Dress for Success
By Sumaiya Vawda
Fashion is inextricably woven into the fabric of football. It's in retro kit designs, club suit collaborations, manager touchline garb, custom boots, and David Beckham being the face of multiple fashion houses years on from his playing career. It's also why Arsenal chose a whiteout of their kit as an anti-knife symbol. Simply put, fashion and football overlap in their storytelling.
The authors-in-chief are team managers. Club suit, red tie and stain-free white shirt complemented by a cardigan on a crisp London night- a welcome sight for football fans and Wenger-followers alike. Fans have long joked about a correlation between results and managers' fashion choices. Arteta has experimented with most outfit elements on the sideline. However, he has remained consistent in donning muted tones, club merchandise, tech entrepreneur black sneakers and side-parted hair. So in this slow news week, with nothing but repetitive transfer rumors being the only scoops, brace yourself for the definitive breakdown of Arsenal performances in relation to Arteta's attire.
Arteta's first game was a rain-drenched boxing day tie against Bournemouth. Fittingly, he opted for two layers of black zip-up jackets and matching slacks for the not so bright draw. His first victory as boss was a memorable 2-0 at home to Man United. This saw a puffer jacket with grey roll-neck knit bark instructions on the sideline. Arsenal's 14th FA Cup was won with no audience in attendance. Celebration images show Arteta a simple, sporting a fitted black zip-up. Comfort, rather than appearance, seemed to be the day's focus.
The 20/21 season admittedly held more lows than highs. A 1-0 win at Old Trafford was the first victory there since 2006. The lucky outfit? An elegant black velour coat. A definite low was the 3-0 home loss to Aston Villa. Following the defeat, Arteta blamed himself for the loss. Perhaps he felt the universe was not happy with his choice of only a zipped black puffer jacket for the night. David Luiz controversy at Molineux saw the velour coat's luck come into question.
A 3-1 victory against Chelsea is often touted as a turning point in Arteta's reign. Dress code for the day? You guessed it; the velour coat appears again. The trend continued as the Gunners bowed out of the Europa League against Unai Emery with Arteta clad in his trusted coat.
A highlight this season was the high-pressing win against West Ham saw the return of the previously cursed zipped puffer jacket look. Perhaps it has legs in it yet. Heartbreaking defeat at Everton saw Arteta crumple into his black parka. Arteta, unlike Wenger, does not sport a suit on matchday. In this regard, Paul Scholes has accused Arteta of mimicking Pep's fashion choices. Still, the dark-haired Spaniard tends to reflect a more refined smart-casual. In fact, Gary Neville complimented him as 'looking a million dollars' on commentary.
We've seen Arteta embrace chinos and the Arsenal X 424 collaboration. We've also grimaced at black jackets that have looked similar to garbage packets in the rain. It remains to be seen whether he ever moves away from darker tones and his ever-present Apple watch. One thing is for certain when the velour coat is out; a memorable fixture is about.