The XX Factor

The Plight of Man and His Sport Jersey

In the latest installment of her column, Tracey tackles the age-old sartorial question -- When is it ever appropriate for a man to don a sports team's uniform?

My husband Eric is what gentlemen of a certain age would call a clotheshorse—the kind of guy who has about 50 perfectly-pressed dress shirts hanging in his closet at any given time (and removes them from the dry cleaner’s plastic as soon as he gets them home); the kind who uses shoe trees to keep his Berlutis in shape; the kind who once responded to my suggestion that he wear white pants to dinner by saying, “Linens in the city, Tracey?” with an arched eyebrow that made me feel like a bona fide boor.

So you can imagine my surprise when he said, in utter earnest, during the 2nd quarter of a recent NBA playoff game “we” were watching, that he wanted to buy—and wear!—a white Golden State Warriors jersey. “For like, what, exactly?” I asked. He pondered. “Y’know…the ferry to Fire Island?” I suppose my face said it all. “You wear overalls and a turban to the beach,” he shot back, before I had a chance to say a word.  Guilty as charged.

The knee-jerk reaction of any clothes-minded person upon hearing the words “basketball jersey” is simple—um, no. When I put the question to Gabe and Tyler (two rather dapper gents, as you well know), the answer was simple: “I’m of the opinion that jerseys only belong at the venue of the sporting event you’re wearing it in support of,” Gabe wrote me in an email, while Tyler confirmed he belonged firmly in the “no-jersey-unless-you’re-actually-playing-the-sport camp.”

But Eric’s case may be a whole ‘nother story, since homeboy is actually a pre-Jay-Z Nets fan and doesn’t give a flip about the Warriors (especially now that they’re about as top of mind as Christmas shopping)—he’s just drawn to the retro-ish appeal of what they wear on the court and is looking to snag a bit of Steph Curry’s swagger for his own summer look.

“It’s just a dope jersey,” he says, and assures me that the addition of a Breitling diving watch will easily distinguish him from a boardwalk extra on Jersey Shore. Kinda like the way my turban easily distinguishes me from an actual redneck when I wear my overalls; a sartorial sign that says, “I’m doing this for fashion, not authenticity.”

Considering how many of my somewhat-ironic, mostly-ridiculous style risks my husband has put up with over the years (okay, so I wore a fascinator to dinner with his parents a couple of weeks ago—Google it), I figure I owe the man a chance to make a jersey look cool, even if everyone else on the Fire Island ferry thinks I’m married to The Situation’s older brother. At least it’s not as offensive as linens in the city.


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