Why Is Ralph Lauren Polo So Expensive? (+Ways to Save Money on Luxury Brand)

“Made to be worn.” The Ralph Lauren brand is a designer clothing label that all began in 1967 with a tie. This small idea spearheaded a clothing empire that is now a household name.

You may be thinking what makes this clothing different and why is Ralph Lauren so expensive? The answer lies in the idea that the brand represents.

Ralph Lauren is an expensive brand because it exudes style and utilizes classic designs. Most importantly though, it appeals to both the common man and the truly elite.

The success of the Ralph Lauren Corporation is directly related to the perception of high status that accompanies those who wear it.

Moreover, they use higher quality materials to make their products and the designers keep their clothing simple. They say that less is more. 

Ralph Lauren is a prime example of how true this statement is and how impressionable people can be when it comes to advertising. 

The History Of Ralph Lauren Fashion

Inspired by Old Hollywood, the Polo by Ralph Lauren brand opened its first storefront in 1971 on the famously fashionable Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. This spearheaded the opening of stores in major cities across the United States within that decade.

This escalated to the opening of their flagship Ralph Lauren store in 1986 in the famous Rhinelander Mansion in New York City.

Upon opening, Ralph Lauren stated that “this store is the essence of everything I have said since my first necktie. I want this to be more than a store.

I’m not just selling clothes. I’m selling a world, a notion of style.” Fast forward to the present day and this household name has launched a handful of sub-brands, donated to countless charities, and has even designed apparel for Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Moreover, Ralph Lauren has won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for womenswear and the Hall of Fame title for the menswear line (prior to the organization’s termination). 

However, what is unique about the brand is that it spans a myriad of styles. From ranch wear to sporting apparel, to country club chic and even formal garments, everyone can find a look that fits their needs.

Moreover, the high-end fabrics, premium leathers, and the quality handmade work that accompanies many of their products make them a luxury brand that you know will last.

The Power Of Perception

Studies indicate that “even when the price paid for a good has absolutely no relationship to its actual quality, consumers’ nonconscious beliefs about the price-quality relationship change their actual experience with the good.” This is referred to as the marketing placebo effect.

An example of this scenario would be if a person was told that Michael Kors is a luxury brand and thus, is more expensive. When compared to a Walmart brand, a company that also provides quality products, but at a lesser price, the implication is that it is a lesser caliber item.

This unconscious assumption of quality makes a person more willing to pay the extra cost for the item. The irony is that for basic products like sweatshirts, polo shirts, and casual wear, the only true differences are the design and the logo.

However, as mentioned above, Ralph Lauren is known for its simple apparel. Solid colors, cotton fabrics, and a standard fit are their bread and butter when it comes to their base merchandise.

Thus, with these products, you are paying for the image and the assumption of status that accompanies wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt — this can be an expensive investment for a basic t-shirt.

They Do Provide A Quality Product

In spite of the fact that many people will buy this brand just for the notion that it implies, Ralph Lauren is also known for making a genuinely impeccable product. Not only do they stray away from synthetic fabrics, but a large amount of their merchandise has handmade components.

They also import a lot of supplies from out of the country. These features do require more overhead and delivery fees. Therefore, it leads Ralph Lauren to put a more expensive price tag on items in order to make a profit.

Additionally, while cotton is not hard to come by, materials like doeskin, cashmere, suede, linen, silk and camel hair are premium fabrics that require an experienced tailor to craft them into excellent clothing pieces.

Moreover, the stitching is much more intricate with the Ralph Lauren sweaters than lesser-name brands. Everyone is familiar with a cable knit sweater. However, they also offer aran-knit and pointelle as well as custom designs and embroidered pieces.

These attributes also come at a cost.

Ralph Lauren Brands

Ralph Lauren is also expensive because the designers aspire to create effortless pieces that can be mixed and matched with any of their other products. However, they are also aware that in order to appeal to the masses, they must have a plethora of classic styles to choose from.

This is a compilation of some of their top brands, not including their charity and sports lines or home decor products.

Polo Ralph Lauren

This is Ralph Lauren’s most recognizable and most popular label. It features men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, and of course, the signature polo shirt that everyone knows and loves. Depending on the person you are shopping for, the prices range from tens to thousands of dollars.

However, this is one of the less expensive options if you are looking to splurge on this luxury brand.

Ralph Lauren Collection

The Collection is the quintessential representation of timeless women’s styles. This is Ralph Lauren’s main women’s line. It creates a seamless, clean and sophisticated look that is hard to mirror with other brands.

Ralph Lauren

As we all know, grandeur comes at an expensive cost. Thus, expect to spend at minimum $500 for the majority of these eye-catching Ralph Lauren pieces.

Ralph Lauren Purple Label

The Ralph Lauren Purple Label is their premier men’s line. It features a mix of iconic styles that are made to measure. This means that they are hand-measured, hand-crafted, and hand-tailored custom apparel that capture the classic European fashion trends.

Ranging from casual to formal wear, the prices are steep for items in this clothing category. They are comparable to the women’s line, if not more expensive. However, the personalized fit and uncompromising quality is hard to compare to other company’s products.

Double RL

Welcome to the Wild West! This clothing line embodies ranch life and the cowboy spirit. Considered western chic, they offer men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. Prices range between hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Ralph Lauren leather goods, jewelry and Rolex watches are worth the expensive bill for those who can swing it. Nonetheless, most people would agree that an item with a “work shirt” in the name should probably be well under $200. This is especially true if you intend to actually work in it.

Lauren Ralph Lauren

Whether your style is a classic nautical theme or a more laid-back Native American vibe, the Lauren line has you covered. Moreover, TheLaurenLook.com provides women with clothing rentals! Try and then decide if you want to buy. This is the only line under the Ralph Lauren umbrella that offers this type of service. However, the price tag is similar to their more high-end options.


Chaps is the brand for the common man. The Chaps line is not sold on the official Ralph Lauren site. Instead, it is extremely affordable men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing is sold at stores like Kohl’s and Belk as well as on Amazon.

All of their clothing is well under $100. Moreover, it mimics the premium designs that you expect from the Ralph Lauren name.

How To Save On The Ralph Lauren Style?

There are ways to achieve this dapper look without breaking the bank. First, shop the sales to avoid the expensive Ralph Lauren price tag. Next, consider visiting one of the retailers that sell Ralph Lauren products.

These can many times come at a much more reduced price than shopping from a Flagship location. Department stores like Dillard’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, TJ Max, Marshalls, even Walmart, and Men’s Wearhouse are just some of the locations that carry this coveted brand.

Moreover, Ralph Lauren outlets sell their older designs for a reduced cost. Unless you have to wear this season’s looks, buying last year’s sweater styles can cut the cost tremendously.

Additionally, look at their less expensive clothing lines such as Chaps or Polo Ralph Lauren. This can still provide you with a quality product at a lesser cost.

Also, for those looking for high-end timepieces, Ralph Lauren watches will run you anywhere between $1750 to $108,000! Thus, if you are looking for a luxury watch without the excessively expensive price tag, consider purchasing a Bulova watch.

These are beautiful accessories that can run under $1000. Adorned with diamonds and made with stainless steel, it gives the illusion of wealth. It also simultaneously provides users with more features, like water resistance, compared to the RL line!

Finally, if you truly want the timeless look that comes with a Ralph Lauren purchase, contemplate renting the look instead of buying it outright. The Lauren Look provides the style that you covet at a more economical price.

Final Thoughts

Ralph Lauren is an expensive brand. However, when worn, it implies a certain level of status in society. It exudes cultural depictions of a prestigious lifestyle and true sophistication. Someone who is capable of spending these exorbitant amounts on a blouse or sweatshirt must be well to do.

Remember that when buying casual wear, you are paying for the brand, not the actual product. The signature polo player on the galloping horse does signify uncompromising style. It is important to remember though that a cotton shirt is a cotton shirt.

Conversely, when looking at their high fashion pieces, there is a great amount of care and detail put into making these high-quality clothes. Thus, while expensive, Ralph Lauren lines like The Purple Label and The Collection can be worth the money if you can afford the items.

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