The rules of wearing sports apparel

April 30, 2009 § 10 Comments

I was playing ping pong at work yesterday, and I saw a lot of people leaving the Durham Bulls game. The guy I was playing with noticed there was a kid wearing a Scottie Pippen jersey, which really bothered me for some reason (besides the fact that it was Pippen and not Jordan. Who wants to be a fan of the 2nd banana?)

I go to a lot of sporting events, and I’ve always been amazed at how clueless people are on the rules of showing their support of different teams by so blatantly wearing inappropriate items. To remedy this, I’m going to spell out once and for all the rules around wearing jerseys, t-shirts, and other team logo apparel.

1. T-shirts/polos with a team logo are OK for every day use.

  • You’re a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and you want the world to know? Wear your t-shirt wherever you want. Malls, hanging out with your friends, very casual restaurants… all of these are acceptable. Do you have a polo shirt with the Boston Red Sox logo on it? Wear it anywhere you want, as long as a basic polo shirt is also acceptable. (If you work in a more formal setting, and polos are only allowed on casual Fridays, I’d steer clear of logo wear.)

2. Team jackets are a little over the top, but you can get away with it.

  • A lot of this depends on where you’re going. The rule is, team jackets are casual. Don’t wear your Yankees jacket to your office if it’s formal, but everywhere else is ok. If you’re wearing a tie, you should not be wearing a team jacket.

3. Ties should never have team logos on them.

  • If it’s formal enough to require a tie, then it’s serious enough for you to not need everyone to know you cheer for the Dodgers.

4. Jerseys should only be worn when watching sports.

  • There is no way around this. Going to the game? Throw the jersey on. Going to watch the game at a friend’s place? Throw the jersey on. Watching the game home alone, but want to get in the spirit? Throw the jersey on. Walking around the mall wearing your Mets jersey? You’re a toolbag. (And it should go without saying, but if you’re wearing a basketball jersey, you’d better be wearing a t-shirt underneath.)

5. Never cross-pollinate your sports.

  • You can’t wear your UCLA hat with your Tampa Bay Rays t-shirt, regardless of how casual or informal the setting.
  • Do not, under any circumstance, wear a jersey to a sporting event that is from a different sport. If the Chicago Blackhawks are in town, but the only Chicago paraphernalia you have is a Chicago Bulls shirt, sorry pal, you’re out of luck. (And you’re cheap for being “big fan” and not owning the gear.)

6. Never wear a jersey from a team that isn’t participating in the sport you are watching.

  • Going to see the Carolina Hurricanes and the LA Kings play? Leave your Philadelphia Flyers jersey at home. Going to a Super Bowl party, and you want to wear your team’s jersey, even though they didn’t even make the playoffs? Well, you’re a tool. (The only possible exception to this rule is if you have an old personalized jersey of a player who is now playing on one of the teams involved. It’s ok to wear your Flyers jersey to the Hurricanes v. Kings tilt if it’s an old Flyers Brind’Amour jersey.

7. Personalized jerseys with your name on them are just stupid.

  • You’re a fan, not a player. You’re not on the payroll. Nothing you could possibly do can have an effect on the outcome of the game. Don’t put your name on a jersey. Please. Just don’t. They’re all going to laugh at you.

8. Entire ensembles make you look ridiculous, unless you’re at the game.

  • Just don’t be “over the top the top sports fan” guy. Going to the game in your hat, jersey and jacket is perfectly reasonable. Going to the mall in your hat, jersey and jacket? You’re a tool, and they’re all going to laugh at you.

Any rules that I missed?


§ 10 Responses to The rules of wearing sports apparel

  • Erin says:

    OK, so here’s a question — my brother got Dave a Ronaldo (Brazil) soccer jersey for Christmas one year. Is there ever a time when it would be appropriate to wear it? Dave hasn’t really found one.

    Also, I think you need amendments to your rules for babies. I think personalized jerseys for babies are cute. They’re just looking forward to the day when they dominate in that sport.

    • Lee Taft says:

      Yeah, after writing this, I realized that I have some soccer jerseys that are some of my favorite items of clothing to wear. The majority of soccer jerseys are nothing more than glorified t-shirts, so I think they fall under the same ruling as t-shirts, and are ok to wear for everyday use. (

      • Adam says:

        Sounds convenient for you, Taft. What? Just because this is your blog means you get to make up the rules? Oh…I guess it does. What are the rules for tree-frog green, individually-toed sandals? Or black wife-beaters?

      • Lee Taft says:

        The individually toed shoes are ok. Black wife beaters are pretty much a no-no all the time.

      • Adam says:

        Interesting…I wish this blog were up 7 years ago.

  • Slaughter says:

    9. T-shirts are always good for casual wear, but the other rules apply…such as no mixing teams…also please retire the #8 Kobe shirts/jerseys…he changed his number and so should you.

    • Lee Taft says:

      See, that always bothers me when players switch numbers but stay on the same team. It basically renders their previous fans’ purchases useless. I give you a free pass on those.

  • James says:

    Taft, what about my jersey over the suit look the day after the heels one the tournament?

  • Slaughter says:

    So I was watching the Canes vs. Bruins game and they showed a kid in the stands (7-8 years old) with a Celtics jersey and a Red Sox hat…keep in mind that he was at the Bruins game…this kid violates all of your laws.

  • Devon McDonie says:

    I know this is a bit of a late bump, but I have a Capitals Starter Jacket a Capitals Cardigan and multitude of Capitals Hats, well I was wondering if wearing just a hat and either the Cardigan or Starter Jacket would be violating the rules?

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