why i love ralph lauren

Unbeknownst to him, I have been in love with Ralph Lauren for many years.  I sleep in his pajamas, in between his sheets, wear his perfume, drink from his glasses, etc.  But it is his clothes that I love the most.  I love the way Ralph, year after year reinvents the same basic look.  He changes them slightly but never drastically.  This is great for someone like me who does not want to purchase a whole new wardrobe every year, it's what I'd call a sustainable style.  Every year I can add a new piece or two and by doing so my wardrobe has evolved into something that I truly love.  Whenever I stray from this look (and I have) I always come crawling back to the real me.  I grew up wearing Catholic school uniforms so it's no surprise that I'm drawn to his classic, timeless look.  His clothes are less about fashion and more about style, they represent a lifestyle, rather than what's hot at the moment.  Another really great thing is that his clothing comes in all price points, all the way from Purple Label Collection down to his Lauren line.  And it is easy to fit in other labels that line up with his aesthetic.  Ralph got his start at Brooks Brothers and you can see that he borrows heavily from that look.  Levis blend seamlessly into this look..  So for someone like me who does not lead a really fancy lifestyle but is more outdoorsy/active, his clothes are ideal.  I was recently standing in line getting coffee and a woman who looked to be in her mid 60's was in front of me.  She was wearing a pair of black pants, and her jacket was belted like i wear mine, and she had on black flats.  Her hair was in a curly silvery/blondish bob and she stood tall and looked amazing.  I realized that she could have been 20 years old wearing this outfit and would have still looked amazing.  I think that is what is so great about this look, it is ageless.

So do tell me...what's your style?

The above outfit is my Brooks Bros jacket, Double RL vest, Old Navy chambray shirt, Double RL pants, Sergio Garcia oxfords.


  1. Janet,
    I really don't know how to answer that question..."my style" are clothes that feel good on, are washable, and flattering...they must be able to mix with most things that I own. I have a LOT of black and grey...love cashmere, jeans, and crisp white shirts.

    I do not have one designer to which I am exclusively faithful...I am fickle.
    I do love leggings at the moment and have been wearing longer tops with them.

    Your choices of RL seem to wotk well with your lifestyle and his brand is classic and the garments that he markets are timeless and sturdy.
    I love his ads too.
    It must be very easy to shop when you know what you are looking for :)

  2. I love Ralph too. I still love some of the his things that have been hanging in my closet for over 20 years.

  3. Love Ralph! I read a book last year about how he started his company with ties and how Tommy Hilfiger totally rips him off. I think it was called "The Death of Fashion"? but not sure now...it was fascinating. I'm looking on my bookshelves now and can't seem to locate it.

    I am not a person that is impressed by celebrities. They are people just like the rest of us...I might admire them for the jobs they have or the things they do...but I'm not one to rush up for an autograph.

    But one time about 17 years ago...I was in Santa Fe...walking the Plaza and passed Ralph and his staff of young men. They were standing in front of the Ralph Lauren store discussing the windows.

    Still I am not one to ask for an autograph.....but I raced back to my Mom to tell her who I'd seen. She was like Ralph who? That day....he looked exactly like all his photos....silver hair...tan and levis with one of his shirts and a jean jacket. I was more impressed by that than if I'd seen the president.

  4. I wear dresses and skirts, and I typically add a cardigan. When possible, I blend in a bit of vintage as well. I don't own a pair of jeans, so I struggle with my weekend/casual look.

    Sometimes I feel as if I look a bit too Miss Marple, so I have to figure out how to make myself a funkier version of Miss Marple.

  5. leslie - what i've seen of your style, i love. it fits you perfectly!

    kayce - me too. and i think your clothes def have a rl look too. how can they not?

    nita - i love your story. and i'm so with you. i'm rarely star struck but seeing him would really be awesome. oh, and i love your mom's response, priceless.

  6. gina - i'm the opposite of you as i usually only wear dresses in the spring and summer and the rest of the time live in jeans. it must be our lifestyles.

  7. I wish I knew exactly what my style is! It is vaguely about layering, soft fabrics, draping rather than clinging, unusual details but unfussy. Lots of flattering neutral colours in the winter and tomboyish tendancies. I think I might be reaching the age for more Structure!! Currently inspired by an old fashioned tailor in Norfolk, near where I spend my summers, which has apparantly become fashionable with the artistic East London set. Think you might love it, it is called Old Town in Holt, Norfolk.

  8. I hate to break it to you but....I sleep in Ralph's sheets, wear his pajamas, etc. I'm willing to share if you are.
    I live a casual life but like to dress well. RL clothes are timeless and I usually find them at TJMaxx at wonderful prices so like you, I add a piece here and there and everything blends together. They are the perfect mix of style and comfort.
    You look so good in all your outfits!

  9. belinda - i have always had tomboyish tendencies too in the way i'm dressed b/c i'm always doing tomboyish things!

    betty - what? are you saying you love ralph too! marshalls is another place to get lucky and thrift stores too.

  10. Janet,
    I would say my style is similar to yours - classic, I guess. But while I love RL, I don't have one particular designer that I prefer. Maybe I should...hmmmm. Karin

  11. Having worked for Ralph, I do love the classic design and that it has universal appeal, I need to think about adding some new items.

  12. Like you, I've strayed from my earlier style (of French Chic type girl). I was afraid of looking like a cliche, but now I have decided to embrace the classics and wear them with pride. Yesterday I wore a fitted scoop neck tshirt in red, well-fitting Wrangler jeans and cream leather ballet flats. Red/white/blue always makes me feel French. I have also embraced the little black dress for special occasions, a crisp white shirt, beige cotton trench, all the usuals in a list of ten must-haves.

    I simply adore your RL inspired style and love him, but in his clothes I feel like a preppy wannabe who just ends up frumpy. I don't know how to change this, I think I'm not tiny enough for that look. I'm definitely a solid 'medium' size.

    Thanks for this post. Your description is wonderful and very inspirational.

  13. New subscriber here! Being a style soulmate is just one of the reasons I've bookmarked your blog. Finally, someone I can relate to! PS, I've often felt that I must have been Catholic in a former life as I'm most comfortable in a "uniform". Like you, I've strayed and paid..but always come back to the classics. My home is similarly decorated and I adore Lauren fabrics!

  14. I like to think I have my own style. I do have a Lauren suit. Some shirts and ties. All quite beautiful, handsome. People have often commented on my clothes; more so in the past when I commuted from Western Massachusetts to New York City a few days each and every week for a printing company. But still, just last week, I went to a tailor to pick up a LLBean Winter Coat which needed some hemming of the sleeves (I have never been called "tall.") and a person in the store said to me as I walked in to the small space, "That's a great hat!" And a very long time ago, in high school, in fact, I was voted "Best Dressed."

  15. You wear Ralph well Janet - timeless and classic! I LOVE his pajamas. I buy them up whenever I see them at Marshall's department store. The fit is roomy but still flattering.
    And love all Ralph Lauren baby clothes! They're just as timeless as the adult lines.

  16. RL obviously leaves you feeling comfortable and confident cause thats how you look in the photo. His style suits you Janet.
    I've been investing in several dresses to wear all year round, made from cotton or silk fabric (I detest polyester). Our mild winters allow for a summer dress layered with leggings/tights, skivvy, boots and jacket. Used to be a fan of slacks but not so much nowadays. Although I will never part with my op shop well worn Earl jeans that I love to bits.
    I've been adventurous and added some colour to my usual black, white and grey palette and loving the change but these three mainstay colours are my wardrobe must haves.
    As long as I'm comfortable I'm happy.

  17. karin - your style sounds lovely as is.

    patricia - would love to hear more about your personal style.

    fiona - i've seen pics of you and the style you describe suits you perfectly. i don't feel too preppy but maybe a little rugged. like i'm up for anything!

    itztru - strayed but paid is such a perfect way of putting it. thanks and welcome here.

    bruce - thanks for giving a guys perspective. i adore menswear. i think the quality in menswear far surpasses that of women's wear. maybe that's the attraction.

    trina - i cannot remember the last pair of pj's that i've had that were not rl. you describe them perfectly.

    anne marie - yes, comfort is key. and your style sounds lovely. i have a pair of earls that i too adore.

  18. I'm sorry to say that lately my style has been anything I can fit my growing backside into. I think I'm classic style with a twist. I stick with solids usually and have a limited and very neutral color palate with a splash of pink here and there. You are tres chic!


  19. Hi Janet, I am truly loving your RL style and you have influenced me. But, though I am an average height/weight ratio I do have an hourglass figure and really have to be careful about using belts. Best to wear low- slung- around- the- hip belts for me. I would look schlumpy in brogues (alas, short legs!) so boots are better on me. But I LOVE ballet flats and somehow this usually works. I like to think of my style as Classic with a Twist! Allegra

  20. hi janet!!

    your blog design is truely a reflection of your
    personal style--clean, beautiful, quietly classic, comfortable. it's a pleasure to visit here!

    i was so impressed when you posted your fab casual outfit the other day...you looked great, dressed for whatever your day might bring.

    my everyday look, hopefully, doesn't reflect my true style. i had a photography business (for 20 years)--film, home darkroom, handtintinting, all the old fashioned works-- back home in alabama. (we moved to indiana last year) i did all of my shoots outside in natural light and was not only the photographer, but the props person-the funny, make-the-kids-smile-person, etc, etc. i also love to workout. so, i got in the really bad habit of throwing on my workout clothes (the ones that weren't too smelly) at 4 a.m in hopes that if i was dressed to work out, then i would actually make it to the gym. would often find myself still in the nike shorts and old tee-shirt at 10 p.m. ralph would not approve...

    bad habits are hard to kill...i still do that, even though i chose not to continue my business here in indiana.

    but, when i do kind of get dressed, i always feel most comfortable in ralph lauren sweaters/jackets, t-shirts and my fav paige jeans.

    guess i'm a hybrid gap/ralph girl.

    wow!! i just posted the nanne biographic novel of unstyle!

    sorry for the never ending comment!!


  21. It took me so long to think if i had a style I'm surprised the computer didn't shut down.

    In the winter I wear a few pairs of faithful black boots, my favorite being a beautiful pair b Donald Pliner, Uggs of course and cowboy boots with jeans of all shapes, sizes and prices.

    I wear black turtlenecks and granddad sweaters, t shirts in grays and blacks and now some moody shades of purple.

    I top them off with oversize sweaters and a black North Face vest or a little fitted brocade coat from Free People.

    I have a 100,000 scarves in different colors and several hats. Add black gloves and I'm off to ride the bus to work, walk 25 minutes and then do battle with flowers all day.

    Um, maybe I'd better get a style but it's TOO COLD to think about it this week!

    xo Jane

  22. Hi Janet!
    I couldn't agree with you more about Ralph Lauren. I didn't know he started at Brooks Brothers, but as soon as you mentioned it, it all made sense!
    I mentioned earlier that I always buy up big at RL and BB when in the States and fortunately I have had two holidays there this year.
    The clothes are timeless, classic, elegant and sophisticated, the way I like to describe my style (on some days!).
    I love that I can pull out a 5 year old blazer and integrate it into my wardrobe and get loads of compliments each winter.
    Here in Autralia, with Ralph Lauren, everything other than polos and boardshorts is frighfully expensive though, this is why I save all my shopping for the US.
    He is most certainly my favourite designer!

  23. julie - you are def classic with a twist. and i doubt your backside is growing.

    allegra - i too have to be careful with belts. i'm long waisted and if the belt sits wrong then it looks awful. another classic with twist girl.

    nanne - thanks for your novel! i doubt rl would approve of me either. it sounds like your hands are full and comfort is key.

    jane - umm, janie girl you got style. trust me.

    stylishshoegirl - i've heard that australia is v expensive. do you read faux fuchsia. she keeps me posted on prices there. glad you love rl too!

  24. Dear Janet, I love Ralph too, he is my very favorite. At my house the whole master bedroom is his 'Longmeadow'. Such great quality, washes like a dream and is 15 years old. I have been looking for a new set for about the last five years but I don't see anything I like better. I have a pair of black and white gingham capris, of his, that I love, they fit so good and feel so good have gotten loads of compliments on them. They look very 'Doris Day' or 'Audrey' and I wear black ballet flats with them. He is a wonderful man too. Love you Ralph. Hugs, Joyce

  25. I think you could wrap a paper bag around you and still look fabulous!
    I love and appreciate that you stay true to yourself what you are comfortable with - so many people run with every trend...how can you be comfortable when you look like everyone else.
    My style is girly comfortable - leggings, flats and pretty sweaters. I love pretty dresses too and anything with ruffles.
    Maybe some of your style will rub off on me! :)

  26. Wow - you always look beautiful and confident! I've been struggling with finding my style lately. I fell into the mom trap of t-shirt and jeans everyday - I definately need to break out a bit. Thanks for the inspiration!

  27. Love this look. I'm moving that way myself. I'm in the Pacific NW and can't seem to break out of the fleece/jeans/Dansko look. Dressier? I do a lot of Eileen Fisher. Her stuff has gotten much less frumpy in the past few seasons.

    How does your look translate to the warmer months? I'd love hear about your RL-inspired summer wardrobe.

  28. joyce - you are right in that a lot of his things just get better with age. i love that. and he does do a nice audrey look too.

    sarah - thanks sweetie, i love the sound of your look. it sounds just like you.

    rebecca - thanks and run out to the goodwill and get a tweed jacket now!

    ali - i think it's a lot colder where you are so i understand the fleece for sure. for the summer months think lightweight chambray shirts and white jeans with sandals.

  29. You look so pretty. I always think the RL safari perfume bottle is chic don't you? I don't wear much RL except the polo shirts in summer. My look is not RL, I'm not sure what it is. Sort of a groomed glam kind of colourful look I think. I don't know. It's so humid hair that my hair is ruined by frizz. xxx

  30. you look great in RL, I can see why he's your man! my style?? hummm... casual, I live in jeans. this time of year jeans tucked in boots or Uggs (actually Ugg-ettes as I get the same boot without the label at Costco;) I also have purchased some skirts this season, so that I can wear skirts, leggings and boot (riding type boots). oh, and scarves- lots of different scarves; again a necessity here! yep, I'm casual!

  31. RL definitely suits you, both physically and lifestyle-y. I do love his stuff and have several pieces (via Marshalls, of course), but my "look" is usually more Calvin Klein/French chic--lots of black, white shirts, black or white tees, a scarf, and Levis. I find that tailored clothes make me look military and severe, because I'm quite tall and broad-shouldered. Now that I've also got the joys of age-related sagging bits, softer lines are much more forgiving ;) But RL is exquisite and his fabrics are sublime.

  32. ff - yes, the bottle and what's in it. you are def well-groomed glam style with a touch of v pretty.

    joan - you sound like you have a little rl thing going on too. riding boots with jeans, throw on a tweed blazer and tally ho!

    meg - your look sounds v pretty and feminine. if i'm feeling too boyish, i'll put a rl ruffle shirt on and that helps.

  33. Hi Janet,

    I love your style! You look amazing! I too love Ralph Lauren and have always stayed true to that style or look. There are a few things I wish I had not tossed into Goodwill, but for the most part I just buy a few good things a year and have them tailored to fit perfectly and then mix in with a few things from the Gap or American Apparel.

    I was living in New Canaan when the Ralph Lauren store opened on Elm Street. You could not walk down the street without someone talking about a Ralph sighting in town...sadly I never got a glimpse of him.


  34. Love RL and love your style Janet. You look amazing always.
    I would say that my style is kind of similar - sort of relaxed casual with a jacket - the european equiv. of RL? Jane Birkin is my style icon I would say...XX

  35. Janet, are you going to post pics of your understated, simple, holiday decor (hint,hint)? Allegra

  36. Hi Janet,

    I remember when I was in my twenties Ralph Lauren was my favorite cologne, and to this day I still love the smell of Polo for men. Also back then I worked in La Jolla and went to the Ralph Lauren store there to buy a women's polo shirt, I think it was turquoise. I have a few other Ralph items around the house. So you see, I guess I had a thing for him too for a long time!


  37. One litte note to add:
    Your classic style is also nice when it comes to photos and memories--Photographs of you, whether you're in your 20's or 90's, will always be rather pleasant to look at because a cardigan sweater set, a basic black turtleneck, a white or denim shirt, etc. never go out of style. That, in the end, is definitely good taste! -Suzanne in Illinois

  38. annie - thank you and i suspected you as a rl woman too. too sad about the ralph sighting, i prob would have stalked him.

    sarah - i always hear you brits talking about jane birkin, i'm going to google her in a minute.

    allegra - you know i am.

    linda - i have a turquoise polo shirt too. and i adore the scent of polo.

    suzanne - you are so right about the clothing. but the hair, now that is a different story! sadly, mine was big and wild. it's really pretty funny.

  39. P.S. Did you see the Oct. issue of Elle Decor? They had a spread on Ralph's Manhattan home... :)


  40. Hi Janet,

    I love your style! I am not sure if we have Ralph Lauren for ladies in Holland. We do have his clothes for men. My husband often wears them.

    My style is a mix of classic, vintage and contemporary! I love black and pastels in winter and pastels and florals in summer. Lately I am starting to like red more and more!

    Wish you a happy weekend!

    Lieve groet, Madelief

  41. madelief - thank you and it sounds like you and your husband make quite a beautiful pair.

    crunchycon - rl is def classic american style, so beautiful. and thank you so much.

  42. Hi Janet,

    I was at the bookstore and saw that Ralph Lauren is on the cover of Feb. Architectural Digest and thought of this post...It looks gorgeous!


  43. Ok. I don't know how I missed this post. I think I was temporarily insane. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mr. Lauren. It is something I grew up with. I saved my pennies to buy his clothes. I refused to wear anything else. I am attracted to the classic feel too. It makes me feel happy and pulled together. I just bought another denim shirt and I am absolutely in heaven.

  44. I love RL and thanks to the thrift stores I have lots of RL T-shirts and blouses, jeans and shoes. I love it all and most of all I feel so glamorous when I'm wearing RL. Must remember to belt my jacket next time.

  45. Im from israel and i do LOVE Ralph lauren clothing.
    i buy soooo many of his clothes i just cannot get enough of them.
    the feel and the quality are so good and the style they have are pure classic.

    i love everything "american" and his clothes are what i imagine when i think about "american style" clothings.

    i simply LOVE him.

    and thank you so much for your great article :-)
    i loved redaing it.


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