There has long been a close connection between fashion and sports. Both genres continually borrow from one another as evident in the team uniform updates, runway trends and athlete/designer relationships that emerge each year. In 2012, special events like the London Olympics were at the forefront of the sports and style overlap. Across the board, there was no shortage of memorable sports fashion statements.
A Glam Slam has once again compiled the “Hits” and “Misses,” which encompass some of the best, worst, most buzzed about and most controversial, sports fashion moves of 2012. Here they are, in no particular order:
A GLAM SLAM’S 2012 FASHION “HITS”
Nike Unveils NFL Uniforms/Seattle Seahawks Fashion Makeover
Nike kicked-off its partnership with the NFL, replacing Reebok as the league’s official apparel manufacturer. The company rolled out its much-anticipated new line of NFL uniforms last Spring. From a design standpoint, changes in team gear were minimal (with the exception of those newly added collars), though performance innovations were numerous.
The Seattle Seahawks received the greatest fashion overhaul, with on-field styling meant to honor the team’s heritage and the “12th Man.” The new threads featured unique graphics and hues that appeared to be more on-trend with college football’s style of dress. With several players sporting neon green cleats to cap off the look, the Seahawks made a serious style statement each time they hit the field. The uniforms also proved to be a hit among Seattle fans. According to the team:
“Since the Seahawks’ new uniforms were unveiled in April, jersey sales have increased by 274% at the two team retail locations and online.”
N.C. State Wears “Don’t Ever Give Up’” Jerseys
During the 2012 Jimmy V Classic, the N.C. State men’s basketball team hit the hardwood in specially designed uniforms. In honor of the late coach Jimmy Valvano, the team jerseys featured the phrase, “Don’t Ever Give Up.” Those inspirational words of encouragement come from Valvano’s famous 1993 ESPYs speech, given just a few months before he succumbed to cancer. Additional design features included basketball net graphic on the collar and shoulders of the gear, a design detail that paid tribute to Valvano wearing the nets following his championship win. The tradition of “cutting down the nets” began with N.C. State in 1947.
NBA Players Go “Geek-Chic”
Nerd-inspired specs are not a novel accessory among NBA players but throughout the 2012 Playoffs and Finals, the “geek-chic” trend emerged as a style phenomenon. Colorful trousers, patterned shirts and thick rimmed, lens-less glasses were spotted on players across the league. The on-court competition transitioned to a competitive display of “geek-chic “styles during post-game press conferences.
The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder squared off in the NBA Finals and when players from these two fashion-forward teams hit the podium, the buzz was as much about their sense of style as the game itself. It was the flashy frames that became the universal accessory and the biggest talking point in Finals fashion. NBA players continue to push fashion boundaries and it’s hard not to enjoy the sport’s sartorial showcase.
Athletes Score Fashion Week Gigs
In recent years, athletes across the sports spectrum have become front row fixtures during Fashion Week in New York, Paris, London and Milan. This year a group of stylish sportsman took it one step further. Not only did they attend runway shows, but they were put to work as well.
Boston Celtics PG, Rajon Rondo, was hired as a GQ magazine intern to assist with Fashion Week coverage. Fashion interviews, clothing critiques and blog posts on GQ.com, were among his duties. Olympic gold medal winning swimmer, Ryan Lochte, was tapped by E! News to serve as a Fashion Week corespondent, interviewing the likes of Dwyane Wade and Anna Wintour. New York Knick, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Olympic gold medal winning gymnast, Aly Raisman, also appeared on E! Fashion Police to offer their critiques of styles seen throughout the week.
Athletes Honor Sandy Hook Victims With On-field Fashion Tributes
Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT, the sports world honored the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting with a variety on-field and on-court fashion tributes. In both college and pro sports, players and coaches wore cleats, sneakers, helmets and jerseys featuring victims names, green ribbons, and “S.H.E.S” decals and patches in remembrance of the 26 victims. Efforts extended outside of fashion as well, as athletes like Derek Jeter and Victor Cruz reached out to victims’ families.
Brooklyn Nets New Uniforms & Team Merchandise Become Big Sellers
As part of the team’s inaugural season, the Brooklyn Nets debuted new on-court fashions. Team co-owner, Jay-Z, collaborated with adidas to create an exclusive Brooklyn Nets licensed collection, from official uniforms and on-court gear to stylish jackets, tees and hats. The Nets revamped wardrobe included a sleek black and white color scheme and new logos. The team’s makeover was deemed as success as it was followed by a huge surge in merchandise sales. According to the NBA:
“Merchandise sales through Brooklynnets.com were more than double the team’s total sales for the 2010-11 season. Additionally, Modell’s, the Nets’ official sporting goods retailer, sold more Nets merchandise during the first day of the launch than all of last season.”
Kim Clijsters’ Farewell Fila Collection
The 2012 tennis season marked the end of a stellar career for Kim Clijsters. She retired from the game in style with a little help from Fila. Clijsters was dressed in Fila’s limited-edition “Tennis Star” collection during the 2012 U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam of her career. The special line of apparel and accessories was developed to honor the tennis champ. Kim’s collection featured a red, white and navy color scheme with a star pattern representing her 11 years with the Fila brand and 4 Grand Slam wins.
Army vs. Navy Nike Uniforms
Nowadays, alternate uniforms in college sports tend to display more flash than class. But Army and Navy scored major style points with their rivalry game Nike threads. The gear for both teams looked sharp individually and provided a pretty picture when seen together on-field. In addition to performance innovation, the Nike uniforms were designed with a variety of special, symbolic touches. Army’s black and gold uniforms featured a historical, re-interpreted West Point map of the Battle of the Bulge was incorporated into several elements of the uniform, including the jersey numbers, gloves, helmet stripe and inside of the cleats. Navy’s gear paid tribute to the traditional white dress uniform with a helmet design inspired by a Naval Officer’s cover.
Dwyane Wade Joins Li-Ning
Dwyane Wade ended his three-year affiliation with the Jordan Brand. He was added to the LI-NING roster, joining other NBA endorsees including Baron Davis and Evan Turner. It was a high-profile deal for the Chinese sportswear brand and for Wade, he scored his own brand within the company as well as creative and strategic input.
Wade believed the opportunity would allow him to build his own “legacy” through the company. In additional to wearing signature sneakers from the brand on-court, he will launch his own apparel and footwear company under LI-NING, called “WADE.” Merging fashion elements and performance elements, Wade has already brought designer Alejandro Ingelmo on board to act as creative consultant and to help develop the first two off-court fashion sneakers in the line.
Tulsa Oilers “Dark Knight” Jerseys
Every so often, minor league hockey teams like to have a little fun with their jerseys, debuting designs that range from tuxedos to Elvis tributes. The Tulsa Oilers “Dark Knight” jerseys were creative and cool, and fresh alternative to everyday uniforms even if only for one game. To take it one step further, the team was also renamed “The Gotham City Crusaders” for the game, which featured Batman theme music and graphics among other special touches.
“They take the ice dressed in Limited Edition Batman hockey jerseys created exclusively for this event and featuring the iconic Bat Signal. After the game, the game jerseys will be auctioned off in the ONEOK Club in the BOK Center.”
High-Fashion Fan Gear: Marchesa x NFL & Mets x CFDA
Football merged with high-fashion this season when Marchesa teamed up with the NFL to design a special line of limited-edition team tees. The collaboration came about with the help of Suzanne Johnson, wife of Jets owner Woody Johnson and ambassador for the NFL women’s apparel campaign. Johnson was approached by Marchesa designer, Georgina Chapman, and her husband and Jets fan, Harvey Weinstein, about developing the high-end female fan gear. The white team tees feature da feminine silhouette and are embellished with Swarovski crystals, adding drama to traditional fan gear.
“It’s been a year in the making and I can’t wait to unveil the Marchesa shirt for the masses, a real fashion forward statement for female fans that elevates team apparel,” the designer told InStyle.
To celebrate both of their 50th Anniversaries, the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) teamed up with the New York Mets to create a special range of limited-edition merchandise. Designers and CFDA members Billy Reid, Yigal Azrouël, Rogan Gregory for Loomstate and Scott Haan and Jeff Halmos for Shipley Halmos developed a line of Mets fan fashions including jerseys, tanks, track jackets, hoodies and baseball tees, with net proceeds benefiting the Mets Foundation and the CFDA.
Bubba Watson’s Charitable Masters Fashion
Wearing the same outfit four days in a row on the Masters stage would normally be considered a fashion faux-pas but this was a style statement for a good cause. All proceeds from the sales of Bubba’s all-white, Travis Matthew limited edition pieces were donated directly to Fresh Start, an organization that provides cosmetic reconstructive surgery for children with physical defects or disabilities. Bubba’s signature accessory, the pink driver, also supported the cause. Watson was able to dress up his head-to-toe whites with the coveted Green Jacket.
Northwestern’s Under Armour Rebrand
After Under Armour debuted a wild wardrobe for the Maryland Terps, fans were fearful of Northwestern’s new designs. Following their departure from adidas, the team “reclaimed the stripe” with the help of Under Armour and became a hot topic in the college football uniform discussion.
The new uniforms took inspiration from different elements of the Northwestern campus, including “the gothic-style architecture and intricate stonework.” The wraparound stripe across the center of the chest offered a unique design aesthetic. It was meant to serve as a symbol of the University’s football legacy that recognizes the school as the originator of this design element.
As the saying goes, “if you look good you play good.” For Northwestern, this appeared to hold true. It was a successful season on the football field as the Wildcats defeated Mississippi State to win their first bowl game since 1949.
Terrence Ross’ NBA Draft Suiting Style
A bad draft day ensemble is not easily forgotten by sports fans. For Terrence Ross, the Toronto Raptors #8 pick, his suiting style will be remembered among the best of 2012. Ross appeared well primed to enter one of the most fashion-forward sports leagues. His Elevee ensemble was a sartorial standout at the NBA Draft. The combination of a textured gray suit, blue gingham shirt and blue pocket square was a risky choice, but he had the confidence to pull it off. He was also the only guy to rock a bow tie for the evening, in a green hue no less.
A GLAM SLAM’S 2012 FASHION “MISSES”
Ralph Lauren Team USA Olympic Uniforms Are “Made In China”
Ralph Lauren’s U.S. Olympic uniforms landed in the #1 spot on TIME magazine’s 2012 “Top Ten Worst Dressed” list. The reason was simple. Team USA’s gear sparked national controversy when it was discovered that the clothing was actually manufactured in China.
Pittsburgh Steelers “Bumble Bee” Throwback Uniforms
Throwbacks tend to make sports fashion headlines for good reason. Fans often enjoy gametime gear that is a nod to the past. For the Steelers, the team’s “bumble bee” inspired throwback threads just made them hard to watch. The boldly striped jerseys were an eye sore, especially when paired with flesh-colored pants that resembled Spanx for men. The reaction from football fans was universal: throw these away.
Ryan Lochte’s Patriotic Grill
Despite having worn a grill in past awards ceremonies, Ryan Lochte was banned from wearing his signature accessory at the London Games. The tooth decor instead stirred up major controversy. The swimmer was told he could not receive his medals if he wore the $25,000 stars and stripes, diamond encrusted mouthpiece on the podium.
Spain’s Olympic Uniforms
The London Olympic Games produced its fair share fashion hits and misses and Spain’s team gear was among the worst of the bunch. Spain’s athletes expressed their discontent with the Bosco Sport designs even before the Games began and with good reason. The mustard yellow and red hues, wild patterns and unflattering fits had Olympians like canoer, Saul Craviotto, and field hockey player, Alex Fabregas, taking to twitter to mock their country’s attire.
Brooklynettes “Edgy” Uniforms
The Brooklyn Nets racked up style points with their new uniforms and team merchandise but the team’s dancers missed the fashion mark. The “Brooklynettes” debuted a gametime wardrobe including seven different outfits ranging from jumpsuits to mini-dresses to sequin leggings and crop tops. Knee-high boots, fingerless gloss and latex materials are among the ensemble accents making them look like Halloween costumes.
MLB’s Misspelled Jerseys
An unfortunate fashion trend swept the MLB this year in the form of jersey misspellings and errors. Steven Strasburg, Zack Greinke, Jeff Manship and Brock Holt were among the victims. The fashion fails speak for themselves.
Notre Dame’s Alternate Uniform Blunders
Notre Dame hopped on the crazy, alternate college uniform bandwagon this season with unfortunate results. During the Shamrock Series game against Miami, the team debuted flashy new domes. More than half of the helmet featured a blinding, gold leaf design, while about 1/3 of the helmet was a solid blue hue. The blue portion also included an oversized leprechaun. Last year Notre Dame’s shamrock helmets landed on A Glam Slam’s list of “Misses,” but they out-uglied themselves with this season’s headgear.
The Fighting Irish fell victim to another fashion faux pas, this time on the basketball court. The team demonstrated how not to wear all-black uniforms during a game against Kentucky. The gear had fans, viewers and commentators struggling to read players’ names and numbers since they blended into the uniforms.
NFL Players “Feel Fat” In New Nike Jerseys
Nike’s new NFL jerseys were a hit among many players, but certainly not all. They proved to be less popular among the league’s “full-figured” guys. According to the Wall Street Journal:
“I hate them. They are built for thin guys,” said Alex Boone, a 300-pound starting guard for the San Francisco 49ers. “It makes me look like I have big old love handles.”
Craig Sager Wears A Polo
Sports fans love to hate Craig Sager’s flamboyant fashion choices. When NBC Olympic coverage forced Sager to wear, gasp, a simple blue polo, fans were actually longing for more of these outlandish outfits: craigsagerssuits.tumblr.com. At a time when patriotic fashions were numerous, imagine the Sager suit possibilities.
RGIII’s Adidas Fashion Foul
Robert Girffin III took to the post-game podium wearing an adidas sweatsuit and t-shirt. With Nike as the league’s official uniform supplier, this was deemed an NFL fashion violation. The Washington Redskins QB was fined $10,000 for his outfit offense.
Michael Jordan’s Golf Course Fashion Gaffes
Much attention is paid to Ryder Cup uniforms each year. The U.S. team wore classy clothing from Polo Ralph Lauren while Team Europe hit the fairway bright orange fashions, but the golfers’ gear was overshadowed by that of a spectator. Michael Jordan’s clothing choice caused the largest fashion buzz.
Jordan isn’t known for having the greatest sense of style. There’s even a tumblr (http://wtfismikewearing.tumblr.com) dedicated to his fashion failures. Among the faux pas was his Ryder Cup ensemble, which included an extra-long, awkward jacket/vest combo and a questionable pair of jeans. Jordan had a second golf course fashion gaffe later in the year. He was banned from the La Gorce Country Club in Miami after wearing cargo shorts while playing while refusing to change.
Tom Brady: The “Faux-Hawk” & The “Aerosmith Outfit”
Despite being recognized as one of the most style-conscious athletes, Tom Brady’s sartorial sense often sparks controversy among fans and media alike. This year Brady caught slack for two looks in particular. The first was a faux-hawk of sorts, a hairdo that he debuted when attending the Met Gala. Fans had a field day with the controversial coif.
Brady’s second fashion mishap came to be known as the “Aerosmith outfit.” When a picture of Brady circulated, wearing thick-rimmed black glasses, a lowcut v-neck tee and a belted peacoat, it sparked yet another style controversy. Brady’s ensemble even prompted a reporter to question his “weird” fashion sense at a press conference.
Denmark’s Euro Cup Fashion Fail
The Euro Cup brought us 32 colorful kits but unfortunately for Denmark, they sported one of the worst-looking jerseys of the competing teams. The red adidas home jerseys featured a white collar and an awkward shoulder design that did not properly mesh with the rest of the top. Black adidas stripes finished off the collar and shoulder detail, an unwelcoming final touch.