What’s the Difference Between Polo and Ralph Lauren? Ultimate Guide for 2023

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what’s the difference between polo and ralph lauren

1. The Founder of Polo: Who Started the Iconic Brand?

The Beginnings of Polo

The iconic brand Polo was founded by Ralph Lauren, an American fashion designer. Born Ralph Lifshitz in 1939 in New York City, Lauren grew up in a working-class family and developed a passion for fashion at an early age. He started his career in the fashion industry as a tie salesman, but soon realized his true calling was in creating his own designs.

The Birth of Polo

In 1967, Ralph Lauren launched his first line of menswear under the name “Polo.” The brand initially focused on creating high-quality ties with a unique preppy aesthetic. The success of his tie collection led Lauren to expand into other clothing items, such as shirts and suits, all carrying the distinctive Polo logo.

Ralph Lauren’s vision for the Polo brand was to create timeless and classic pieces that exuded sophistication and elegance. His attention to detail and commitment to quality quickly gained recognition within the fashion industry, establishing Polo as a leading brand for menswear.

2. Polo’s Establishment: When Was the Brand Established?

The Year of Inception

Polo, now known as Ralph Lauren’s flagship brand, was established in 1967. It all began with Ralph Lauren’s desire to create high-end ties that stood out from what was available in the market at that time.

A Revolutionary Approach

When Polo was introduced, it revolutionized men’s fashion by offering vibrant colors and bold patterns on its ties. This departure from traditional designs caught the attention of customers who were looking for something fresh and unique.

As the popularity of Polo ties grew rapidly, Ralph Lauren decided to expand the brand’s offerings beyond ties. This marked the beginning of Polo as a comprehensive menswear line, encompassing shirts, suits, and other accessories.

Today, Polo is not only recognized for its iconic polo shirts but also for its wide range of clothing and accessories that cater to both men and women. The brand’s establishment in 1967 laid the foundation for Ralph Lauren’s empire and set the stage for its continued success.

3. Ralph Lauren’s Association with Polo: The Connection Explained

The Origins of the Polo Brand

The association between Ralph Lauren and Polo can be traced back to the origins of the Polo brand itself. In 1967, Ralph Lauren launched his first line of menswear under the name “Polo.” Inspired by his love for the sport and its sophisticated aesthetic, Lauren sought to create a brand that embodied the timeless elegance and refinement associated with polo.

The Expansion into Lifestyle Brand

Over time, the Polo brand expanded beyond just clothing and became a lifestyle brand encompassing various product categories such as fragrances, accessories, home goods, and even restaurants. This expansion allowed Ralph Lauren to establish a strong presence in different aspects of consumers’ lives while maintaining the essence of luxury and sophistication that is synonymous with both Polo and Ralph Lauren.

The Shared Values

The connection between Ralph Lauren and Polo goes beyond just branding. Both entities share a commitment to quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a sense of classic American style. This shared vision has allowed Ralph Lauren to seamlessly integrate the Polo brand into his wider fashion empire while maintaining its distinct identity.

4. Ralph Lauren: How He Became Synonymous with High-End Fashion

A Visionary Approach to Design

Ralph Lauren’s journey towards becoming synonymous with high-end fashion can be attributed to his visionary approach to design. From the beginning, he aimed to create clothing that exuded luxury and sophistication while remaining accessible to a broader audience. His ability to combine traditional elements with modern sensibilities set him apart from other designers in the industry.

Influence on American Fashion

Another factor that contributed to Ralph Lauren’s prominence in high-end fashion was his influence on American style. He redefined what it meant to be stylishly American by incorporating elements of preppy, sporty, and classic aesthetics into his designs. This unique blend resonated with consumers, making Ralph Lauren a go-to brand for those seeking timeless elegance.

Attention to Branding and Marketing

Ralph Lauren’s success can also be attributed to his meticulous attention to branding and marketing. He created a lifestyle image around the Ralph Lauren brand that evoked a sense of luxury and aspiration. From iconic advertisements featuring polo players to sponsoring prestigious events like Wimbledon, Ralph Lauren strategically positioned himself as a purveyor of high-end fashion.

5. Polo vs. Ralph Lauren: Are They Separate Entities or Sub-Brands?

The Relationship Between Polo and Ralph Lauren

The relationship between Polo and Ralph Lauren is often a subject of confusion for consumers. While they are distinct entities, Polo is actually a sub-brand under the larger umbrella of Ralph Lauren Corporation. The Polo brand operates independently but shares the same overarching vision and design aesthetic as the Ralph Lauren brand.

Polo’s Focus on Sportswear

One key distinction between Polo and Ralph Lauren lies in their product offerings. The Polo brand primarily focuses on sportswear, including polo shirts, sweaters, and other casual apparel inspired by the sport itself. On the other hand, Ralph Lauren encompasses a wider range of clothing categories, including formalwear, accessories, fragrances, and home goods.

The Interplay Between the Brands

While Polo operates as its own sub-brand, there is often an interplay between Polo and Ralph Lauren in terms of design inspiration and collaboration. Elements from the sportswear-focused Polo line can be seen incorporated into certain collections under the broader Ralph Lauren brand. This synergy allows both brands to complement each other while maintaining their individual identities.

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6. Design Differences: Spotting Distinct Styles in Polo and Ralph Lauren


Polo is known for its classic and preppy designs that often feature the iconic polo player logo. The brand’s aesthetic is rooted in traditional American sportswear, with a focus on clean lines, bold colors, and timeless silhouettes. Polo’s designs often incorporate elements such as button-down collars, cable-knit sweaters, and chino pants.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren, on the other hand, offers a wider range of styles that cater to different tastes and preferences. While still maintaining a sense of classic elegance, Ralph Lauren designs can vary from casual and bohemian to luxurious and sophisticated. The brand is known for its attention to detail and use of high-quality materials.

Distinctive Features:

  • Polo: Classic American sportswear with clean lines and bold colors.
  • Ralph Lauren: Versatile styles ranging from casual to luxurious.

7. Pricing Comparison: How Do Polo and Ralph Lauren Differ in Price?

When it comes to pricing, there are differences between Polo and Ralph Lauren due to their target markets and brand positioning.


Polo offers a more affordable price range compared to Ralph Lauren. This allows the brand to appeal to a broader customer base who are looking for quality clothing at a more accessible price point. However, even though Polo may be more budget-friendly than Ralph Lauren, it still maintains the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren positions itself as a luxury brand with higher price points compared to Polo. The brand’s focus on premium materials, intricate designs, and superior craftsmanship contributes to its higher pricing. Ralph Lauren’s target customers are willing to invest in high-quality and timeless pieces that exude sophistication and elegance.

Pricing Comparison:

  • Polo: More affordable with accessible price points.
  • Ralph Lauren: Luxury brand with higher price points.

8. Targeting Different Demographics: Who Does Polo and Ralph Lauren Appeal to?

Both Polo and Ralph Lauren have distinct target demographics, although there may be some overlap between the two brands.


Polo primarily appeals to a younger demographic, often associated with college students or those who appreciate a preppy style. The brand’s classic designs and more affordable pricing make it attractive to individuals looking for timeless yet budget-friendly fashion choices. Polo also has a strong following among sports enthusiasts due to its sportswear roots.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren targets a slightly older demographic that appreciates luxury and sophistication. The brand appeals to individuals who value high-quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, and timeless elegance. Ralph Lauren’s diverse range of styles allows it to cater to various tastes and preferences within this demographic.

Target Demographics:

  • Polo: Younger individuals, college students, preppy style lovers.
  • Ralph Lauren: Older individuals seeking luxury and sophistication.

9. One Store, Two Brands? Finding Both Polo and Ralph Lauren in the Same Boutique

In some boutiques or department stores, you may find both Polo and Ralph Lauren collections available for purchase under one roof.

Coexistence in Boutiques

These boutiques often cater to customers who appreciate both brands and offer a diverse selection of clothing and accessories from Polo and Ralph Lauren. This allows shoppers to explore different styles and find pieces that align with their personal preferences, whether they lean towards the classic preppy aesthetic of Polo or the versatile luxury of Ralph Lauren.

Benefits of Coexistence:

  • Convenience for customers who enjoy both brands.
  • Opportunity to discover new styles within one store.

10. Notable Collaborations: Memorable Partnerships Between Polo and Ralph Lauren

Over the years, both Polo and Ralph Lauren have collaborated with various designers, artists, and celebrities, resulting in unique and memorable collections.

Polo Collaborations

Polo has collaborated with notable brands such as Brooks Brothers, Palace Skateboards, and Opening Ceremony. These collaborations often bring a fresh perspective to Polo’s classic designs by incorporating elements from different subcultures or adding a contemporary twist. They attract a younger audience while staying true to the brand’s heritage.

Ralph Lauren Collaborations

Ralph Lauren has partnered with renowned designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Thom Browne, and Rachel Zoe. These collaborations showcase the brand’s ability to merge its timeless elegance with the distinctive styles of these designers. The result is collections that appeal to fashion-forward individuals seeking unique and exclusive pieces.

Notable Collaborations:

  • Polo: Brooks Brothers, Palace Skateboards, Opening Ceremony.
  • Ralph Lauren: Karl Lagerfeld, Thom Browne, Rachel Zoe.

In conclusion, Polo and Ralph Lauren are two distinct but interconnected entities. While Polo is a specific line of clothing and accessories created by Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren refers to the overall brand that encompasses various lines, including Polo. Understanding this difference helps to clarify the relationship between the two and provides insight into the diverse offerings of the Ralph Lauren brand.

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