Ask Nic: Can I Wear My Team’s Colors at the Office?
So your team made it to the postseason and you want to be spirited on the clock but don’t want any of your corporate acquaintances to see you in your most prized (yet juvenile) article of clothing—that authentic #87 Sidney Crosby jersey? I salute and support this decision, and not just because I am a New York Rangers fan. What I can't support is seeing grown men or women in mesh tops with numbers on their backs. (Unless they really play on the particular teams they're outfitted for—and yes, the company softball team counts.)
But I digress. Before we dive into my suggested rules of good game day apparel etiquette, here is the rest of my list of festive fan practices I suggest you retire, effective immediately.
- Team emblazoned hoodie and jersey combinations
- Jerseys under blazers
- Hoodies under blazers
- Sports shades on croakies. (I went to college in the south and this look still makes me shudder a little)
- Temporary tattoos (even for your nails, ladies)
- Mardi Gras-style team beads or jewelry
- The tucked-in team tee
- Mascot-adorned lanyards
- Flair hair visors
- Eye black
In fact, avoid anything that makes you appear like someone the Jumbotron camera crew would pan to in search of an obvious display of sartorial obnoxiousness. If you're being mistaken for a frat guy from central casting, you're doing the team-spirit thing wrong.
Stick to what you know—and what you would normally wear—but styled from your team's colors.
Easy Four-Part Plan to a Color-Coded Game Day Wardrobe
Step 1. Use the most classic color in your team's combo to anchor your outfit. Men, if you normally wear blazers and slacks to the office, stick with that but invest in a (insert your team here)-hued option. For instance, Los Angeles Clippers or Rangers fans could try wearing something like this royal blue, unstructured blazer by Incotex, or this even brighter, corduroy option by Massimo Alba.
Step 2. Reserve the trickier color for secondary items or accessories, and use it sparingly. (It should pop, not assault your eyes.) So the royal blue blazer above would get paired with a pair of red chinos (like these from Suitsupply). If you're a Memphis Grizzlies fan, you could mix in a second shade of blue (since you have a total of three in your team's color scheme), such as the one in this pair of slim-fit cargo chinos by J.W. Brine.
Step 3. Simplify shirting to solid dress or t-shirt options only. In the outfits outlined above, either could be topped off with a white, semi-spread-collar dress shirt. An alternative (more casual Friday) option could be to wear a blue blazer with a pair of white jeans and a garment-dyed red t-shirt. (J.Crew makes great ones.)
Step 4. Accessorize wisely. This is where it's easy to overkill on the flair. Try something as simple as a repp or striped knit tie if you think you need a little extra ... something.
Ladies, try to make a bold statement accessory with the tricky colors, then style around it with the simpler ones. For you Houston Rockets fans, this mustard-yellow necklace by Bluma Project is a great anchor piece for a winning, yet inconspicuous, game day rig. Wear it with a pair of black, skinny jeans and a white top (maybe a crisp button-down or a draped silk blouse), then add a pop of red—either in a pump or a handbag. This pair of colorblock heels by Sergio Rossi is statement-making ("Go Rockets!") on its own.
Just remember that looking festive shouldn't take precedence over being stylish. We dress up for what we take pride in, so the key is to take pride in your dressing up. Stick to your comfort zone and you won't risk standing out for all the wrong reasons. (As in choosing Pittsburgh to win tonight in game 5; we got this, Rangers fans!).