TikTok Is Making the Case for Dressing Like Ralph Lauren's Polo Bear

collage of Ralph Lauren sweaters with polo bear
(Image credit: Ralph Lauren)

Gen Z Says is a bimonthly column chronicling the latest trends in the fashion and beauty space through the lens of Who What Wear's own Gen Z editors. Expect a download on the upcoming class of tastemakers, emerging designers, and shopping and style choices straight from the generation setting the trends.

I've seen quite a few stylish figures make the rounds on TikTok, from celebrities like Bella Hadid and Jennifer Lawrence to creators like Mandy Lee and Wisdom Kaye. The algorithm's latest fascination, however, caught me by surprise. It's not an A-lister wearing head-to-toe The Row or an influencer wearing trending brands like Sandy Liang and Ganni—it's Ralph Lauren's iconic polo bear. Yes, it's the little bear that's been plastered on sweaters, socks, and hats since the '90s and is always wearing a layered ensemble that can only be described as cool prep.

TikTok creator Lindy Goodson started the trend when she was wearing her Ralph Lauren sweater and found inspiration in the bear's outfit. "Come to think of it, this lil' dude is wearing a really freakin' cute outfit," said Goodson in her video, which has surpassed 10 million views since February. Now, when you scroll through the #dressinglikeapolobear hashtag, you'll find a trove of users curating bear-inspired outfits from their own wardrobe. While brands tend to create these trends for advertising purposes, it was the sheer opposite in this case. After the trend took off, Ralph Lauren started to include the dressing idea in its own marketing and influencer ads.


♬ original sound - Lindy

While I was initially surprised, it makes sense that such momentum was created from the bear's outfits. It's no secret that Gen Z is trying to make sense of what style means to them, and cuteness aside, the bear wears visually interesting outfits that feel true to Ralph Lauren and his design codes. The bear's outfits don't innately rely on trends, which is why it's able to stand out as a style star 30 years later. It might feel silly to tie so much meaning to a bear, but I'm a firm believer that inspiration can be found anywhere.

See the Polo Bear–Inspired Looks

Associate Fashion Editor
Yusra Siddiqui is an editor who resides in New Jersey but bounces between the suburbs and NYC. (She's a Jersey girl at heart.) After interning at Who What Wear in 2019, she found her way to the team after graduating from LIM College in 2022 with a fashion media degree. She's also spent time writing and working for publications such as Fashionista, Coveteur, and Nylon, but she always knew that Who What Wear was where she was meant to be. When she's on the job, she's perusing runway shows, analyzing the latest thing fellow Gen Zers are up to on the internet, and sharing what she can about the modest-fashion market. You can also catch her dabbling in entertainment, talking about the costume choices of the latest Netflix series or diving deeper into how the plotline affects the viewers in a myriad of ways. Lastly, she likes to create content for Who What Wear's TikTok. Her personal time is spent doing similar but also different things—deep diving into almost every new TV show (Bridgerton, Gilmore Girls, and Stranger Things are favorites), planning her next local getaway (whenever that may be), and reading the latest Emily Henry or Sally Rooney novel in one sitting.