Pitch perfect: the best fashion of the new football season – The Guardian

Football and fashion have more in common than you might think. There are seasons in both, for example, and the musical-chairs-style soap opera that is the hiring and firing of – delete as appropriate – the managers/designers at clubs/brands is strikingly similar. As football’s new season begins, here are some style notes to see you through pub chats till May.

The manager: David Wagner

David Wagner



The height of unremarkable fashion … David Wagner. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA

With promotion to the Premier League comes greater scrutiny, not only of your managerial style but also of your actual style. With José Mourinho, Arsène Wenger, Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola forming the top four in terms of dugout inspo, newly promoted Huddersfield’s Wagner has moved straight into the Europa League places. The German has the kind of grin and gesticulations that recall the current Liverpool manager. The square glasses and equally square haircut, plus his propensity to wear trackies, mean he feels right for all the current menswear trends. To the untrained eye, Wagner looks completely unremarkable – and that makes him the height of fashion.

The kit: Manchester United away

Manchester United's new away strip.



Win win … the Red Devils’ new away strip.

Football fashion is fuelled in part by nostalgia and in part by graphic design. Shirts to gain you current style points include the Manchester City Brother shirts worn by the Gallagher brothers in 1994, and the Juventus pink shirt that was inexplicably worn by Canadian rapper Drake last year. This season’s Man United away kit has both – it’s understated in design, and partly based on the strip worn by Ryan Giggs for his debut in 1992. Win win.

The future classic: Wycombe Wanderers’ goalkeeper kit

Wycombe Wanderers goalie kit.



Quite the eyeful … the Wycombe goalie kit.

Scott Brown, the goalkeeper for League 2 side Wycombe Wanderers, had an unexpected moment in the spotlight of social media this July when his home kit was revealed. It was promptly compared to Magic Eye pictures and tie-dye. The club’s goalkeeping coach, Barry Richardson, claimed it was designed deliberately to create “a target area to draw opposition players’ eyes to”.

The hairstyle: anything bleached

Chelsea signing Tiémoué Bakayoko in his Monaco days



The latest to join the bleached-hair bros … new Chelsea signing Tiémoué Bakayoko, in his Monaco days. Photograph: Szwarc Henri/ABACA/PA Images

When Aaron Ramsey – one of the more shy and retiring footballers – decided to bleach his hair last year, we should have known something was up. The likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Paul Pogba have since been at the peroxide. Tiémoué Bakayoko, who has joined Chelsea this summer, is the latest Premier League player whom you will be able to spot a mile off. That bleached crop contrasts well with grass. For more of a subtle hue, look to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose hi-top has just a touch of sun-in.

The terrace hit: the bucket hat

Arsenal’s 90s-inspired bucket hat



Retro … the 90s-inspired Arsenal bucket hat.

Sure, the hordes occupying the north bank will no doubt be wearing Arsenal’s new shirt – the ombre-blue away kit is likely to be popular – but expect to see a few of these bucket hats, too. It’s in the Bruised Banana pattern seen on the club’s away kit in 1991. Then something of an eyesore, time has been kind to the Bruised Banana; thanks to nostalgia, it’s now a bit of a cult favourite. Other teams are served, bucket-hat-wise, too – Liverpool, Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday included.

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