Where to score the best vintage football shirts 

Football crazy, fashion mad, grab a retro shirt and play football with the lads

Classic football shirts
Dua Lipa, Winnie Harlow, Hailey Bieber via Getty and @haileybieber
(Image credit: Getty Images)

England is in the Euro semi-finals, but the only thing I’m betting on is the blokecore trend lasting far longer than the penalties. Classic football shirts are undoubtedly having a moment; searches for ‘vintage football shirts’ have increased by 78% on Pinterest Trend and 40% on eBay.

Dua Lipa, Rihanna, and Bella Hadid—who fronted Balenciaga’s footie-themed collaboration with Adidas in 2022—have all been sporting classic shirts. “There’s something genuinely nostalgic about leaning into the retro footie shirt trend and hunting for bold kits you remember having—or coveting—when you were a kid,” says Nav Gill, author of the cult sneakerhead book She Kicks. Gill thinks the unabashed aesthetic of vintage football shirts is partly behind the revival. “The design ‘rules’ were decidedly less inhibited back then (clashing colours! Wild graphic prints!! Oversized cuts!! collars!!!), so they make for genuinely fun if at times slightly unhinged wardrobe choices - in the best way.”

It’s not just fashion that is making a statement with England shirts. The domestic abuse charity Solace has teamed up with the National Centre for Domestic Violence to raise awareness about the risk factors of men’s football tournaments. The #NoMoreInjuryTime campaign launched with an ‘alternative England’ shirt emblazoned with the number ‘38’, which represents the 38% increase in domestic abuse cases when England loses a game.

Kirsty Keoghan, Global GM of Fashion at eBay says, “The summer of sports has everyone buzzing for the latest athleisure trends.” In a recent “cute weekend” carousel on Instagram, Hailey Baldwin Bieber took a typically ‘borrowed from the boys’ approach, blending two seemingly polarising trends - blokecore and coquette (block-corequette? Blokette?).

It’s a look that Nick Drewe, trend expert and Founder of online platform Wethrift says has stemmed from Scandinavian ‘cool girls’. “Blokecore is a really interesting trend. It has been heavily influenced by the Instagram popularity of Scandinavian fashion bloggers who have been playing with combining mannish proportions, sportswear and sleek feminine touches like gold jewellery and ballet pumps,” says Drewe.

“I think it has a lot to do with the blokecore trend,” agrees Charley Keighley, who reworks vintage football styles for the London studio KITTEN. “We seem to be keen to play with the gender norms within clothing; to start with a garment that’s innately created for and enjoyed by a very laddy cis-male audience feels like an act of rebellion. The fashion girlies are reappropriating a male classic, and I’m so here for it.” With over 30 million ‘Blokecore’ videos on TikTok, the trend shows no sign of slowing either.

Brands like Balenciaga, Martine Rose, and Off-White have been peddling sports-infused wares for years now, and some of the industry’s most prestigious names, like Burberry and Louis Vuitton, have cast players in their campaigns. Bukayo Saka and Son Heung-min fronted Burberry’s SS24 campaign, and at the time of writing, the heritage British label has just unveiled a new shoot starring Eberechi Eze and Phil Foden. Aries has also launched its third collaboration with Umbro, which turns 100 this year.

“This massively appeals to an English audience because it has found a way to combine patriotic sportswear with fashion-conscious elements,” says Drewe. Sports shirts, in their purest form, are a cultural signifier; as Gill says, “Football shirts have always been about belonging.” Today, we’re seeing women—who have historically been excluded from the football community—reclaim sports styles and subvert them. “There’s rebellion in the act of taking these oversized, retro shirts associated with the sport’s grittier years and styling them in inherently feminine ways,” adds Gill.

Stateside, soccer team Inter Miami is also having a fashion moment (no doubt down to those very wearable pink kits) with celebrities like Prince Harry, Selena Gomez, Hillary Duff, and literally all the Beckhams turning out to cheer on Lionel Messi’s team. Though, I still think the baby pink and slate grey kit is behind their success.

Naomi and Sam, the designers behind Systemarosa, an independent label ‘bridging football and fashion,’ say the popularity of football shirts stems from street style, which might explain the hotpot of references being mixed together. As Drewe says “blokecore is all about taking a more laidback attitude to fashion.”

It seems fashion really *has* gone football crazy. Get in on the action with our edit of the best football shirts.

SCORE THE BEST FOOTBALL SHIRTS

Mischa Anouk Smith
News and Features Editor

Mischa Anouk Smith is the News and Features Editor of Marie Claire UK.

From personal essays to purpose-driven stories, reported studies, and interviews with celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and designers including Dries Van Noten, Mischa has been featured in publications such as Refinery29, Stylist and Dazed. Her work explores what it means to be a woman today and sits at the intersection of culture and style, though, in the spirit of eclecticism, she has also written about NFTs, mental health and the rise of AI bands.