There's just something about sports uniforms that makes men who still blithely don the flannel shirts they were wearing when they heard Kurt Cobain died feel the need to weigh in on color combinations, trim, piping, texture, and accessories.
I am one of these men. This is my prized possession. I bought it in 1995 for $10.
Therefore, when three different publicists sent me three different e-mails announcing The San Francisco-based Womens' Professional Soccer league's grand uniform-unveiling fashion show last night, I felt uniquely qualified to channel Mr. Blackwell for a day and play fashion critic. The good news: There's not a bad uniform in the bunch, and the WPS has far outclassed other fledgling leagues. The bad news? Read on. (Click on photos for a larger version)
The "Next Time, DO Something to the Template" Division
St. Louis Athletica: Okay, so we have a white jersey and a green jersey -- and that's it. Just as the San Francisco Giants actually put forward the team motto "Your SF Giants," you could make the joke that the St. Louis Athletica simply forgot to design a uniform and turned in the template. Let's put it this way: When Hope Solo (left) looks less than scintillating, the problem isn't with Hope Solo. Kudos to St. Louis for mixing and matching the shorts and jerseys; with rare exceptions, monochromatic uniforms are a blight on the national character.
Blue Sky FC: We're not sure why a team playing in the vast New York/New Jersey market would leave that out of the team name -- or, with all the distinctively N.Y./N.J. items (taxis, mobsters, dirty-water hot dogs) the squad chose the amorphous title of "Blue Sky" -- wouldn't "Gray Sky" have been better for The City? Our aforementioned distaste for monochromatic sportswear is only heightened when the colors put forward are eggshell blue and Halloween orange. You can dazzle with aggressive orange -- but not with monochromism! Still, it could be worse.
Boston Breakers: Beantown used to be an underachieving sports city with a chip on its shoulder the size of the U.S.S. Constitution. Now they win everything. But they don't win the "Best Uniforms in the WPS" competition. Not even close. That black-and-white soccer ball logo would look less out of place on a Dorchester Youth League and the shoulder piping and oddly cut
shorts skirts (a partial league
template) are unbecoming; the latter looks like something Gerard Butler might have worn in 300.
The "Thanks For Trying" Division
Chicago Red Stars: It warrants mentioning that this is the only squad that went with the across-the-chest design common for professional soccer teams. When we asked a league publicist if the WPS avoided across-the-chest designs because it hadn't yet lined up advertisers for the uniforms or because of the difficulties presented by athletes with breasts, she was uncertain. In any case, Chicago's jersey proves it can be done -- but not here. I can't tell if this logo would be more apropos for the Irgun, a Communist Youth organization, or some hipster who wants to puzzle people with his or her ambiguous sexuality but is afraid of tattoo needles. Either way, Ajax fans will love the Chicago Red Stars.
The "Nice, Nice, Not Thrilling, But Nice" Division
All photos | Courtesey of Puma, the WPS, and Stuart Ramson. Used with permission.