The idea of sportswear-as-fashion is nothing new to me: Growing up in a suburb of Boston, player jerseys have overwhelmingly been considered appropriate attire for men and women for as long as I can remember. You’d be hard pressed to walk into a bar where at least one person isn’t wearing a Celtics tank or Patriots jersey. (It should also be noted that 1/5 of the guys in my high school graduating class have a Red Sox or Bruins logo tattooed somewhere on their body.)
Personally, I’ve never been much of a fan–of the sports themselves, or the wearing of their paraphernalia anywhere outside of a stadium. And until recently, trend-setting celebrity It-girls seemed to agree with me.
Then it happened: Sportswear in its purest form got cool. Per usual, Rihanna was an early adopter of the trend, pairing an Ottawa Senators jersey (worn as a dress, obviously) with some strappy Tom Ford pumps back in April. Two months later, she wore a Mustangs basketball jersey… also as a dress. At first I was all, she’s just bein’ Rih-Rih. Just because Rihanna’s wearing jerseys, doesn’t make it a “thing.”
But then Miley Cyrus did it. And then Jourdan Dunn. And then, to really hit that whole three’s a trend thing out of the park (sports reference!), Cara Delevingne wore a tiny child-size Chicago Bulls jersey. (Bulls jerseys are clearly the winner in this trend.) Basketball season may be so totally over, but we have a feeling this lil’ trend’s just in the warmup phase (snap!).
Lucky market editor Laurel Pantin, who’s got several jerseys of her own and has actually been sporting this trend long before any of these celebs, agrees. “I bought my Bulls jersey a couple of years ago because I love the Bulls and I love Michael Jordan. I just got a vintage Deion Sanders Cowboys one that I’m pretty excited about too. I tend to dress really tomboyish anyway, and I love how graphic jerseys are.”
Pantin sees the jersey trend as a progression of the athletic-inspired collections and fabrics (hello, mesh and neoprene) that’ve dominated the runway for several seasons. “I think they’re a pretty natural fit with the whole sportswear thing that’s happening,” she says. If Adidas shower slides and Nike kicks are back, it seems only logical the corresponding athletic tops would make their way onto the fashion forefront as well.
And like Adidas slides and old school athletic footwear, the key to pulling off this trend is in what you wear it with. The point is not to look like a frat boy (or a lost sportsfan on your way to the stadium) so, dress accordingly. Fashion-y heels, short-shorts, tailored skirts and pants are all excellent options to wear with your jersey. (Note: Wearing a jersey as a dress is probably not wise unless a) you are Rihanna or b) you’re at a pool party.)
To sum it up, if the Spice Girls were around in 2013, Sporty Spice might actually have a shot at being the coolest member (sorry VB). As Pantin so aptly puts it, “there’s something pretty sexy about a girl in a cool, old school jersey.” Who knows, maybe I’ll get my brother to dig me out his old Larry Bird #33 jersey after all…