Rock The Meh…

The Gays Weigh in on the Caps’ Winter Classic Fashion Statement

Far be it from us to perpetuate any more stereotypes about gay men and fashion… Wait, who are we kidding? You’ve seen us trawl the concourses at Verizon and know our look. Fashion for us is basically cargo pants, hoodies and clean Caps jerseys.

New York Fashion Week was earlier this month, but Caps Fashion Day was yesterday. We were giddy with anticipation for the Winter Classic uni debut. How giddy?

fry-take-my-moneyAnd thanks to that killer scoop by RMNB, we got an early look at the design ahead of the official unveiling. Our initial reactions were blasé. But over the years, we’ve learned to not put too much weight behind our first impressions. As the (true) story goes, upon our first meeting back in the 90s (when Bill Clinton meant presidential leadership and a young Jerry Seinfeld was teaching America how to laugh again), Doug thought Craig was an insufferable prick, and Craig’s first take on Doug was that he was a smokin’ hot ginger.

OK, first impressions can be illuminating…but we digress, we’re here to talk fashion.

Everyone else seems to have lobbed in their opinions already: here, (video), here, and here. Oh, and here, here, here (and here), here, here, a little here, here, here (and again here and pix), and some more here (and again here, herehere, hereherehere.

What’s missing? Gays. We thought the best way for us to review the WC unis was in a point-counterpoint manner. That will help yield honest opinions – free from confirmation bias, offer spontaneity, some ha-has and allow Craig to say, “Doug, you ignorant slut!”  So let’s have at it:

Hot Takes: 

Craig: Let’s be honest, neither of us have the bona fides to talk fashion. On our best days we look like unmade beds. with mismatched sheets. Neither of us watch any of the fashion reality shows: Project Runway (is that still on?) or Say Yes to the Mess or whatever. God, what mind-numbing crap that is, even by reality TV standards. Any time we have to devote to reality TV is taken up by Deadliest Catch (#TeamNorthwestern) and Washington Capitals hockey.

I really was ready to open my wallet to drop some shekels on a new jersey and was waiting for the WC release to purchase. The first Caps jersey I ever bought was the CapsPens WC throwback, and it remains my fave. It helps that it sports LAUGHLIN / 18 across the back, too. And it’s already been decided, the next jersey I buy will be emblazoned with MAY / 16.

But here we are, 24 hours after the debut, I’m not convinced I want to buy one, especially at $140 USD. They want to evoke the 1930’s? Really? When I think the 30s, I think economic dislocation, disease, ruthless dictators and war. Wait – that’s today’s front page of the Washington Post!

Doug: First, so I can beat you all to the punch, I am perhaps the least fashionable gay man ever. Ever. This will surprise exactly nobody anywhere. My idea of haute couture is wearing my best Champion underwears (#TeamBoxerbriefs) at the breakfast table. (Now clean THAT image from your brain!) I’m more of a hot mess than Gary Busey. If I walk into the alley on Tuesdays, the garbage men try to load me into the truck.

I could go on, by my Joan Rivers Joke Bank account is running low. All this said, I know what I like. Which leaves what I don’t like, which is sort of a specialty of mine. We don’t have time for all the things I don’t like. Ask me sometime, because that question is one of those things that I don’t like. And in the end, I don’t like the Caps’ Winter Classic jerseys. Not Michael-Kors-spitting-up-venom don’t like, but just in the end, don’t like.

The Jersey and Logo:

Craig: I’m not so sure about that “W.” I’ll admit, I like it far better than the curly Nat’s W, but this one looks too plain and says to me that they didn’t want to splurge on an extra font set. I’ll also admit, I didn’t immediately pick up on the Washington Monument stick tap in there. I also like the nod to the DC flag with the three stars. I’m all about DC (except for that statehood nonsense. Until we run ourselves as a proper municipality, I don’t see us worthy of statehood. Personally, I’d gladly trade voting rights for a federal income tax exemption for DC residents). How did this get so political? [Doug: it always gets political with you!]

holtby-607x910Doug: When it hits the ice, believe me, the first thing anyone is going to see – other than Holtby’s hair – is color. But what are we seeing here? Yeah, I get it. The Caps are Red, White and Blue, but do they have to be so dowdy? I know the whole impression is supposed to be old-timey, but all I’m getting here is old. Honestly, that red looks like it should be in a Cialis commercial. The blue? How can you make blue so bleah? Give ’em this: the didn’t screw up the white.

So all this is supposedly an echo back to Washington hockey players dating to the 30’s. There’s a lot of things we decided we didn’t need to take with us from the thirties. Geez, guys, you had an entire tableau to work with – including those wacky black/blue/gold Eagle things that I love – and you decided to go with overall color and design that says “I’m too tired to do something, I give up”? Hello?

Craig: I think one of the reasons I was so meh at first was the red jersey over the red backdrop used for the photos didn’t provide enough contrast; it blended into the background. It’s starting to grow on me and I’m in like, but still not in love (See above, Re: Doug).

It’s a different shade of red that may take some getting used to. Can someone get us the HEX code, please? And speaking of those pics, is the best possible job in hockey being assigned to a Braden Holtby photo shot? Answer: Yes. Finally, the shoulder stripes? No. More on that below where we talk about the other set of mismatched stripes.

Doug: That “W”. Oh my Gawd. I just can’t.

The Pants:

WC pantsCraig: I like that shade of blue and the “W” and stars is a nice touch. If I bought a pair of those pants, would they make my fat ass look fat? The side stripes are OK, too. I’d like to see this style in a cargo short.

Doug: Looking at these, and that “W”, I begin to understand what it must be like when your four-year-old presents you with her first macaroni art project. “It’s a doggie!” she squeals with delight, and you, not wanting to raise someone you eventually read about on TMZ, praise its beauty and brilliance. But you know, deep down, that doggies don’t have antlers. And looking at these you know, deep down, the Washington Monument is not the Tower of Pisa, twinned, and leaning in on itself as if they are about to collapse. Why do you hate America?

The Socks:

WC StripeyCraig: OK, I never played the game but don’t hockey player guys wrap tape around their socks to… I guess hold them up or something? What’s white tape going to look like spun around calves that already have four white stripes? Answer: Not good. Do they use clear tape? I don’t know – we’ve never played the game – as we’ve been reminded like only a gazillion times.

But the stripes… Add the socks stripes to the shoulder stripes on the jersey and the look is all wrong. Are we trying to hypnotize the Hawks? “You are getting sleeeepy!  You will commit O Zone stick penalties”


Doug: Stripes on the legs, stripes on the shoulders…what is this, Guys and Dolls? The stripes here and there and everywhere just have too much of a Lao Gai feel for me. Are these being made by Chinese prisoners who are secretly trying to tell us something? I hate to say it, but oldie-timey teams like the Red Wings and the (shudder) Bruins have had plenty o’ stripes in their day. Did they spill out onto their Winter Classic unis? I think not.

The Event: 

Craig: I think these guys summed it up best –

RMNB White guys

It’s always nice to see the Commish,Ted and all the brass on one riser. That Lerner guy seems cool, right? But what do we know about base ball? The presser moved along nicely and the staging was mostly OK (says the guy who worked for Mike Deaver). I watched the stream in my office but I’ve already forgotten which client I billed that hour to.

WC Presser

I’m taking off my PR hat now – what still has me scratching my head is: Just WTF is EPIX? We come from C-SPAN backgrounds so we know all too well about obscure networks buried in the upper reaches and outer limits of the cable dial, but this is one channel I’ve never heard of. Hell, we go into a dead panic when Caps games are on CSN Plus. Despite all the advance notice, at 7:00pm on those game nights we’re cursing like longshoremen as we scroll through the never-ending channel guide, in utter desperation looking for the game feed, fearing we’ll miss Joe B’s opening homily. “Doug! I think it’s on channel 2,000 something! Check that!”

Epix has only have 9.5 million subscribers, which may seem like a lot but there are 103 million cable home nationwide (114 million US homes total) and HBO is seen 30 million. And they’re not on the Comcast/Xfinity in DC so for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t exist. Luckily they have some access scheme for non-subscribers and because they promise ‘unfiltered language,” we’re bound to watch. Let’s be honest, we’ll watch no matter what, even if it aired on the Hallmark Channel and was anchored by Kirk Cameron. Attention Epix Producers: We could make for an ideal featurette segment:  gays + sports = money (it’s in all the papers). You want unfiltered? Did we say longshoremen? We can swear like Prussian artillery officers if that will bring the ratings.

Doug: Let’s let Craig’s rant on EPIX stand as it is. And let us never mention it again.


Bless Monument for throwing us a bone and posing this generic Caps player on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. We’re calling him Jon-Eric Cappe.


Doug:  I can NOT let this go without mentioning! So here’s this make-believe Caps player, and with that chin cleft? What Cap has ever had a chin like that? I was going to say Alan May, but those were scars. Character scars.

My final take: these are kind of a miss when it comes to design. That said, I’ll be thrilled to watch ANYONE in Caps colors hit the ice January 1st. And…can you hear us NHL?…open skating on the Reflecting Pool would be THE BEST commercial you could ever manufacture.


About Craig

Proudly serving gay hockey fans and players since 2010
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