Uniform thinking

Sports uniforms are a bit of a pet peeve for me. I feel that for every professional sport there are a few conventions that define the look of a player of a given sport that define that particular sport so well that it’s more than a little jarring when these standards are contravened.  For example, shorts in hockey, stirrups in baseball, etc..

NFL uniforms are curious in that until recently the jersey’s were generally void of obvious team logos or names. Even the numbering wasn’t particularly distinctive until the last 20 years or so. There wasn’t much to separate a college uniform from a pro uniform. Even between pro uniforms there were only the colors and the distinctive striping.  Famously the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals had nearly identical uniforms due to a long running feud between the owners.  It’s the striping that I’m annoyed about today, specifically the shoulder stripes…

There are a variety of ways that stripes are applied to football uniforms. in the very olden days there were long sleeves, which provided for a lot of options.
fully striped sleeve

Over time, the sleeves have gotten shorter and shorter, to the point now where there is only the merest suggestion of a cap sleeve. There is the practical reason that it allows less for the opposing players to grab as you’re going past, but somewhere along the line the design accents haven’t kept up with the architecture.  For the teams that relied on striped sleeves as the primary differentiator, things have gotten ridiculous. for a historical example, here is a picture of the steelers arms from the 70s

note that you can see the stripes down around the elbows, and all around the arms. compare to the current cap sleeve.

It’s touch and go if the stripe is going to fit at all. but at least they’re trying.

The worst problem with recent uniform construction is the over-the-shoulder stripe.  sported lately by the colts, jets, and the throwback patriots uniforms.

No… just no… as opposed to


stripes around sleeves are not that hard. it’s not like there isn’t room. unlike the sleeve band which is getting shrunk and curtailed by the shrinking of the sleeve, the armhole itself is not shrinking. if anything, given the physiques, those stripes could be more and more prominent. I don’t know what prompted the abbreviation of the shoulder stripe, I can only assume that someone thought it was totes cray. I mean it’s not as if it cant be done on a modern jersey.

These are the kinds of reasons that I’m going back to making my own clothes.

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