So is it acceptable to wear a football shirt/kit? A form of this question has been asked this week, and answered, in a manner of speaking, by Guardian fashion journalist Hadley Freeman (me neither). The World Cup's on - it's silly season, where mainstream journalists talk rubbish about something they know nothing about.
Ms Freeman actually starts out ok, identifying that the wearing of football shirts is often (nay, generally) to denote affiliation or leaning. Yes, it can be used to create a sense of community, Hadley, but also to differentiate oneself from others.
You see, Ms Freeman is into her fashion (fashion journalist, remember?) and she particularly likes the France shirt. So regardless of whether you're French, or which country you support, it's the sartorial choice of the discerning football fan. And, yes, it's pretty wonderful, and the collar detail on the Ghana shirt is fantastic too, and the England shirts are a little boring.
But this is where Ms Freeman lets herself down, and betrays her ignorance. She states that "some versions of [the England shirt] cost £60 and some £90, despite there being no discernible difference between the two". Really? How about the cut? Markedly different and, I'm not an expert, but doesn't cut figure quite highly in the fashion world? Perhaps not for someone who admits to taking pride in noticing a stranger on public transport wearing the same high street jacket as her.
That's how Hadley Freeman garners her sense of community - via other people who shop at H&M - but football fans should eschew the football supporting equivalent, apparently, and throw on a France shirt, or a Brazil shirt - which coincidentally looks exactly like something H&M would have retailed for seven quid as part of its Spring/Summer '03 collection - purely for aesthetic reasons.
I know it was a light piece, intended to be humorous. I'm not an idiot, I'm a football kit geek. But this world is far more complex than Hadley Freeman's toe-dipping would suggest. We wear football shirts to express community, political leaning, style, rebellion and more. Talisman? Yes. Playing dress-up? Sometimes, yes. We should take care to not be a "full kit w*nker" and pull on history's more controversial shirts fully in the knowledge of their often divisive significance. Thought should go into every purchase and every outing.
Sometimes we get it wrong - the size, the cut, the colours, the connotation - but the wearing of a football shirt is a personal choice, informed by reasons only the wearer can be fully aware of. Onlookers opinions on not going to be based on the full story.
So, to answer the question posed by Andreas, of Bristol, the wearing of an England shirt during the World Cup is of course acceptable - even now they've been knocked out - and the opinion of an ill-informed fashion journalist is not the endorsement you should be seeking. Who the f*ck is Christopher Kane anyway?
Written by Jay (follow on Twitter).