Strip Tease

The Best and Worst of Fashion on the Football Pitch

Football shirts are generally associated with the wrong end of the fashion spectrum. Coventry’s ill-fated dalliance with the color brown was emblematic of the very worst of the 70s; Hull once played a season in strips that made them look like effete tigers; and if anything’s going to stop much-fancied underdogs Ivory Coast at this year’s World Cup it could be this horror show of an away kit. Now and again teams pull off something special and allow their players to pull on a shirt that isn’t a disgraceful mess of go-faster stripes and stomach-turning color combinations. Very occasionally, such shirts become iconic and indelibly linked to moments of glory in the minds of football fans. Brazil’s bold yellow, blue and white will forever bring back memories of the first World Cup to be shown in grainy color in 1970, while the simple red change strip England wore for their only triumph in 1966 is now as familiar as the home colors of white and blue. We’ve put together a gallery of some of our favorite football shirts, from Adidas’s remarkable achievement of taking the Netherlands’ garish orange and making it elegant in 1974, to Umbro’s recent Kasabian-fronted update of England’s away shirt. There’s also one joker in the pack to keep you on your toes.

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