Tampa Bay fashion experts critique new Bucs uniforms

Classic lines and the new pewter are mostly hits, but, yes, there is a longing for a bit of creamsicle.
Fans had been clamoring for the Bucs to ditch their alarm clock jerseys for a while now and responded mostly positive to the redesign. But how do the experts feel?
Fans had been clamoring for the Bucs to ditch their alarm clock jerseys for a while now and responded mostly positive to the redesign. But how do the experts feel? [ Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneer ]
Published April 8, 2020|Updated April 10, 2020

The anticipation surrounding the unveiling of the new Bucs uniforms was reminiscent of that of children awaiting Santa’s arrival with their most desired gift.

That gift was delivered Tuesday when the Bucs released three new uniforms they will wear this season: all white with red numbers, red top with white numbers and pewter pants, and a color-rush all-pewter look with white numbers.

Most fans seem to like them. They favor more of the Bucs’ Super Bowl-era look and ditch the alarm-clock-style font for the numbers.

But to look at it from a fashion perspective, eight people from the bay area and Central Florida who work in the industry were asked for their views.

Related: What makes these Bucs uniforms look good? Names like Brady and Barrett on the back

Pewter (mostly) for the win

Most thought the all-pewter look was cool.

Alicia Calero, a fashion designer from Lakeland, liked what she called its superhero vibe.

“It’s all in the colors,” she said. “It’s real sleek.”

Elizabeth Carson Racker, a designer from Tampa, also thought highly of the color-rush uniforms. She said she hopes to see the Bucs wear them at home.

“I feel like people think the pewter is a dominant color,” she said. “They look like they’re aggressive.”

Essence Flowers, who helped design the Bucs’ cheerleading uniforms for three years starting in 2012, had a bit of a dissent. Pewter isn’t the most flattering color, she said. Though she doesn’t hate the color-rush uniform, Flowers said that as an African-American woman, “pewter doesn’t look good on my skin tone at all.”

A welcome freshness

Bucs linebacker Devin White models the new white uniform.
Bucs linebacker Devin White models the new white uniform. [ Tampa Bay Buccaneers ]

There was near-universal love for the monochromatic look of the white and pewter uniforms.

John William Barger III, a designer from St. Petersburg, lauded what he called a fresh look for the Bucs.

“Historically, most uniforms are two-toned, where the pants are a different color from the top,” he said. “Doing the monochrome look, I think, is really fresh, especially the pewter one. It’s a nice change.”

Racker said her preference would have been an all-red look instead of a red top with pewter pants. But Barger said that might have been overwhelming for the eyes.

Racker also said she would have different colors for the numbers and lettering on the red and white jerseys. She would have put red lettering on the pewter jersey and pewter lettering on the white jersey. And to accessorize, she suggested all-black socks with the red jersey set instead of white socks.

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Related: Lavonte David says reality will hit when Tom Brady wears these Bucs uniforms

Nice blend of past and present

Barger said he thinks the redesign is a marriage of old and new.

“They went back to the traditional colors, traditional numbering with new fabric,” he said.

Nancy Vaughn, creator of Tampa Bay Fashion Week, said the new looks provide a bit of a “touchup” to the Super Bowl-era uniforms and a “makeover” from the most recent uniforms (post-2013).

“When I saw them, I thought ‘These look familiar,’ ” she said. “It’s like an updated throwback. It’s kind of, in fashion, what’s old is new again.”

For Calero, the uniforms bring back memories of the winning Bucs.

“We were all a part of that Super Bowl era,” she said, “so I like that it brings back that nostalgia.”

Wendi Braswell, a stylist and image consultant in Tampa, has been a Bucs fan since 1986. She called the look overall “sweet simplicity.”

Ready for prime time

When the Lightning debuted their black alternate jersey last season, many fans liked the style up close and in person but had difficulty reading the names and numbers on the backs during play.

The Lightning addressed those concerns this season, enlarging the border around the numbers to help them pop better.

With the Bucs’ redesign, none of the designers had concerns about seeing names and numbers when they saw the uniforms on a promotional video, nor did they think the numbers and letting would be difficult to read on the field.

“It was all very clear,” Calero said.

It’s all in the details

Bucs linebacker Lavonte David models one of the new uniform combinations.
Bucs linebacker Lavonte David models one of the new uniform combinations. [ Tampa Bay Buccaneers ]

One detail that Vaughn liked was the old “Buccaneers” type on the front of the jersey, just underneath the neckline. She thought the trim on the uniforms was nice, too.

Sandra Davila, a stylist in Lutz, said the black trim on the white and red uniforms adds pop and gives a “bolder look.” The red-pewter uniform invokes a powerful feeling, too, she said.

Linda Zipkin, a stylist and image consultant in Tampa, immediately noticed the oversized flag logo on the pewter helmets, to be worn with each uniform. She thought that that, paired with a shift to a black face mask from a chrome one, gave the ensemble a dramatic look.

“They’re striking and sleek,” she said. “I love them, and I’m very in favor of (the redesign).”

Braswell also appreciated the franchise scrapping the numbers’ digital font.

“To get rid of the clock lettering is a win,” she said, chuckling.

Open to orange

Some fans were initially disappointed by the lack of the iconic creamsicle color in the redesign, though there is a chance for a one-off creamsicle jersey next season if the NFL relaxes its one-helmet rule.

As for the designers, Flowers said she is used to a more traditional style and color palette.

Related: Yo, Ho, Oh, No! It’s another uniform change for the Bucs

She agreed that the new design is cleaner and trendier, but if the Bucs really want a classic look that is identifiable nationally — like the ones the Cowboys and Steelers have developed — they need to stick with signature colors like the Super Bowl-era red and now-beloved creamsicle.

“I think it’s what people are used to seeing,” she said. “I think sticking with the signature colors, they would benefit.”

Final ratings

We asked the designers to rank then new uniforms on a scale of 1-5, 5 being excellent.

Name Vote
Nancy Vaughn 4
Essence Flowers 3.5
Alicia Calero 4.5
Elizabeth Carson Racker 4
John William Barger III 4
Linda Zipkin 5
Wendi Braswell 5
Sandra Davila 5
Average 4.4

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.