Don’t Label me: No logos, brands, or pictures

I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but I don’t wear clothing with logos, words, or graphic images. It has been about 10 years since I abandoned logo’d clothing (minus a few pieces of technical outerwear). There are lots of reasons why, but primarily it is because I want to be see as a person and not as a product of a brand, but this week I was tested. 
Striped SweaterAs I was finishing up some Christmas shopping I spotted a great sweater at Ralph Lauren. It was the striped sweater pictured above. I have been looking for a striped sweater for a while now and this one fit the bill. Great colors, perfect scale, and because I was at the Polo outlet I assumed a great price. The icing on the cake was that there was no polo horse.

I rushed over to the sweater only to realize that the iconic polo horse had been tucked away underneath of it. To make things worse the price was $49.99 with 40% off. In the world of Trad clothing that is essentially free. I stood there contemplating how I could make it work. Would it be possible to remove the embroidered logo? Would it be the worst thing if I wore a logo’d sweater outside of the office? Could I make an exception this one time?

Ultimately, I decided to pass on the sweater. Now that I am back home and the decision has been made I am glad that I stuck to my guns. This experience was a good one as it gave me a reason to reevaluate my stance on logos. It also gave me a nice sweater to share with those who don’t have logo issues.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

20 Comments on "Don’t Label me: No logos, brands, or pictures"

  1. Doug says:

    I am in general agreement with you about logos and the like, but I will make an occasional exception if it’s something that’s small and if the company has earned it. Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, even Vans…If it’s a company that is genuinely legendary in their space, I’ll sometimes go for it but those are by far the exceptions to the rule.

  2. Beverly Carlton says:

    I am likeminded but make one additional exception: Lacoste. Polo shirts seem naked without a logo, and the crocodile just looks right.

    • Hollywood Argyle says:

      I have to agree with you: that’s the one logo I can accept on a tennis shirt. Other than that, forget it. At present, all my tennis shirts are logo-free; I would get some from Lacoste if they weren’t so expensive!

  3. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I pretty much agree with you on not wearing logos. Ralph Lauren is a brand that does often offer options in style that are hard to refuse. However, often times that logo kills what would otherwise be a descent product. I think this is a maturity level thing. You just outgrow certain things. Also, in my part of the world Gang Bangers like to buy Ralph Lauren and show off the logo to a grotesque level. That has bothered me for some years now.
    However, I am about to be a hypocrit. I have to admit I like Lacoste and the logo has a lot to do with it. It just reminds me of my youth and an era when there was great clothing available. Also, sometimes brands have great embroideries as logos, and they bring something positive to the clothing. I don’t know if any of you guys can remember a brand called The Sporting Life. They had an absolutely beautiful embroidery of a Mallard as the logo.

  4. Gary says:

    Good on ya for sticking to your guns! I’m with you on this, especially when it comes to garments that “should not” have even the smallest visible logo, and for me, these garments include button-up shirts, sweaters, and outerwear. This means, however, that some garments may have logos as the logo is virtually associated with the garment, and in fact, sans logo, the garment looks a little weird, even generic. For me, logos, discretly, belong on polo shirts, rugby shirts, and some swim trunks (my mind goes back to the little feet of the great Hang Ten swim trunks I owned in the 1970s). On a sweater, though… never!

    I’m sure you’ll find a great striped sweater without a logo.

  5. I’m with you all the way. I have to say, while living in Paris some years ago I came across a particularly good deal on a couple of Lacoste Polo shirts and managed to get the logos off. It took a magnifying glass and an Exacto knife, but mission accomplished. Photos upon request.

  6. CAY says:

    It’s funny, I have several OCBDs made by Ralph and wear them frequently. They have, of course, the polo-guy logo on the breast. For some reason, that doesn’t bother me. Same with T-shirts. No logo problem there. I would never, however, wear a sweater with an RL Polo logo. For me, sweaters shouldn’t sport a logo. I guess I just have a split personality when it comes to shirts vs. sweaters.

    I’ve never tried this, but often thought it might be possible to remove the logo on RL Polo sweaters with a single-edge razor. They are well made and look excellent. I’ve never tried to remove any logos, though.

  7. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I just did an inventory, and found I possess a Ralph Lauren sweater with the logo. Also, I have two short-sleeve shirts with the logos. I am going to continue wearing them even after all of this damning diatribe. There are no limits to what I wiil do.

  8. George says:

    I’m proud that you didn’t cave. Pushers, pimps, prostitutes, and publicity men will dangle shiny things in front of the weak. Then, once you cross over to the dark side, there’s little chance of coming back. I’m cheering you from a perch of like mind. That model at the bar? She’s a viscous, clinging gold-digger. Just say, “No.” Way to go. Now, go have three fingers of single malt, one big swig.

  9. Minimalist Trad says:

    For some of us, even the smallest logo is ostentatious.
    We immediately the delete the “Sent from my iPhone” message from our new phones.
    However, I would not advise trying to remove logos from polo shirts, even with magnifying glasses X-acto knives, or razor blades.
    One stands a fair chance of making an irreperable hole.
    Best bet is to stick with generic polos.

  10. Fading Fast says:

    I don’t like logos as, like you, I don’t like advertising a brand or being associated with one, but my exceptions are as follows:
    – Lacoste crocodile as that was Rene Lacoste’s nickname on the tennis court so it is integral to the origins of the shirt (and I like the logo).
    – Paul Stuart’s man-on-a-fence logo as the logo is elegant (looks like a 1930s magazine illustration) and hardly known
    – Tone on tone ones that all but disappear (Brooks does this a lot)
    – Logos on the back of jeans (like Levis) as good luck finding them without and it seems organic to the product
    Also, like you, when I have been tempted, I’ve stuck to my guns and never regretted it. For some reason, while I really like Ralph Lauren clothes, I can’t stand that polo pony and have absolutely none even though I own a reasonable amount of his clothes.

  11. John Ashby says:

    “Legible” clothing is part of what psychologists call an “emblem”, an identifying mark a person uses to display association with a particular group of his/her choosing. Houses, automobiles, vacations, clothing, restaurant choices, country clubs, hobbies, mannerisms, hair styles, speech patterns, even religion are all emblems. Indeed, logoless clothing is also an emblem. Me, I too shy away from logos of any type on clothing, except in the case of unusual bargains. MY group association emblem is that I stand tall as an individual. Yeah, I appreciate the irony. Generally, legible clothing is an effort to show one has the money to spend on form beyond basic function. Fine clothing has no logo other than its fine quality fabric and tailoring (and sometimes some hand-applied do-dads of no function).

  12. NaturalShoulder says:

    My foray into the world of trad came through Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger in the mid to late 80s, so I have plenty of logoed wear. As I have gotten older, I have avoided purchasing items with visible labels and logos. I still do have some older Ralph Lauren polo shirts which I still wear. The only exception I have made is the purchase of a Lacoste vintage polo in which the logo is the same color as the shirt, so it is not as ostentatious. Since that purchase, I have discovered the O’Connells polo shirts which offer great qualify at a better price and are logo-free.

    Good for you in sticking to your principles.

  13. Hollywood Argyle says:

    I have quite a few PRL ponies on my socks, where they will almost never be seen. Other than that, I have zero polo ponies. Like you, I just won’t wear logos, except when unavoidable (tennis shoes, sunglasses, some outdoor wear, etc.).

    Last year, PRL had a striped sweater in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders colors & pattern—with no logo! I jumped, of course, and wear it whenever I can. It’s a crew neck/boat neck hybrid (more like the former than the latter), which I find annoying but manageable.

    Good luck finding a logo-free striped sweater!

  14. CSG says:

    Like many of you, I also try to avoid logos unless I want to be associated with the brand in some manner for some reason. The only RL product I own is a great navy blue sweatshirt from some years ago but it has the little red pony person on it. I wouldn’t object to their logo on one of their ball caps, however. But shirts, sweaters, etc.? No.

    The Lacoste polo shirt is absolutely OK IMO but the RL and others logo polo shirts are not.

  15. fred johnson says:

    I may be the only dissenting voice here but I will go ahead anyway. I have several PRL sweaters, in cotton, lambswool and shetland, however ONLY the cotton ones have the logo and it does not bother me in the least. The sweaters are well made and easy maintenance; just pop in the washer and dryer on low heat. My logo sweaters are solid color cotton crewnecks and very casual. Having said that however, the logo IS visually out of place on a striped sweater and best avoided.

  16. Matthew says:

    I have a rather weird instance of buying something logo-ed on purpose.

    Most RLPL polos don’t have the iconic pony logo, but I found one that does. I liked the idea of my $350* Purple Label being mistaken for an everyday “$30 at the outlet” model.

    (* – retail price, not actual purchase price)

  17. L-feld says:

    Every now and then, I think about having SSEW create an “L-Feld” logo and sending them a bunch of my shirts to be embroidered.

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