Sports Uniforms for the…Bold…

Ah, so it’s a rainy Tuesday here in not-so-Aridzona and a fun day to consider: sports uniforms. Why sports uniforms? Because I don’t particularly like organized sports and abhor sitting in front of the mindless (tube, monitor, tablet, fill in the blank) while watching illiterate millionaires provide a life for a mindless and inert audience. However, I do enjoy observing bicycle racing. Part of the thrill is seeing athletes who are of normal height and weight perform endurance feats that are almost beyond belief. Sure, some of the guys (and gals) are imbibing a cocktail of performance-enhancing-drugs but they’re still amazing. (OK, Lance Armstrong turned out to be an asshole but his assholiness was mostly due to bullying, lying and arrogance which seem to be a part of his persona, not a drug-induced state.)


Now, on to the uniforms. The image above is of the Columbian women’s cycling team (borrowed from BBC, though it’s also posted on Google’s pack of pix). Fake? A result of some demented graphic designer with too much time to spare? No. This image came from a recent team appearance (yes, I understand that the reader might construe this line as a pun) at the Tour of Tuscany in Italy. Transparent Lycra, provides venting for sweaty parts? No, merely a design that wasn’t particularly well considered before committing the colors to cloth. Below is another photo of the same group of riders taken in another location during the same race, this time from a slightly different angle.


One can see the wrinkles in the spandex and might realize that the questionable area between the riders’ legs is not what you think it is (unless you already realized that it’s a chamois pad). What might designers of team garb learn from this? Well, any creation that incorporates flesh tones is likely going to be a mistake, particularly if said flesh tones are covering any sensitive area of the body. Spandex is particularly a problem for the graphic artist (what an apt term) though it isn’t merely poor choice of colors that can raise eyebrows among the onlookers as the image of the Polish bicycling team below shows quite vividly.


Years ago when I spent many hours pedaling a road bicycle about the countryside, I invariably donned a lightweight pair of shorts and a vented shirt over my bib Lycra. Modest? Not really. Had I been equipped with impressive parts like some of these young men, I would have flaunted my stuff. Instead, I concealed my shortcomings. Such is life.


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