It might seem silly to witness grown men and women get overly excited, cynical or even downright angry over an article of clothing. But when you invoke the holy sanctity that is a sports jersey, we fans tend to get a bit obstinate and opinionated. Everyone has an opinion on their favorite team’s uniform. Many of the modern jerseys tend to overcomplicate their designs with fancy stripes, strange color combinations and overly cartoony or hyper-aggressive logos. We tend to favor the teams that pull off a simple design with solid color choices and an eye-catching logo. It should come as no surprise then that most of these teams existed before anyone knew what an alternate jersey even was. Sometimes simple is best. With apologies to the Tigers, Yankees, Raiders and Lakers (who all get an honorable mention), here are the ten slickest uniforms in sports today.
10. Philadelphia Phillies
Underrated by most, the Phillies’ uniforms are pretty impressive. The team name script on the front isn’t too starchy or boring. The white home jerseys are a bit off-white and mix well with the red and blue. Their logo is simplistic but it works. The blue caps are a nice touch and the decision to move away from pinstripes in the 1990s was a good one (although some versions still feature stripes). The simple additions of the blue striping down the leg and small details like the Liberty Bell on their socks and the star instead of a dot over the “I” in Phills are extremely nice. Elegant design and solid color choices make this a surprising pick, but the Phillies deserve it.
9. Boston Celtics
In recent years basketball jerseys have become rather complicated. Everyone seems to have alternate black jerseys. Some teams have three or four options. Most feature strange piping, odd side panels, and word and number fonts which are incomprehensible. The Celtics keep it simple, as they always have. Their green and white color choices are strong and bold. Small changes like a black accent and trim around the numbers have been added over the years, but the changes have been subtle and simple. Boston or Celtics adorns the front in a slight arc. Their alternate jersey features a darker green and black letters (and that’s not a good thing), but overall the Celtics sport an iconic design that has remained relatively unchanged by modern predilections.
8. Chicago Cubs
We’re ignoring the fact that this year the Cubs are introducing nine alternate throwback uniforms to be worn throughout 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. Some of these choices are actually quite awesome, but it’s just far too many options for any team to offer. That being said, the classic Cub uniform is great. It features blue pinstripes which many teams have gone away from over the years. The logo is simple and effective, and though some have grown rather tired of it, we wouldn’t change it. Blue and white color selection with red highlights offers a bold contrast that works well on a number of jerseys. The road grey jerseys are equally nice and underrated, with large blue lettering on the front and blue piping that stands out nicely against the road gray.
7. Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings uniform is built around a timeless logo design. What’s better than a winged wheel to symbolize the city of Detroit? The colors are classic red and white and the lettering on the jerseys is simple and effective. The white sleeve accents and stripe at the bottom on their red home jerseys is striking. The road jerseys reverse this design and add a red collar trim. The lettering on the back has a nice vertical lift to it. As an original six team, there’s no doubt that the Red Wings possess some of the best uniforms in the NHL.
6. Oakland A’s
Maybe it’s a green and white thing, but the color choices of both the A’s and the Celtics just seems to work. Few teams in any professional sport even use these colors, let alone pull them off. Sure the A’s might run out an occasional lemon-yellow throwback or two, but their core uniform colors and design choices are strong enough to make this list. The elephant logo is unique, sharp and has an interesting history. It’s rumored that John McGraw once called the A’s the “white elephants” for some reason or another around the turn of the century. Connie Mack embraced the term and used it to formulate a team logo in 1902 – the same year the A’s won the American League Pennant.
5. Boston Bruins
You might have heard this before, but a strong color scheme, a simple but effective logo, well-placed stripes and a stunning alternate jersey make the Bruins a lock for this list. The black and gold color plays well together, but isn’t overwhelmingly one-sided one way or the other. The Logo is again simple and something that probably wouldn’t make the cut in this day and age if it was offered up to a new team. They’ve made a lot of simple changes over the years and some of their past jerseys wouldn’t have made this list (like the one with the bear logo on the front). Even so, some of their seldom used jersey choices – like the all gold top used at the 2010 Winter Classic, are equally impressive.
4. Green Bay Packers
The Packers feature green, gold and white and combine it with a simple logo design to create a strong uniform. Their away jerseys might be better than their home ones. The yellow helmets shouldn’t work, but they somehow do. There’s no piping or trim around their overly large jersey numbers, and that seems to work as well. Any striping is kept to a minimum, unlike other teams which have been introducing all manner of flares, stripes and additional color combinations in recent years. Bonus points for the dark blue throwback jerseys, which are equally awesome.
3. Chicago Bears
The bears have maintained a navy blue, white and orange color scheme since their inception. Their current home jerseys feature white letters trimmed in orange on a dark blue with three orange and white stripes on the sleeves – and that’s it. The logo is timeless, though like many designed so long ago, it’s very simplistic. Their alternate orange colored jerseys they’ve worn around Halloween honor the Bears teams of the 1930s, and they work extremely well, as do the darker jerseys with orange lettering. The white tops with dark pants flip the color scheme, maintaining a consistent and classic look.
2. Montreal Canadiens
Red, white and blue are not only American colors. The Canadiens have long mashed these colors together to form the best uniforms in hockey. Combined with an unforgettable logo, the Habs’ home jerseys feature blue and white horizontal striping in just the right places and proportions. The numbers on the road whites are blue trimmed in white and red and leap right off the shirt. They alternate helmet colors, blue at home and white on the road. There’s nothing overly complicated here and that’s part of what works. Combined with blue shorts, the Canadiens prove that simple color combinations with just the right amount of trim work extremely well.
1. Saint Louis Cardinals
Like most teams on this list, the Cardinals adhere to a lasting, simple design. They’ve made slight modifications to their uniforms over the years, but their commitment to retaining a classic look is impressive. Their president Bill DeWitt III has taken an active interest in the subject – stressing just how important this topic is to the team. The logo is simplistic, but effective. The colors, red and white, seem to work well enough together that half the teams on this list use it as well as the Cardinals. Their new alternate uniforms are a great homage to the Cardinal teams of the past and feature an off-white color and red piping around the neck and front. There’s simply no better option than these in baseball, or elsewhere.