The football jersey may be little more than a uniform to some, but to others it’s a statement of intent, a war paint that can either strike fear in the opposition or leave them in stitches.
Not least of which is this the case than in the Premier League, a judgmental environment where fashion can often filter into topics of discussion.
Taking every outfield Premier League kit into account, here we’ll consider just which playing strips top the aesthetic charts, with multiple entries permitted if a team happens to have more than one particularly attractive design.
Playing pedigree must have some correlation with having a kit that’s not harmful to the eye as the promoted trio of Crystal Palace, Hull and Cardiff all miss out on a placement. But just who has the most glamorous gear?
Disagree with our rankings or feel another strip might have squeezed into the reckoning? Feel free to post your suggestions in the forum below.
Warrior have crafted some questionable kits in their young partnership as Liverpool’s manufacturers, but are now showing that they might be getting to grips with what the people want.
That being said, this season’s away jersey still has a hint of the adventurous about it with the diamond effect rising from the waist on top of the more familiar white motif.
In their first season collaborating with Adidas, Fulham have produced a sharper version of their traditional, plain white number, with the addition of a black “V” on the neck, adding a subtle yet sweet touch.
Incorporating more red into the shirt, the Cottagers look a more vibrant outfit in this season’s jersey, although their pitch performance perhaps hasn’t risen in kind.
Arsenal’s purple and black third kit is a design that one could easily fall on either side of, choosing to see it as a refreshing change to the mundane choices we’ve become so used to or as something a little too close to Dennis the Menace’s distant cousin.
Bold as they come, it’s probably best that we don’t see the Gunners in it too often, giving our eyesight some cause for relief.
Continuing their move away from the black and white of old, West Brom against adopt a navy and white design that, based on how the last 18 months have gone, appear to be working for them.
The centred Adidas logo looks more favourable than having it on the right side of the chest and the Baggies’ navy shorts are a welcome throwback to the 1980s period before white took over as the predominant colour in their look.
In truth, Swansea City’s 2013/14 get-up isn’t quite as beautiful as the white and gold kit that Michael Laudrup’s side rocked to League Cup glory last season, but it isn’t far off.
Instead, the Welsh outfit have kept gold as the colour of their sponsor but left all the trimmings in black, with their pristine white unsurprisingly still the focus of the strip.
In truth, it’s hard to know what to make of Stoke’s away strip this season, which includes a fluorescent touch that’s reminiscent of the Tony Pulis regime.
As a rule of thumb, colour schemes of this sort are something to be frowned upon, but there’s something strangely alluring about the Potters’ contrasting black and yellow design, although Adidas may have been wiser to leave the white touches off the sleeves.
Regardless of how dismal the Black Cats’ fortunes may have been up until this weekend, Sunderland can at least say they’ve looked good while taking just four points from their first nine outings.
As ever, the northeast club have kept their red and white striped theme and are one of the only clubs not to have adopted Adidas’ new, thicker striped jersey.
The black and red shorts work nicely along the much brighter top half of the kit and smoothly reflect the scheme of the club crest, which is more than just a happy coincidence.
Nike’s six-year agreement to supply Manchester City with their kits has gotten off to bang this year, with the club’s third-choice strip ranking the lowest of several very pleasing designs, although mostly used for their cup competitions.
The vertical shoulder-to-waist sash is a simple yet effective way of setting off what would otherwise be a fairly boring white affair.
The navy shorts and socks simply help in spicing up this particular kit further.
Flared collars are something that appear to have gone out of fashion this term, with only a handful of teams choosing to use the more old-school neck design for their home kit, one of them being West Ham.
Claret and blue is unsurprisingly the Hammers’ colour sample and less is more when it comes to the dynamic of this fairly uncomplicated number.
Say what you like about outlandish colour choices, but purple and yellow work for Swansea this season as the Spanish infusion at the Liberty Stadium appears to be rubbing off on the flair of their club kit designers.
All too often do clubs settle for the same old approach when it comes to their uniforms, so it’s nice to see the Swans actually having a little fun with their product, and to good effect this year.
Europa League sides won’t see them coming.
On several occasions over the last decade, Manchester United have chosen a white approach with one of their alternative kits and this season’s is arguably the finest to date, falling in with the streamlined designs that have become so much more common of late.
The Red Devils have changed their crest to an all-black version for this kit especially and the red trimming along the neck and sleeves is tastefully pulled off.
This year, the redesign of Everton’s club crest has been the main storyline, but at least those disgruntled fans can be pleased to see the design slapped on something everyone can agree on.
Yellow and blue has become an increasingly popular colour combination of recent years and the Toffees pull it off with some aplomb this term, the striped segment on the chest being a nice way to break up a simple 50/50 split.
Roberto Martinez’s side are one of those teams breaking the mould and utilising a flared collar in their kit this campaign, and it works to good effect on the Everton home strip, adding a touch of class to their usual blue and white.
The Toffees rarely go too far astray with their home number given the natural synchronicity of their colours, but Nike have done especially well to combine function with fashion, the sleeve hoops being a small extra.
Uproar was the first reaction when Southampton announced that they would be shirking the club’s traditional red and white stripes this season in favour of a more unified red, white and gold affair.
However, as Cardiff City will have learned in recent seasons, the change of kit colour can sometimes make all the difference for a side and flying high in the English top flight may be a worthy benefit to sacrificing part of one’s identity.
The gold additions to this Adidas-manufactured strip work very well alongside the red and white, the former being the now predominant colour of the Saints’ new look.
Chelsea put a lot of effort into the advertising of their 2013/14 kit release and what’s come out the other end of the machine is a sleek and simple blue ensemble, putting to shame some of the over-complicated designs the club have sported in recent years.
The white-trim V-neck is an especially attractive part of Adidas’ latest innovation, with stripes running down the length of the sleeves and shorts.
Let’s be honest. You’d put that much more effort in if Jose Mourinho was around, too.
Not a drastic change from their 2012/13 design, but Arsenal have stuck with a winning formula this season, keeping their nifty navy hoops around the neck, sleeves and ankles.
Continuing their longstanding relationships with Nike and Fly Emirates, not a lot has changed for the Gunners’ home uniform, but a refreshing new jersey is nonetheless the product.
What one might imagine Knightrider would look like if the popular talking car were ever to, for some reason, become a Premier League kit, Manchester City’s away kit this season is a slick bit of clothing, let alone a football kit.
The two-tone black shading split directly down the middle is brought into focus by the gold Etihad Airways logo and slick Nike sponsor.
One can’t help but look at this particular design and see Manuel Pellegrini as something of a villain, once again in the hunt for Premier League silverware, but a villain you can’t help but admire.
Not too far away from Manchester United’s third kit is Tottenham’s home kit, engineered by Under Armour, who one would like to think are capable of crafting superb functionality into any strip they produce.
In total, Spurs have six kits this season between domestic and European variations, but it’s their home colours that reign supreme, with a sleek rounded collar helped on by their classic white and navy colour scheme.
As aforementioned, Warrior have had a few miserable attempts at drawing up likeable Liverpool strips of late, but have hit a winner with this term’s home strip.
Against the customary red, the yellow club crest variant really sparkles in what looks to be a very classic innovation, emphasised by white trim around the neck and sleeves.
Doing away with the V-neck design of their home strip, Chelsea’s away variant adopts a rounded neck and wouldn’t look out of place were the French national team to choose it as one of their options.
The Blues have thrown a splash of red into a few of their kits in recent years and the crimson and navy bands around the chest and sleeves of this year’s number is the best it’s worked yet.
Predominantly white, the Europa League champions have a very clean look to their strips this year, with simplicity being the name of the game.
Known as the Sky Blues for a reason, there’s not much closer one could get to the cloudless heavens than Manchester City’s 2013/14 home number, a retro baby blue statement with white trim around the neck and sleeves.
Relieved of all distractions, there aren’t many strips in this year’s Premier League campaign with a less busy motif on their default kit, but the statement is clear enough.
And if being plain is the key among Premier League giants this season, Manchester United rank close to the top thanks to their all-red affair.
Adnan Januzaj and fellow youngsters resemble schoolboys in class thanks to the retro black collar that the reigning English champions have donned this term.
It’s just a shame that their performances have looked a tad stuffy.
With Puma set to take the reins of sponsorship matters at Arsenal next season, Nike have at least signed off their Gunners partnership with a beautiful contribution, reverting to the yellow and blue that always proves popular in North London.
Thanks to the history associated with this colour scheme in particular, Arsene Wenger’s side have conjured up the kind of quality reminiscent of a decade-old Arsenal.