The Boston Sports Fan’s Guide to Choosing a Jersey

While traditionally reserved for children and actual pro athletes, we’ve watched with some interest over the last few years as the sports jersey has assumed an unanticipated level of acceptability in American adult wardrobes from coast to coast. Dare we suggest that the sports jersey has become somewhat fashionable?

In just two short weeks we’ll hit that special time of the year when all 4 major sports will be in full swing. During this magical period of sports-frenzy, you may find yourself tempted to take the plunge and purchase an officially-licensed team jersey. But before you do so, may we humbly suggest that you first review:

The Boston Sports Fan’s Guide to Choosing a Jersey

You see, the jersey you choose says a lot about you. Which sport? Which player? With so many exciting choices, what’s a fashionable fan to do?

A good starting point is to first pick a sport. While the natural temptation is to pick your favorite team, the truth is that you might not look so good in your favorite team’s jersey. The key, therefore, is to pick the sport that happens to feature the jersey that works best for your personal style.

Choosing Your Jersey

Basketball jerseys are really just fancied-up extra-long tank tops, providing all of the advantages and disadvantages of wearing a regular tank top: perfect in the hot weather but difficult in adverse climate conditions. It’s important to note that a real hoops fan does not wear an undershirt. Actually, a real hoops fan does wear an undershirt on most days… a dirty, ribbed wife beater with a crazy hat, that is. But during basketball jersey-wearing occasions one should never wear an undershirt, as the basketball jersey provides a can’t-miss opportunity to display the guns and/or ink. If your lack of bulging muscles or shamrock tattoos makes you feel insecure and tempts you to wear a tee-shirt under your basketball jersey, then you probably shouldn’t be wearing the basketball jersey anyway. Look, basketball is a winter sport with a summer-style outfit. You go all in and display the arms or you get out. End of story.

For those reticent to bare their arms, may we suggest something in a hockey sweater? Hockey sweaters are well-suited for winter wear. And since hockey players wear so much bulky equipment, the traditional hockey sweater is of gigantic proportions, amply sized for even the most substantial of men. One can easily fit a hoodie or two underneath the hockey sweater without any unsightly bulges, rendering the winter coat redundant. One can also safely hide several bottles of Crown Royale underneath their hockey jersey without raising an eyebrow from arena security. Some people think that hockey fans get a free pass from security (compared to basketball fans) due to their fear-inducing mullets. Not true! This is an unfair stereotype. Hockey fans get a free pass from arena security because most people assume that any modern hockey fan is actually Canadian and is therefore not a real threat – unless one foolishly points out that time has not been kind to the MacKenzie Brothers’ brand of humor and that Labatt’s is French for “Miller Genuine Draft.”

A safer choice may be the baseball jersey. Baseball is the only sport that still requires managers to wear the team uniform during the game. This is what we like to call a “case study,” as in, study how ridiculous that fat old man looks in his baseball uniform and you’ll understand your wife’s case against you wearing your sports jersey out in public. But seriously, the manager-in-uniform rule is an absurd throwback that has been kept in place for well over a hundred years due to the strong-arm tactics of the powerful stirrup-pants lobby. Manpris aside, the baseball jersey really is a handsome look that works well on many different body types. While it’s an athletic look, it’s also a flexible look, as one can wear the shirt un-buttoned as a top-shirt or buttoned in the traditional manner. Baseball has also cornered the market on the ¾ length sleeve tee shirts with the reverse-colored arms. That’s a snappy look as well. Obviously Abner Doubleday was quite the fashionista.

Last, but certainly not least, is the football jersey, which is as popular as it is garish, and goes exceedingly well with face paint. The problem with committing to a football jersey, however, is that the average football career only lasts about 12 games, so you always run the risk of having an anachronistic player name on your back. If you wish to avoid spending $100 on a number that’s now being worn by a scrubbini, it’s a smart play to choose a classic franchise player. We’re predicting the Mosi Tatupu #30 as this season’s must-have classic jersey.

Finishing Your Ensemble

Sports jerseys are best paired with sweatpants to perfect the illusion that you actually are a professional athlete. It’s a well-known fact that professional athletes always wear their team uniforms when waiting in line at the food court Chik-Fil-A and the sweatpants help to complete the look. However, please feel free to mix it up and pair your jersey with jeans or cammo cargo shorts if the mood strikes you.

A sports jersey can be worn in any circumstance, really, but home whites are probably best for daytime affairs and dark colored jerseys are best for formal occasions and funerals.

Some people think that you can’t mix-and-match sports apparel, but this is just a myth. In fact, the most daring fashionable sports attire look is simply called ‘The Trifecta’ and is pulled off by simultaneously wearing three separate items that represent three different sports. A handsome mix is the Patriots cap with a Celtics warm-up jacket over a Red Sox tee shirt. (Don’t worry – the Bruins can be covered via your custom license plate, conveniently available for purchase at the Tobin Bridge toll plaza.)

Final Thoughts

In summary, it’s important to recognize that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a grown man wearing a sports jersey (or mock-jersey for those on a budget) featuring the name of a professional athlete that’s half their age. And just like my pre-schooler, you too can gleefully exclaim, “that’s MY guy, Big Papi,” when David Ortiz strides to the plate during a Red Sox game.

Make it work, people!


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