Field Theory by Hadyn Green


Sports and: fashion

It's Friday and I'm starting a new tradition (heck the NZRU seem to be doing it why can't I?). Friday is going to be "Sports and…" day. So I'm starting today with Sports and fashion. Or to be more specific uniforms.

I am a big fan of uniforms. I love pouring over the little details and intricacies of the uniforms. I love throwbacks. I love seeing how new designers reinvent classic colour schemes. But most of all I love bitching and moaning when a uniform design sucks.

As such the Uni-Watch blog (and its associated ESPN column) is like mana from heaven. Strangely Paul Lukas, who writes Uni Watch, is very much against all black uniforms, making him no fan of our favourite team.

Friday is also "team day". It's the day you can wander into work wearing your sports affiliation proudly and expect to get absolutely no stick from anyone.

As I write this I'm wearing one of my three New York Mets t-shirts. This one is in royal blue with the classic Mets orange script (with black drop-shadow) and has "Santana" in radial arching across the back with "57" beneath. Every one of those aspects is important.

If the text wasn't radially arched it would be incorrect. If the text didn't have the drop-shadow it would be incorrect (though technically the shadow is a recent addition). Correctness is something that uniform purists (or perhaps pedants or even pendants) need to have.

Canterbury (the clothing brand not the province) has been very influential recently in creating some of the worst uniforms ever. Chief among these has been the invention of the Walla-bra. The Walla-bra is the section of "sticky" material that runs across the chest of the Wallabies uniform.

All international uniforms made by Canterbury seem to have this now and it is incredibly ugly. How ugly is it? It makes Bryan Habana look even more ridiculous.

The latest victim has been our own Dan Carter. His new team Perpignan have two strips with the Walla-bra: powder blue (good) and yellow and orange (bad).

Speaking of Canterbury, the Air New Zealand Cup has seen a lot of team with brand new Canterbury uniforms. And most of them are awful. However I do really like Auckland. They have a new strip with thinner stripes that give them more of a sailor/prisoner/Frenchman look.

Other teams have lost something. Wellington has lost their 8-ball on the collar because, well, there are no more collars. The big O of Otago has shrunk.

Actually I'm kind of annoyed at the boringness of the Canterbury uniforms. They look all "futuristic" I suppose, but they all look the same. The uniforms are too uniform. For example the Perpignan uniform is exactly the same as all of the ANZ Cup uni but in a garish yellow and orange. Boo Canterbury, booo!

Of the non-Canterbury international uniforms I am a big fan of the Samoan strip. They have traditional "tattoos" drawn onto the sleeves and lower back; the blue and white make for a good combo; and how can you hate those socks? Now if they can just change that font.

Overall though, you can't go past old uniforms (throwbacks) for class.

Despite the disputed date of the photo look at the clean lines of these uniforms. Note that there are no patches, no logos, no advertising clutter. The traditional square for the uni-number always seemed strange to me but it works better when the uniforms are clean of the other distractions. For the French team, notice that they have no crest on their chest, those are only worn in international tests. Also they have tri-colour socks (compare to this shot where the tri-colour is in stripes at the top).

And of course it's nothing like what the two teams wear now.

I bashed the long-sleeved gold uniforms of the Australians a while ago and I stand by that. It's clear the forwards didn't like the long sleeves as they had rolled them up. And the shirts were the same colour as the ball! Surely that's cheating. Actually in this shot you can see that the ball even has "Wallaby" written on it, how was that fair?

The worst uniforms in New Zealand sport are usually worn by our cricketers though. We love the retro-ness of the beige and even the weird grey, blue, red and green thing. But quite frankly there have been some hideous things worn on the cricket pitch, and usually by the Australians. Speaking of cricket uniforms, luckily they don't need to be fire-proof, yet.

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