Tag Archives: nostalgia

Stuff that was cool: Umbros

(This post is a nod to one of my favorite blogs, Stuff That Was Cool, which allows me to reminisce about the glorious decade that was the 1990s, multiple times every week.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hear.)

Once upon a time, I was an insanely dorky and awkward middle schooler.  I had horrible bangs I was trying to grow out, never left home without a scrunchie in my bag and wore t-shirts just about everyday, tucked in.

umbro-logoIf that wasn’t bad enough, I adored spring, summer and fall weather, though not for the sunshine, or flowers.  It was because it meant it was time to crack out my Umbros!

Though the company manufactured all sorts of soccer clothing and gear, for some reason it was Umbro’s shorts that really took off.  You could find them everywhere:  soccer stores, athletic stores, even department stores at the mall!  There were the shorts with the classic shiny checkerboard design, and the ones that looked like windpants material with a different color piping at the bottom.  Many had bright color combinations that would hurt your eyes.  All had the unmistakable diamond-within-a-diamond logo on the bottom of the shorts’ left leg.

Early on, most people I knew who wore Umbros were soccer players, at least recreationally.  But I hadn’t played the sport since 4th or 5th grade.  I actually hated soccer, but boy did I love Umbros shorts!  Stylish?  No.  But comfortable?  Absolutely.

As you may have guessed by my scrunchie ownership, I was not one for style.  Apparently this is a trait I shared with Jessica Biel.  When quoted in Harper’s Bazaar, Biel said:

“I literally wore Umbro shorts, No Fear T-shirts, and sneakers until I was, like, 15. I didn’t care, and my mom didn’t care. I didn’t have fashion icons.”

Neither did I.  I probably wore them til age 15 as well.  I remember vividly when I made varsity volleyball in 9th grade, I got teased by older (and much taller) teammates and earned the nickname “Umbro girl.”  Thankfully by that point in time I had developed a keen enough fashion sense to realize I shouldn’t wear the shorts for all occasions, though they were certainly an option for warm, lazy days and working out.  But in four years of varsity volleyball and nickname-dom, I never came around to the spandex-y leave-nothing-to-the-imagination shorts everyone else preferred.  I may have been a nerd and the laughingstock of the team, but hey, at least I was comfortable.  And an added bonus:  I could easily gain 1o or 15 pounds and no one would notice.  I could just loosen the drawstring waistband and enjoy the bagginess in the thighs that my Umbros offered.  Take that biker shorts!


Sexy, sexy, sexy shorts!  Boo-yah!


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