During the 2018 World Cup the Nigerian football team made headlines by wearing traditional knee-length garb en route to Russia. The Senegalese team followed suit, so to speak. Both teams looked fantastic and broke the boringly comfort-focused airport dressing mould.
This weekend Manchester City showed off its own version of football team travel gear. Stepping out in Miami, the boys, including Joe Hart and Brahim Diaz, wore ‘Manchester City’ emblazoned T-shirts with shorts which sat just above the knee, socks pulled high and smart derby shoes. All in black. They looked like a team of slightly threatening Just Williams – and we liked it.
The Twittersphere, on the other hand, felt differently. One person wrote: "Looks like when you forgot your trainers and had to do P.E. in your Clarke’s school shoes." Another wise internet owl tweeted "WHAT ARE THOSEEE.’
Sure, we can see why people aren’t warming to the look, but to be honest we’re all over it. It’s a bit like that time when Lebron James and the Cleveland Valiers wore coordinated Thom Browne suits – just as totally nuts and, as a consequence, equally brilliant.
The reasons this look works so well are three-fold. For one, they’ve colour coordinated to a tee. Two, they are all completely fiercely owning the look (just look at those stances), and three, they’ve collectively hit a bunch of this season’s biggest menswear trends directly on the head.
Dressed head-to-toe in black Dsquared2 (Dean and Dan Caten personally styled the guys) the logomaniacal T-shirts had a zeitgeisty streetwear appeal. Then there’s the shorts-socks-shoes combo.
Miuccia Prada sold knee length socks in with aplomb for Spring/Summer 2018, and Alessandro Michele at Gucci has gone mad for a calf-covering sock in recent seasons. There’s something about the like which feels knowing and strangely chic in its childishness. It’s also a look that I’ve gone for personally and for which I’ve received compliments a-plenty. Providing your legs look good enough (rest assured the Man City team’s do – mine are halfway there), your shorts are perfectly tailored and your socks are brand new and long enough, the look may be strong but it’s never wrong.
If you’re up for the challenge but scared of the creepy schoolboy connotations, an easier way of doing the socks and shorts trend is to opt for a pair of tennis shoes worn with white tube socks (pulled up just above the curve of a calf) a pair of shorts and a T-shirt or polo in tonal shades.
It’ll look great, as our friends in Manchester say, swear down our kid.