, which gives the clothing here a design look that is highly similar to the fashion at Ralph Lauren. The items from Perry Ellis are somewhat less expensive than products from Ralph Lauren, so you can spend a little less here and still end up getting classic, elegant fashion.
Tommy Hilfiger (Similar Pricing)
Like Ralph Lauren, the Tommy Hilfiger brand is associated with American style. The Tommy Hilfiger brand is likewise associated with preppy, classic style in looks that have no expiration date. The fashion here tends to be more casual to help you create everyday, go-anywhere looks.
Tommy Hilfiger is known for making jeans and other casual clothing, although you can find everything here from underwear to suits. Tommy makes swimwear, T-shirts, polos, sweaters and everything in between, including activewear. You can also find a ton of accessories here that include bags, shoes, wallets, hats, belts and much more.
The Tommy Hilfiger label carries clothing for men, women and kids. The fashion here has a distinctly American preppy look that is very similar to Ralph Lauren, though the clothing under this label tends to be more colorful and graphic, in general, than Ralph Lauren designs. The pricing across both brands is similar, so you will spend about the same amount for similar items across both these designer labels.
Wearing Brands Similar to Ralph Lauren
There are brands similar to Ralph Lauren, either in design style or the types of clothing they carry or the large product line they have to offer. Explore these other Ralph Lauren similar brands and expand your style to include lots of new looks and new labels. Because the more you expand your clothing knowledge, the more fashionable you’re going to be.
Ralph Lauren makes a huge range of products, not just fashionable clothing, and this brand is well-known for its particular look. There’s actually a lot to know about the Ralph Lauren brand and the clothes associated with it, including the story behind the label’s most famous item of all. We found the most commonly asked questions about the Ralph Lauren brand to give you the answers that you want to know.
Find out more about the Ralph Lauren label and become a brand expert on this preppy clothing style.
How should Ralph Lauren clothing fit?
Sometimes, shopping for clothes is way more difficult than it should be. Sizes vary by manufacturer, as everyone seems to have their own idea of what an “S” is or even what a woman’s size 6 is. Sizes can also vary based on country of origin, as other countries use different sizing systems than U.S. clothing manufacturers.
In other words, it’s like impossible to go by size when you’re trying to buy clothing. You need to go by your own body measurements in order to match your body to clothing that’s going to fit. Always go by your own body when you’re shopping. Measure yourself to match your measurements up to sizes based on brand size charts. When you’re buying online, brands will almost always include size charts to help you find the perfect fit.
No matter what items of clothing you wear from which brand, all clothing should pretty much fit the same way: it should sit close to your body, following the natural lines and curves. It should fit well without being too tight or too loose. Nothing should be pulling or straining when you move and nothing should be bunching up or flapping around, either.
If your clothing doesn’t fit well, it’s going to look terrible no matter how much you spend or which designer brands you’re wearing. Make sure your clothing fits well on your body, no matter what size you are, because flattering the shape you have is the best and only way to show off your shape to its best effect.
Did Ralph Lauren invent the polo shirt?
Ralph Lauren’s name is heavily associated with the Polo brand and the logo of a polo player, an emblem that has been used by Ralph Lauren since the 1970s. And though Ralph Lauren is a designer with a lot of fashion cred to his name, he is not the inventor of the polo shirt. In fact, it wasn’t a designer who came up with this classic and iconic piece of fashion at all. The polo shirt works perfectly as athletic wear because it was originally invented by an athlete.
Jean Rene Lacoste was a Frenchman and a star of the tennis courts in the early 1900s. He was nicknamed “the crocodile” on the court because he was such a powerful player and so agile. A seven-time Grand Slam title winner, he was a superstar athlete of his day.
And his day…kind of sucked. Tennis players in the early 1900s wore long-sleeved button-down shirts and ties while on the court, which looked just as ridiculous as you imagine it to be. Lacoste had enough experience to know what tennis players really needed, so he decided to build a better shirt.
He created a short sleeve design that had only a three-button collar, rather than a full button-down design. Lacoste used a lightweight cotton material for his shirt and to finish it off, embroidered a little crocodile near the left shoulder in a nod to his nickname.
He wore the shirt when he secured back-to-back U.S. Open wins in 1926 and 1927, a feat that caught the public’s attention. And when it did, they noticed his shirt, too.
Lacoste retired in the 1930s and teamed up with a French knitwear maker to sell the shirts Lacoste had designed, which he called tennis shirts. This is how the Lacoste brand was created in 1933. The shirt immediately became incredibly popular with athletes, particularly with polo players.
By the 1970s, the Lacoste tennis shirt was pretty much to go-to athletic shirt for golfing, playing polo and engaging in other light outdoor sports. But by then, it was mostly made with polyester.
Young designer Ralph Lauren figured he could do a lot better. In 1972, he introduced his own polo shirt design that was made with knitted cotton and available in 24 different colors. Like other Ralph Lauren clothing, the shirt had a polo player logo on it.
The Ralph Lauren tennis shirt became known as “the polo shirt.” For the last 50 years, the polo shirt has been the most popular Ralph Lauren product. So while he did not invent the polo shirt, he famously reinvented it and became synonymous with the shirt itself. As for Rene Lacoste, his brand and crocodile logo are still going strong, too.
Where are Ralph Lauren clothes made? Where are Ralph Lauren products manufactured?
Most Ralph Lauren clothing and products bearing the Ralph Lauren brand name are made in Italy and China. However, some pieces of items and some products are made in other countries around the world, including Japan, the U.S., India, Turkey, Switzerland, Spain, France, Mexico and Portugal.
Because Ralph Lauren sells such an enormous line of products, those items are made in factories all around the world. Often, you can get a sense of where items are made based on what you are buying. Many home goods sold by the Ralph Lauren brand are made in the U.S., for example, while the fragrances are made in France.
Why is Ralph Lauren so expensive?
While there are plenty of designer brands that cost more than Ralph Lauren, you can consider the clothing and items from this brand to be an investment. Clothing and lifestyle items from Ralph Lauren are noticeably more expensive than other brands, particularly non-designer brands. So why is Ralph Lauren clothing so expensive? Are you paying more just for the famous designer name?
In some ways, yes. Designer fashion always costs a little more because part of the cost pays for the design itself. A lot of time and attention goes into designer clothing and lifestyle items, which translates into more cost for the consumer. Ralph Lauren clothing has also been worn by celebrities and famous people of all types, something that gives the brand more value because it is associated with celebrity style and high fashion.
Ralph Lauren makes luxury clothing. This means that the fabrics used to make the clothing are more high-end and the techniques to make the clothing take extra time and detail. All Ralph Lauren clothing is well-made and it’s made to last, so it can be worn for many years. This is different from less expensive fast fashion brands that make trendy clothing meant to last only a year or two.
Extra time and attention go into the design and manufacture of Ralph Lauren clothing and lifestyle products, which are made with more expensive materials and more time-consuming manufacturing techniques. This, along with the famous designer name and celebrity association attached to the brand, makes Ralph Lauren an expensive label to wear.
Is Ralph Lauren still a popular brand?
Some brands sort of come and go, with certain names becoming super famous and super trendy for a short amount of time before they seem to suddenly disappear. Ralph Lauren, however, is an iconic name in the fashion world. The brand is still highly relevant and popular on the style scene, with even Vogue recently declaring that the Ralph Lauren polo shirt is “still the ultimate fashion item.”
The Ralph Lauren label is associated with high quality and timeless style, a reputation that keeps this brand popular and relevant in the style world. You won’t go wrong in Ralph Lauren no matter what you choose because the power of this brand remains strong.
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