The Style Counsel, weekly advice on fashion and manners for the modern UFV gent, runs every week in The Cascade’s Culture section. Questions, comments, or suggestions may be submitted to Mr. Palakon through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn is now fully upon us, and with it comes all the games of the season. Hockey will soon be blaring from every bar TV from here to St. John’s, baseball playoffs are near (ah, yes, the “World” series — we used to call it rounders, you know) and American football is in full swing. I quite enjoy sports, even played a bit of rugger back in the day, and I am not too snobby to admit liking chicken wings, lager, and a brief sense of pub camaraderie. But that joy is always tempered by the accompanying breakout of the ill-fitting, garish colours sports fans insist on flying. Men will be boys, apparently.
Since baseball first commissioned licensed caps that could be sold to fans in the mid-20th century, team wear has become a fashion constant. Being a dedicated supporter is something to be applauded. Dressing up as if you’re the one warming up on-deck is to be avoided. Some tips:
You may wear one piece of team merchandise at a time. Double-dipping in this regard is just tacky, so if you’re wearing a Jays cap, give the Donaldson jersey a miss. (The only exception to this rule would be the Superbowl, a cup final, or other similarly big matches you are viewing or attending.) And it goes without saying that wearing two pieces of sportswear from two different teams at the same time is simply ridiculous. Stick to advertising only one of your allegiances at a time — leave us with a little mystery, at least.
Go big. Mirroring the trend in most casual wear, sports jerseys are now being cut much slimmer these days. As you are likely not a professional athlete, it is possible you may not have the physique to pull off a torso-hugging Puma soccer shirt. Rule of thumb: Go one size bigger. Genteel aesthetics — and your self-esteem — will likely thank you.
You don’t actually play for your team. Just about every major sports league now allows fans to personalize their team shirts. Putting another man’s name on your back is iffy at best, especially if he’s younger than you. Putting your own is simply bizarre. The alternative? Go classic. Pick a past legend of your team and celebrate some tradition. Trust me, a Habs jersey with Beliveau or Richard will stand the test of time far longer than anyone wearing Pacioretty.
No team face paint. Ever. You’re not six years old. Stop it.
Time and place, gentlemen. Places where it is acceptable to wear a team’s jersey: Sports bar. Poker night. A day in the park. Saturday afternoons running errands. Taking it easy at home. At an actual sporting event (and even then, make sure one of the team’s you’re wearing is actually playing). Most chain restaurants. Places it is not: Just about anywhere else.
The plus side to all of this is that there is an abundance of stylish team wear out there now. Teams spend a lot on their branding, so there are some pretty snappy jackets, hoodies, and tees for just about any sport franchise now. Resist the shopping mall impulse; buy and shop around online. You’ll be able to find something that proves your undying support while still looking pretty sharp.
Unless you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan. That stuff is just hideous.