SBD/December 12, 2013/Anniversary Special Issue

The Daily Hits 20: Fashion Choices That Would Make Mr. Blackwell Blush

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Fashion has always had a place in sports, but there have been many instances over the past 20 years in which trying to make a sartorial statement has backfired. Here is a look at some noteworthy apparel selections, memorable for both good and bad reasons.

Serena Williams' Puma catsuit at the '02 U.S. Open
left little to the imagination
Serena Williams' Catsuit ('02)
Call it a fashion statement, call it an unofficial audition for the role of “Catwoman” or call it a NASA prototype. But no matter how you looked at Serena Williams’ Puma-branded catsuit from the '02 U.S. Open, it caught people’s attention, leaving little to the imagination.

Islanders' Fisherman Jersey ('95-96)
It did not take very long before the Islanders realized their latest catch was far from fresh. Just over a year after they did away with their classic logo featuring Long Island, they were ready to send its replacement out to sea. The logo was supposed to be a tribute to the nautical history of Long Island and its Baymen. One hopes the Isles refrain from such a logo when they relocate to Brooklyn.

Billy Horschel's Octopus Pants ('13)
Golf continues a slow push past the tried-and-true solid color shirts and khaki pants. No one may have captured the movement better than Billy Horschel. Thinking octopus pants were a new type of cut, he agreed to wear the Ralph Lauren design during the final round of the '13 U.S. Open. The attention to his pants may have affected his game, as Horschel fell from two strokes back at the start of the day to finishing four strokes off the lead.

Mike Nolan was one NFL coach who sought to
bring a more classic look to the job
NFL Coaches Wear Suits ('06-07)

It was a look that harked back to the NFL’s Golden Era: Coaches wearing Reebok-made suits on the sidelines. The classy look was brought back by former 49ers coach Mike Nolan and former Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio. Unfortunately for the dapper dons on the sidelines, it was a look that failed to gain traction.

The Belichick Hoodie ('03-present)
Web sites have been devoted to the fashion style of controversial Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who in '03 started wearing an oversized gray Reebok hoodie while roaming the sidelines. His sleeves would be pushed up and then eventually were cut off. Then he threw in a mock hoodie with chopped sleeves, complimented at times with the headband. The hoodie is now a staple on sidelines around the NFL, and the Patriots team shop actually sell them with sleeves hacked off.

VANOC Mittens ('10)
Few could have predicted the must-have souvenir of the '10 Vancouver Games would be red mittens, but in less than three months before the Games began, more than 1 million were sold. They were in such high demand that pairs were selling for three times the retail value on eBay. Their popularity has endured as manufacturer Hudson Bay aims to bring them back before Sochi.

NBA Dress Code ('05)
NBA Commissioner David Stern might have known was he was on to when he instituted a dress code before the start of the '05-06 season, with the aim of polishing player image. A minimum standard of attire was set for when players participated in any team-related activity. But rather than allow the league to dictate style, NBAers embraced high fashion. Now press conferences are venues for players to set the latest fashion trends.

Olympic Berets ('02)
Canadian company Roots produced the hottest item of the '02 Salt Lake City Games with its berets. Berets came to define the fashion at the Games and led Roots to an estimated 400% boost in sales.

Federer's jacket from '09 is now housed at the
Wimbledon HOF
Roger Federer's Jacket To Forget ('09)

Tennis can come across as buttoned-up, but in '09, Roger Federer may have taken it a step too far. Donning a cream-color blazer from Nike with a “15” stitched in for what would be his record-setting 15th Grand Slam win, Federer came across as the most overdressed person in the sport. Thankfully Federer donated the jacket to Wimbledon’s HOF.

U.S. Ryder Cup Shirts ('99)
While many will remember the U.S. team’s dramatic comeback win at the '99 Ryder Cup, just as many might remember the attire worn on that final day of play. With shirts that were dotted with portraits of victorious U.S. teams from the prior 60 years, U.S. captain Ben Crenshaw was clearly going for a different look. The shirts were so ugly, Tiger Woods admitted he threw his into a fire at his home after the event.

Michael Johnson's Gold Nikes ('96)
At the '96 Atlanta Games, the never-shy U.S. sprinter Michael Johnson slipped on gold-colored track spikes that actually had five grams of gold in them. Johnson delivered two Gold medals at the Games, becoming the first man to win the 200- and 400-meter races.

Oregon uniforms have gone from nine options to
more than 300 combinations
The Oregon Influence ('05-present)

College football uniforms have been rich in tradition, but that all changed after Nike flexed its muscle with Univ. of Oregon. The Ducks saw the first significant change in '99, but by '05 had nine different combinations and presently have over 300. The uniform combinations have influenced changes at a number of schools as universities look to market their brands.

Pink It ('00s)
Teams have increasingly tried to find new ways to reach female fans through merchandise. One of the most successful forays has been the introduction of pink hats. What may have been unthinkable -- changing team colors to pink -- has proved to be a smashing success.

Sun Mountain Rains Down On Ryder Cup ('10)
When it rains, it pours -- and that was the case for Montana-based clothing supplier Sun Mountain, which provided the '10 U.S. Ryder Cup team with its rain jackets. The problem was they failed to keep the players dry. The team ditched Sun Mountain’s product and bought up new product at the event merchandise tent. All was not lost for Sun Mountain. It provided the rain gear for the '11 President’s Cup that fared much better.

Short-sleeve jerseys have become trendy in the
NBA since the second half of the '12-13 season
Short-Sleeved NBA Jerseys ('13)

Following a look familiar in the college ranks -- T-shirts under jerseys -- the Warriors and adidas started a trend in '13 of donning short-sleeved jerseys. Days later, adidas unveiled short-sleeve jerseys for college teams, including eventual national champion Louisville. Now at least five NBA teams have announced plans to wear such jerseys during the ’13-14 season.

Futuristic MLB Jerseys ('99)
It is one thing to hitch your wagon on the nostalgia bandwagon with throwback jerseys. For better or worse, it has been mostly a success. But when MLB teams in the late '90s tried going in the other direction -- imagining what jerseys might look like in the future -- it was a miss. The formula was simple: super-sized logos with the use of colors not necessarily associated with the team. Fans came away hoping not to be around if their team chose to wear the unis again.

NBA All-Star uniforms went away from their
traditional look for two years
NBA All-Star Jerseys Try For Something Different ('94-96)

The NBA had long gone with a classic uniform look at its All-Star Games. But for two seasons, the league messed with an otherwise solid formula -- think New Coke. The '95 game in Phoenix featured a cactus on the jersey, followed by something resembling a pepper for the game in San Antonio the following year. Let’s just say the results were not pretty and the league tried to move on from the missteps by having players wear their own team’s jersey from '97-'02.

The Jaguars Go Two-Toned ('13)
We get it -- the struggling Jaguars were in need of a makeover on and off the field. Rather than change team colors, the Jaguars went with a two-toned helmet -- black in the front and gold in the back. Some said the move reeked of desperation and while the gimmick got people’s attention, it seemed to for all of the wrong reasons.

Steelers' throwbacks were widely panned for their
stripes and block numbers
Adidas Goes With Neon Green ('12-13)
adidas went for a different look prior to the '12 NCAA men’s basketball tourney, with Baylor’s neon green unis perhaps the most recognizable. The colors were described as a mix of looking at a green highlighter and tennis balls, with one pundit saying the “green jerseys require sun glasses to stare at.” Notre Dame would try a similar look in '13, with ESPN’s Jay Bilas saying, “It looks like somebody had a Shamrock Shake and threw up on them.”

Steelers' Throwback Jerseys ('12)
Many throwback jerseys are best left in mothballs. Including these. In honor of their 80th anniversary, the Steelers wore throwback jerseys replicating those worn by the team in 1934. But the black and yellow striped jerseys with rectangular block numbers were overwhelming and were a cross between a bumblebee and the Hamburglar.
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