In the sports world, fashion has to serve practical purposes-- its fabric has to be comfortable and moisture-wicking, its shapes have to be well-fitting and easy to move in, it has to meet regulations and it all has to work around or over or under protective gear.
That's not to say, however, athletic uniforms are totally devoid of style. On the contrary, they often involve the history of a team's country or region--maybe even of the team itself--in emblems or designs, along with a usually bold color scheme. Take, for example, the jerseys on the field at this year's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
While the games are well underway, we're taking a look at six colorful home jerseys and their style stories.
South Africa, the home of the 2010 World Cup, is a country with an oft-turbulent history, and it's represented, in part, in the colors and symbols of the South African jersey. During apartheid, the springbok antelope was a national symbol of South Africa, as well as a mascot for many athletic teams. After apartheid ended, however, only the country's rugby team kept its springbok mascot (after intervention from then-president Nelson Mandela); now, teams are known as "Proteas," and that regional (and sometimes-controversial) flower is shown on this year's South African jersey.
Though Argentina's jerseys traditionally sport these pale blue and white stripes, this year's jersey has a few special features, reports Football Fashion. Double blue stripes, silver lining and special mesh material all recall the jersey design of the winning 1986 team.
Mexico's jerseys feature a sublimated feather design in homage the the country's Eagle warriors, Aztec infantry soldiers considered the bravest soldiers of noble birth and those responsible for taking the most prisoners. In current culture, they're a Mexican tradition, as are the red, green and white hues of Mexico's flag.
Along with incorporating the color scheme of America's flag, the USA team jerseys are swathed with a diagonal, sublimated grey stripe inspired by the jerseys worn by the 1950 USA team. That year marked the first World Cup England played--and famously lost 0-1.
Paraguay's bold red-and-white striped, collared jersey, according to Terra, features an inscription that reads "ñameê koraso mbarete," which translates from the country's language, Guaraní, to "strength, heart and fight."
Italy's bright blue jersey is another with a subtle, sublimated design, this one incorporating a breastplate. Designed by Puma, the shirt includes the brand's logo, as well as Italy's red-white-and-green flag, the latter both in the chest insignia and in the piping around the notched neck.
The World Cup in the Community: