Updated: Mar 18
I've been collecting football shirts for decades. I'm pretty much the only woman I've ever met (can you even meet yourself?) that owns over 100 shirts. I love rare jerseys and the big-guns (World Cup Finals etc).
These days I love collecting women's jerseys. I had a real soft spot for Norway 2019 WWC away jersey (you know, the one that was red fading into navy blue with the gorgeous badge) and I sourced one for £25. Absolutely buzzing! So, I did the usual and snuck my details in on the website before my wife could stop me. This process is so normal that I don't even skip a beat. I'm always a size medium, whether it's Nike, Adidas, Hummel, Kappa, you name it I'm ALWAYS a football shirt medium.
The shock, the shame, the shambles...
So you can imagine my horror when a few days later my medium Norway jersey arrived and it was like that scene in friends where Ross wears the leather trousers and struggles to get them off!
Firstly, joking aside, I felt totally rubbish. I questioned my habits over the previous week ("but... I've been exercising and eating alright... how can I have gone up at least 2 sizes...") and I stared at my wardrobe full of matching Nike jerseys. I tried them on... my men's England 2018 World Cup jersey fit comfortably and so did my PSG shirt... How come this Nike Norway top made from the same fabric wouldn't go over my shoulders? That's when I realised the women's sizing was an absolute joke. Not only a joke... actually, jokes are funny, but this was a really dangerous and horrible reality that would make women feel utterly crap about themselves.
To put it in perspective:
I am a size 12-14 in most outfits.
I am a medium in sweaters, t-shirts and dresses.
I am a size medium in all brands of men's football shirts.
I am considered XL in women's Nike football jerseys.
This genuinely made me want to pack up any idea of launching a women's football fan retail site. How could I preach about women's fans getting hold of the latest women's football gear when I couldn't bear to look at my women's football purchase. How could I legitimately sell football shirts to people who would inevitably feel horrible about themselves after trying it on. So, I toiled over this for a while and came to two conclusions:
Support change in sizing at company level: write to every brand, continue to shed a light on it, give guidance on how to get support with body dysmorphia and generally loving yourself!
Make it as obvious as possible via our site that it's NOT you. You are perfect. It's the swines that decide to size mens clothes normally and make women feel like ogres.
What's the difference between the men's and women's fit? Which should I choose?
The fit of the shirts are completely different and you should channel your inner Gok Wan before purchasing. The first thing worth noting is: what will I be using this for?
If you're wanting to wear it to the gym, hit the stands at your local club and play a few games of footie in it then make sure the fit doesn't restrict you.
So, you know you need to take into account that the sizing is crazy... now it's time to understand the difference in the fit.
The fabric on a women's jersey often tuck in at the top of the waist below your boobs. This is the standard difference between the men's and women's cuts. It's perfect for certain types of shaped women (lean column, apple, pear, hour glass etc)
Sometimes the fabric is shaped with a curve at the bottom (see here: MUFC 2020/21 Women's Cut). - this is purely aesthetic and is intended to add a feminine touch. Personally I quite like the arch!
Sometimes the sleeves are completely different (usually much shorter) on the women's cut (see here: Guatemala Home Jersey). Again, this is of no benefit to you as a player. It's purely aesthetic. Personally I hate short sleeves as (like a lot of women) I'm not a fan of my arms.
The worst cuts (in my opinion) are the low neckline, short sleeve, tucked right in jerseys which combine every element of nipping and tucking to the women's jersey.
Here's one of our models wearing a medium women's jersey (usually a small). She said the fabric was really restrictive on her chest and it was all just a bit too tight on the arms/waist etc.
Again, like everything, there'll be some people who'd love the fit of this kind of jersey!
Think about where you'll be wearing it (I wouldn't recommend wearing a low neck, high sleeve, restrictive top to play footie in for instance)
Think about your body shape and if your body naturally tucks inwards below your boobs (Here's a helpful guide: CLICK HERE)
Always measure yourself before buying a women's jersey... don't just take for granted that you have 100+ men's jerseys that fit like a glove!
4. REMEMBER IT'S NOT YOU! The sizing is silly and we'll keep fighting for change :)
It's awesome to know there's a choice out there for female fans and I think that should be the biggest take away from this. You can now wear a jersey that suits your body shape and that's pretty darn awesome!