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Freeman Cebu Sports

Sartorial Elegance

ALLEZ - JV Araneta - The Freeman

“Sartorial Elegance” used to be one phrase I came upon when an article I read described the way the former LA Lakers Coach Pat Riley dressed himself up during games. “Sartor” comes from the latin word, “patcher” or one who alter garments. Some dictionaries defined it as a, “tailor”. Every time I hear that phrase, it reminds me of the Showtime coach.

So what am I talking about clothes in a cycling column?

Well, these past few years, there has been quite a change in the design concept  of cycling kits.  But when did this change and what kind of change has occurred since then?

Before 2010, professional cycling jerseys looked like advertising billboards. Also, the sleeves had a different price for the chest and so on. But this wasn’t exclusive to cycling. Athletes in motorsports, boxing, and to a certain degree, tennis were walking billboards, too. But certain sports organizations have rules over their jerseys like the NBA and the NFL. Today, the UFC certainly has an iron grip on what their fighters are going to wear.

But to become a trendsetter in sport couture, you have to be a winner at some point. Andre Agassi was neon-flashy early in his career but it didn’t work out long term because he was not wining at that time. He reinvented himself only after winning Wimbledon in1992.

When I started cycling 30+ years ago, the dream jersey was any jersey that had a garish design. But then it started to change in 2010 when the British team, SKY, burst into the scene. Sky was owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, making it the team with the deepest pockets in the peloton. SKY’s jersey was unheard of at that time-  black and three letters, that’s it!, that’s basically what it was. It was unheard of in cycling- black jerseys for racing under the sun? And a minimalistic 3-lettered logo?

It wasn’t until 2012 when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France that the minimalist concept took over. Rapha, a British cycling kit maker, was the company that clothed SKY at that time and were known for pastel colored, minimalist jerseys. It was basically a boring color but when you are a winner, anything you wear or do becomes fashionable. And then the rest of the peloton followed.

But it didn’t end there. When Wiggins retired, he associated himself with a new player, Lecol. While Wiggins was a Tour champion and a holder of the fastest hour record on a bike, he also had a quirky sense fashion that endeared to high-end crowd and cycling cultist.

Today, the most popular jerseys are one-colored clothing only, either black or pastel. But Rapha’s and Lecol-s kits can don’t come cheap. If you want a cheaper jersey but is comfortable and elegant,  there is SALT+FIN, a locally made brand. If you want to look and feel like a pro without the price tag, S+F is the way to go.

PAT RILEY
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