Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rugby - Stanford Shopping Center

Of course the rugby shirt is a staple at Rugby boutiques, but Ralph Lauren's new line for the well-heeled college student is so much more. Preppy meets punk rock with a nod to school uniforms and little bit of pirate in cute, age-appropriate outfits. On the boys side, jeans are slimmer, a welcome departure from the baggy, gang-banger look that's still found in Target, Sears, Costco, and other places men shop. A couple of three piece suits, all sold as separates, were more fashionable than Banana Republic but not too far forward to scare away the college student looking to dress for success. On the girls side, branded hoodies and tank tops share shelf space with mini skirts in skull & crossbones prints, jeans and tote bags emblazoned with the Jolly Roger logo. Pretty preppy blouses, such as men's-style dress shirts with ruffles added to them, pleated skirts, trousers, and cardigans are fit to be worn to work, while still being young and fun. Think of a punk version of Allie McGraw in Love Story or a sexy version of Annie Hall.

Most heavily branded clothing is obnoxious, but, for some reason, this label works. First of all the logo is a skull and crossbones, Jolly Roger style. Second, the label, Rugby, though it is plastered on much of the clothing in the store, doesn't seem like a label. Third, I haven't seen in it in every mall and shopping outpost. Ralph Lauren says the Rugby store will only be opened in college towns, adding cache to the brand.

369 Stanford Shopping Ctr
Palo Alto, CA 94304

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