Rhinestones and Ruffles: Worst Sports Uniforms Ever

Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms in 1970's and 1980's. Disastrous.
Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms in 1970's and 1980's. Disastrous.

Rhinestones shining, feathers dancing, leotards sparkling, ruffles bouncing, tights constricting, with the blinding spotlight on you…all sounds like a bad nightmare, right? Not so much, believe-it-or-not, for those who partake in theatrical sports such as gymnastics, ballet and figure skating. They consider the aforementioned glitz and glamour to be their game-time uniforms.

Part of the appeal behind gliding across the ice, or twirling in pirouettes while wearing Pointe shoes, happens to be the aesthetics: if done with great skill, the results are classically beautiful. But not all of us are meant to mesmerize audiences with our grace and poise—fortunately—and instead have invented football, soccer, baseball and basketball to quench our rabid thirst for raw aggression and barbaric battle. To meet this basic animalistic need, athletes have sacrificed fashion-sense for victories, and flattering-silhouettes for gold medals. To help prove this point, a few “Serious Sport Fashion Failures” are listed below.

Houston Astros, 1975-1986, MLB: Leave it to the disgustingly matched red, yellow and orange stripes to steal the show while attending any Astros game! The horrific pattern makes its appearance on the V-neck and short sleeves of the doomed white jersey, along with an awkwardly placed black star among the chaos. Did I mention there were matching sorbet colored, side-striped pants?

Milwaukee Admirals, 1980-1990s, NHL: Quite honestly, this lineup must have suffered some serious confusion while trying to make accurate passes to teammates amidst the vomit-inspired checkered jerseys, and its opposition’s less bizarre ensembles. Upon further examination of the poor Admiral’s uniform, it seems as though it was pulled directly off grandma’s kitchen table 50 years ago. The rather dull burgundy and cream lines in combination with the cartoon mascot, which looks like it was drawn by a fifth grader, make for a great Halloween costume that could win any “Ugliest” award. But please, don’t cause yourself any harm by wearing the Milwaukee concoction and just stay away!

Tucson Toros, 1980s, Minor League Baseball: It’s a mess of the color wheel to say the least, and it progressively becomes more mind-boggling with the passage of time. Composed of sage green, lemon yellow, fire engine red and pure orange; the outfit, designed by a severely color-blind person, would be more affective at halting traffic than stop signs themselves. The team’s logo and name are strewn across the chest-area right over the chunky lines of color which even looks off-kilter. When the name of a team is not centered correctly on their official duds, one can predict—quite accurately—the success rate of the club in question. And yes, it was a dismal season for the Toros.

Denver Nuggets, 1990s, NBA: Start feeling bad for these players, if you didn’t already some 20 years ago. The boys’ away and home-designated getups consisted of identical “Care Bear” and “Barney”-inspired, rainbow-colored scenery of what was supposedly Denver’s city and mountain ranges. The childlike image was paired with a royal blue or white base, accented by yellow bands along the jersey’s edges, while the random rainbow wrapped around the waistline, tragically completing the entire circle of madness. And the shorts are simply an edited version of the top half, but with rainbow stripes down the sides. The last time I can remember seeing this much of the color spectrum on one garment, was at my first-grade class party with those creepy, makeup-caked clowns.

Not to exclude the equally hideous faux-pas by the Memphis Grizzlies, Team USA Soccer (1994), Pittsburg Pirates (hats only!) and Stade Francais rugby (2009).

So if you’re the fabulously fashion-conscious type, the majority of typical athletic garb will inevitably fail to meet any sort of normal design standards, period. Let’s just say the rough and tough, sweat-producing physical stress of competition is not the least bit glamorous—and sometimes downright ugly.