Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Referee Runway Style

The December NAC in Milwaukee was fertile fashion ground. On my off day (and in moments snatched before and after competition) I cruised the venue, looking for innovation, humor and inspiration. I found plenty, which Allison and I will expand on in coming weeks.

First, referee fashion. Come to think of it, referees have almost as little scope for fashion flair as the fencers. The referee's handbook stipulates: 

"The uniform for men is a navy blue blazer, gray trousers, shirt and tie. The uniform for women is a navy blue blazer, gray skirt or slacks, and a blouse... It is requested that all referees wear appropriate shoes and leave athletic shoes to the athletes."

Bleah. No wonder a typical gathering of referees has all the visual interest of a flock of penguins

 But clearly some referees bring sartorial pride to the strip.

For example, the regs don't specify what KIND of tie

Bow ties are classy

Apparently there is also some leeway in interpreting "appropriate shoes"

 Well, these certainly aren't athletic shoes. Nice nail polish.(Did I feel stalkerish trying to photograph a referee's toes? Yes, yes I did.)

Pins also have great scope for spiffing up a drab blue blazer


(I particularly appreciated the addition of a little non-fencing related bling to the venue.)

But my vote for "Best Dressed Referee" for the December NAC goes to this gentleman

Can you tell me his name? I only wish I'd thought to ask him if his shirt had French cuffs. I suspect it did. 

Your pictures of referees' sartorial splendor most welcome. Post a link in comments, if your pic is up on Flickr, Instagram, etc. Or email me and I will include it in a future post. 


  1. The gentleman in the last picture is Patrick Webster. He's from the Michigan Division.

  2. Thank you Martha! I have written to Patrick to let him know about the post.