When they are on the field of play, footballers may be known for their speed of thought, their quick feet and seeing a pass in the blink of the eye but off it their sartorial choices often leave little to the imagination and a great deal too poor decisions and bad taste.
You see them stepping off the team coach in those gaudy tracksuits, headphones glued to their ears as if they would rather be anywhere else in the world rather than living all school boys dreams. Bling is often the order of the day for footballers; they exude their wealth through logo splattered sweaters, jeans with diamond encrusted jewels sewn in to the back pockets or ill placed designer rips slashed through the fabric. Understated class is certainly not part of the footballers clothing DNA.
Thankfully, there are a few managers out there who know what taste, tact and decorum and their wisdom and age often dictate a classier side of the sartorial game.
One such man is Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Being a Frenchman and with a philosophy of team before individuals, Wenger has recently recruited French fashion house Lanvin to design and create a suit for his players to wear every match day. Not only is this a sign of camaraderie and collectively, it is a nod towards an appreciation of fashion and the unity something as beautiful yet simple as a suit can bring to the team.
Arsenal may be leading the way when it comes to the re-introduction of the match day suit but here are a few other examples of teams sporting that sense of harmony through the clothes they wear not only as a team on the pitch but off it too.
The world’s best – and arguably most famous team – joined forces with Italian denim specialists Replay this season to wear not only suits but their very own range of denim jeans and shirts. Teams and players have often appeared in ad campaigns in the past (D&G and the Italian team, Beckham for H&M, Ronaldo for Armani) but it is very rare an entire casual range is created for one team to wear. Stepping off planes in light blue denim shirts and navy blazers isn’t something most teams could do but then again most teams are quite as sublimely talented as FC Barcelona.
It will be interesting to see what England turn up in for the 2014 in Brazil. Of course being England the designer or brand has to be English – last time out it was a light grey number by Marks & Spencer and before that it was Burtons – but without Beckham in tow taking all the plaudits in whatever he wears, it will be interesting to see both the name of the tailor and brand who proudly get to see their name on the necks of those Three Lion suits. The suits in the past have always been a very classic three piece affair so hopefully this time out the designer goes for something a little more adventurous – we all know Roy Hodgson and his players need to be more free thinking in their philosophical choices.
No article on football teams and their suits would be complete without a look at Liverpool FC, those horrendous white suits they wore at the XX Cup Final and a ‘what not to wear’ label attached! It was an awful Cup Final that few care to remember, unless you are Eric Cantona, a Man Utd player or fan, but Liverpool’s choice of bright white suits with red pinstripes (supplied by Armani) will ensure that final lives in the memory of football fans forever. It is a sartorial disaster, a display of pomp and panache that typified a team nicknamed the Spice Boys but so often flattered to deceive. Since then no team has dared to venture past black or navy blue when it comes to choosing the colour of their cup final suits.