College Retro Stripes
March 24, 2009 | Kevin Zdancewicz


We’ve talked about throwbacks here at Jersey of the Week before with the “Kicking It Old School” series (baseball edition coming this spring!). The throwback concept has been embraced my many leagues and many teams as a cool reason to wear something different while honoring a franchise’s history at the same time. But throwback designs are usually worn minimally: it may be a one-time “retro night” or only every-so-often. Another phenomenon altogether is the act of making a retro-inspired jersey or a design that was used some other time in the team’s history a full-time uniform.

An interesting case of this has popped up recently in college basketball with multiple teams adopting uniforms with retro stripes around the collar, cuffs, and side panels. The University of Alabama (featured photo above) is one of the best examples. The Crimson Tide has this striping element on each of its uniforms, which are especially fascinating for the simple lettering and the vertical stripes down the side of the jersey and shorts. DePaul University also features some sweet retro stripes on its home and road uniforms. This stripe style – which is based on this old school design – is different from Alabama’s, but intriguing nonetheless with the thinner horizontal stripes as compared to the next school. Marquette is the third team to rock retro-striped uniforms, which are based on the school’s 1974 jerseys. The Golden Eagles try to modernize the look with shoulder panels and the three-colored stripes no doubt make this one of the most vivid uniform sets in college basketball.

With this retro striping trend, some regular season games are starting to look like a trip down memory lane. But games like that are already prone to happen because of a number of schools that wear rather plain designs that aren’t much different from uniforms worn for decades previously. The difference is that many of these schools have simply never changed their uniforms, similar to the Yankees in baseball. This is what makes college basketball retro stripes more in line with NFL’s Jets or Giants is that like these New York franchises, schools that wear retro stripes now have had different designs in the interim since the last time their uniforms featured them. Retro stripes were a certain uniform element that was used in the past, eventually fell out of commonplace, and is now unique when reintroduced. So the game looks normal when DePaul or Marquette plays a team with "modern" uniforms, but at the same time, an Alabama-Arkansas game looks remarkably similar to something like this. Finally, an article on this topic can not neglect mentioning another team whose uniforms haven’t changed much over the years and have another example, albeit not on the uniform, of retro stripes.

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