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A Critique Of Duke Uniforms

Because uniforms are fashion and fashion invites discussion.

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Feb 4, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Travis Jorgenson (10) passes off the ball against Duke Blue Devils forward Amile Jefferson (21) in their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Feb 4, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Travis Jorgenson (10) passes off the ball against Duke Blue Devils forward Amile Jefferson (21) in their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Some of you all may have noticed my passing comments about uniforms during some of my articles, noticeable the weekend roundups, when I use fashion opinions to fill space between last-minute overreactions and insane predictions. This is because I am a uniform snob who worships at the altar of Paul Lukas, although I often commit the heresies of liking teal, liking purple, and appreciating BFBS (Black For Black’s Sake). Well, now I get to write a whole article about uniform looks, specifically, Duke basketball and football.

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This started as just a basketball preview, but by this point in the season I’ve also seen every part of the football uni on the field and on camera, in various combinations, and since there’s no Duke game this weekend, I felt like this would fill our daily recommended value of football.

So we’ll start with the gridiron. All the helmets, tops, and pants look great on their own, but some looks don’t pop as well as others. Most noticeably, this set right here absolutely should never be worn again, because we lost while wearing it, but also because I am a big believer in monochromatic color schemes: blue jerseys should be worn with blue pants. This is more heresy, according to our friend at Uni Watch, but I think having two parts blue and one white makes imbalance. It is worth noting, our offense has scored ten points or less every time we’ve worn unmatching tops and pants. Coincidence? I think not. However, I do approve of the decision to wear the blue helmets with the black-and-blue scheme against BC. Black or white would have each been less than ideal.

My personal favorite combination is the all-black, which we have not worn this year. We actually haven’t worn the black helmets at all, which I think would have been perfect for the Georgia Tech game, but what we went with looks decent. By far my favorite away look is the "Icy White" we wore against Army. The reflective white helmets and thicker stripes keep us from looking exactly like the Indianapolis Colts (side note: really glad we haven’t gone white-blue-white this year), and the whole look is sleek and fast, like our defense.

There are several changes from last year are in the uniform top, and despite initial complaining from yours truly at the beginning of the year, I’ve changed my mind. The horizontal stripes often looked like they switched between two on each shoulder or three, and the tv numbers on top of the pads were basically useless. Bringing back the over-the-shoulder stripes and lengthening them past what was worn two years ago was a smart move. Moreover, although I was a fan of last year’s number font, it was too small and often resulted in me never knowing which running back we had on the field. Is this Shaun Wilson or Shaq Powell? Perhaps you can tell from this zoom, but on TV and in the broadcast booth, you will never know.

In any case, what’s been established is that our new tops are great, the helmets are great, and all that’s left is putting them in the right combinations. Looking at you, Duke FB Equipment. Match colors with like colors, and never go back to the blue-blue-white. It’s cursed.

In equally exciting news, this year’s basketball jerseys have been floating around Instagram and Twitter for some time now, and this article has a nice summary. Personally, the simple whites and blues are an upgrade from the Duke Chapel models. The sublimated markings were clever, but in my opinion cluttered the back of the jersey. Also, the simpler striping on the sides gives the new unis a sense of classiness in a burgeoning world of dishearteningly loud uniforms.

The new blacks, however, are really tough for me to make a decision on. Once again, I like the simpler look, but I’m not sure about the blue stripes. In this shot they look fantastic. In these, they look somewhat dull. I think it’s because the panel trim is the same color as the panel, there’s not the same contrast you see with the white shorts, blue trim, white panel. We’ll have to wait and see how they look on TV, but I think all three main looks should be a success.

Interestingly, the article mentioned earlier does not show the tournament jerseys, which I was also iffy about, and still am. I’m not sure how I feel about the player names and "Duke" being different colors than the numbers, but the "evolved" diamond arrow down the shorts and the white font with blue trim both look very sharp. I suppose the numbers have to be blue to make them legible, but perhaps they’d be better without the black trim.

In any case, there’s been no official word yet on which whites we’ll wear more often, nor on how much we see the blacks. In the past, when the chapel unis were the only options, we saw pretty even distribution between the blacks and blues on the road. Last year, we started to favor the new blues over both the old ones and the old blacks. So that’s up in the air.

Which look is best? Worst? What would you like to see in the future? Give us your thoughts (for both sports!) in the comments.