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A mild defense of Reebok's 'Champagne' Jerseys and other 'girly' clothes for women

Aug 10, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

From everything I’ve seen, it must not be easy being a female sports fan.

Men, on a whole, feel the need to reign supreme over what we think is our ultimate dominion: sports talk. Forgive me for generalizing, but sports are often a domain in which guys can make immature jokes, high five each other despite being 40 years old and drink beer/eat unhealthy meats in a social setting. Having someone with long hair and lady parts come along and … dare I say it … display equal or greater knowledge of the sport is akin to someone chopping down the tree that holds our exclusive Boys Club treehouse.

You cannot blame women for taking offense to stereotyping when it comes to sports, whether it comes in the form of fantasy sports taunting or the way leagues market clothing toward their gender. Take a look, then, at the latest bit of ladies’ apparel that is causing a stir at Puck Daddy and on Twitter: Reebok’s new Champagne Jersey line.

sabreschampagne.JPG

Now, if you’re looking for a fashion-wise description, you’ve come to the wrong place (unless Joe Yerdon knows his garments). I have the fashion sense of an especially inept 10-year-old boy. I haven’t purchased new shoes in two years. I wear khaki shorts on occasion. My hair style is somewhere between indifferent and pathetic. So I’ll leave it to the women Greg Wyshynski polled to provide a quick description of the kind of styles you can see in the photo above. This one comes from Wrap Around Curl, a great blogger who happens to use all kinds of terminology that is as foreign to me as Corsi Ratings are to the women I fail to impress at bars.

The Pittsburgh one wouldn’t look bad, with some editing. I want to take a seam ripper to that collar situation and it’d be better if that back could have an actual player name. The cut appears flattering since in the back the curves give the illusion of a smaller and defined waist. The arms have a slim cut which means you aren’t wearing layers underneath to combat a chilly arena.

But most of all I’m distracted by how cheap these look. They look like same low quality (and breezy) material used to produce $5 basketball shorts.

As for the foil, it doesn’t last in the wash long and usually it reacts with detergent, mutating into a pond scum color. I’ll never understand having to pay a premium for a “distressed” item. I take pride in the wear and tear I inflict on a sweater. I don’t want some cheap, nylon club top masquerading in the tradition of a sport I love.

So let there be no doubt that these jerseys are a failure with the puck-literate, passionate female fans out there … but what I cannot help but wonder is, what about casual fans? After all, Reebok doesn’t make less cash just because the money is coming from someone who went to one game and had some fun or wants to acknowledge the favorite team of loved ones/boyfriends/etc.

I know this won’t be a very popular stance – and as I said – my fashion sense is pathetic. That being said, I’ve dated women who had a very flippant, passing interest in sports and I saw more than a few pink hats and jerseys. It seems obvious that this is the demographic Reebok is targeted, however large that group is.

Is it pandering and laughable? In many ways, yes. And sure, there should be more options for women who’d like to wear something a little more flattering than a “tent-like” hockey jersey. (Heck, I don’t even like wearing jerseys, and I dress like a baffled American tourist.) Still, Reebok is a clothing company trying to make money. My guess is that they’re trying to appeal to a niche within the already niche hockey audience and perhaps they know what they’re doing.

Even if justifiably offends some great female fans in the process.

  1. KT - Aug 10, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    I don’t mind the shape so much as the not-team-specific colors and “shininess” of them. If it was the regular team jersey look with that shape, I might possibly consider buying one. But I have my favorite jerseys already and am not giving them up.

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