Ralph Lauren: What I've Learned

As he announces he is stepping down as CEO, we revisit the time the American style guru told us what life has taught him so far

I started with a necktie. I had a vision of a classical look that no one else was doing and I made the ties wider. They were a novelty to a lot of people. But they came back for more.

I've had people come over when I'm out shopping: "Ralph, what do you think of this? I'm looking to buy it, but my wife's not sure." And if I don't think it's right for them, I say so. "I think it's too tight," or "Not your style." They know I wouldn't steer them wrong.

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I'm not a polo player, that's for sure. But I ride horses out west.

Men are much more loyal to labels than women. As they get older, they rely on certain stores and salesmen. If the salesman is good then he builds a relationship with the client and the guy comes back. I have friends who I say to, "Why don't you want to buy my things?" And they go, "Well, this other store takes very good care of me." It pays to look after people.

Double denim? I don't have a problem with that.

When your life is threatened, you pay attention to what you might end up missing. I wouldn't recommend anyone to go through getting a tumour [Lauren was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour in 1987]. But it was a blessing in some ways. I also think it's good if people can appreciate things before they have problems.

I don't have vices. You won't find me with a large Scotch and a cigar in the evening.

Enjoy your family. Do things that you like to do. Stay strong. That's the secret to remaining happy.

Woody Allen always had his own style. He was always able to do his own thing. It's very consistent with him. I always was inspired by Woody Allen.

My kids don't wear other brands too much. At least, not around me.

This article was first published in 2013.

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