Sunday, June 21, 2015

Uniforms don't have to be uniform

One of these things is not like the other....
Every year I see leagues struggling with the horrible task of obtaining new uniforms that won't piss
everyone off. Good luck, ladies, it's a virtually impossible. I've been through this tedious process twice, and it's been nothing but hurt feelings, grumpy players and nobody is happy with the final results. PERFECT! Isn't that what we were looking for? Ugh. Even the word "jersey" used to make me want to run away from the committee. Why can't roller derby be like figure skating, where everyone wears sequins? Or fringe? Or lame onesies which look horrible on every human ever? I'd be ok if everyone looked equally terrible, but that's not going to happen either.

The problem with uniforms is that there is no one style that flatters everyone. Bridesmaid dress designers have been trying for YEARS to design a dress that fits tall, short, thin or wide ladies, and they fail miserably. Jerseys have the same fatal flaw. I'm six feet tall, with no boobs, and wide shoulders. What flatters me isn't going to flatter my teammate who is five foot nothing with a huge rack. It shouldn't fit us the same! Only a crazy person would make a claim that it would flatter us both. (And yet I constantly read reviews of uniforms "flattering every figure in the league." Liarpants) When a league makes a decision about new jerseys, they tend to take the all or nothing approach. Either you all agree to wear this one style, or you don't get new uniforms. Generally what happens is that the majority wins and you all get to deal with your new look. Ugh.

I really wasn't digging the style of our newest jerseys. They were tight and clingy, which I hate, and they were fairly low cut. The strangest thing was that the white ones seem to be even more low cut than our black ones. I'm certain that wasn't the case, but somehow when I wore the white one, I felt way more exposed. Of course I was seriously disappointed in the new jerseys because our old ones weren't the greatest either, and I had high hopes for the new ones. Sigh. That's what I get for being an optimist! Kidding! I started to really look at what other teams did for uniforms, and I remembered when we played Killamazoo, some of their uniforms had a different cut than the rest of them. In fact, one of my favorite players, Javelin, had sleeves on her jersey, and nobody else did. Aha! There was a way to possibly make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!

With permission from my league, I decided to look for different options. My search led me to Derbyology and the storm style jersey. It wasn't as low cut and it definitely wasn't as clingy; the best part was the price was almost exactly what I would pay if I stayed with what the league ordered. I have a preexisting relationship with Cub and Bear who run Derbyology, but I have to say that even if I didn't, I would have ordered from them anyway. They had no minimum number of jerseys I had to order, and their turn around time was great. I've worn my new jerseys all season, and they don't pull from velcro and the printing has held up great!
All photos by Johua R. Craig
 So, I was able to get something I felt comfortable with, and it fits in nicely with what my league ordered. In fact, many people don't even notice I'm wearing a different style jersey. Win win! After this experience, I really think leagues should try to be a little flexible with the styles you choose. I know that one of the reasons leagues want to order from the same place, is that they might get a better deal with large numbers ordering, but letting people have a choice probably won't upset the final number too much. Most people in my league are happy with their jersey choice for the most part; I think I've been approached by one other teammate who was serious about getting info for ordering a different style. I'm sure there's a control freak aspect of jersey ordering, and that's ok too. Maybe leagues should look at ordering from places that offer a variety of different styles, and that way the "look" of the uniform won't be that radically different.  Relax people, as long as they look pretty close, nobody is going to get bent out of shape and say you don't look like a cohesive team.

But, I still think all teams should seriously reconsider rocking some fringe.

Just sayin'.

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