Over the years I have amassed a collection of about 30 Orioles t-shirts. Roughly three of them were designed for women. This begs the question: why the fuck is it so hard for apparel companies to create decent MLB clothing for women who like baseball?
Look, I understand that Majestic sucks for everyone, but the other brands who are licensed could at least try. For years I have been buying $5 and $10 t-shirts outside of Camden Yards on game days, because if I’m going to be in a low quality, ill fitting shirt, I’d rather spend $5 on it and not $30. But I would cheerfully shell out whatever on a decent women’s tank top.
I have been watching baseball as long as I can remember life itself, but I’ve never invested in a jersey. I figured I might want an Adam Jones jersey in case we trade him, so when I was at FanFest for the MLB All Star Game, I tried some on. I quickly realized why I have never ponied up the $100 for one: the jerseys are as shitty as the shirts, but like three times more money.
I’m not a big person, nor am I a very tiny person. I’m a size 4 and a 27 in jeans, with a 34C chest. I have arm muscles from CrossFit, and a long torso from my father (despite being 5’7″, my regular inseam jeans drag unless I get them hemmed). When I buy the men’s shirts, I go for a small. When I buy the women’s, I usually go an XL. Personally, when I wear the shirts that are meant to be cut tight, if I don’t size up, my boobs eat the logos and words on the shirts, making fan apparel pointless if you don’t read it. But for shits and giggles, I tried on the women’s small jersey first. I had thought I would have better luck because the jerseys have a looser fit than the shirts, but I was wrong. The jersey was too tight on the arms, too short in the torso.
The women’s medium jersey was still too tight in my arms, but starting to get weirdly low on my chest for something that was supposed to resemble a professional sport jersey. Gross. Despite my misgivings about the chest, I moved on to the large — and finally my arms didn’t feel restricted in the jersey’s weird little sleeves. My bra, however, was visible.
So I grabbed the boy’s XL and threw that on, and amazingly, it fit just fine. I am an adult woman, and I fit better in an article of clothing designed for a child than I did into the clothing that claimed to be designed for women. Disgusting.
In general, the options for women’s MLB shirts are tight and not very long, two things I hate. I don’t like wearing tight shirts in general, but I especially don’t like wearing them when I’m sitting outside in the miserable summer heat, sweating my ass off and eating crappy, high sodium (bloating) stadium food. I don’t feel the need to ever wear belly shirts, and that’s generally what the women’s cuts tend to be on my longer torso (which is not freakishly long — I can buy clothes cut for adult women just fine literally everywhere else). The MLB clothes for women remind me more of the juniors cuts of clothes, aimed at preteen and early teen girls. For example, here is a woman’s medium shirt that was being sold for the All Star Game, compared to a girls (not juniors. Just child) sized medium shirt:
In fact, I watched many adults and children confuse the gray shirt for a children’s shirt during the five days of FanFest. Who can blame them? Some very skinny pre-pubescent girls (too young to be fitting into clothes labeled for women) did try on the gray shirts, but the neckline did not work for them — otherwise, they fit fine into the smalls.
And it isn’t just the cuts. It’s the options. During the ASG, I spoke with many women who were incredibly disheartened by the drab, boring, and limited options for women.
The best shirts I saw for women at FanFest were Nike drop sleeve tank tops, but they were only team branded, and had no mention of the ASG on them (they were kind of like this one). Loose tank tops with huge armholes are my preference, but that is still a lot of skin showing for women who might not want that. We shouldn’t be stuck with one or two options of cuts of shirts. Is it so hard to show some innovation? I have some shirts from SoulCycle, and they are all amazing. They offer women tops in all kinds of cuts — tight and short, loose with oversized neck and armholes, not very fitted with high necks, etc. It’s easy to find a flattering cut, because people who are in charge of picking out the clothing that represents SoulCycle both understand and give a shit about women’s preferences.
Professional sports fandoms are generally pretty unwelcoming to women. The least they can do is create clothes so we’re physically comfortable.