The rush of adrenaline and endorphins from the release of the Jimi Hendrix Kit has subsided, so it seems appropriate to return our attention to the Mitchell & Ness ‘Since ‘96’ collection. We’ve all had time for the bright colors to settle in, and the whole collection (so far) is up on the MLS Store, so there’s no better time to do a proper review. Get yourself a drink (time of day-appropriate, I’m sipping fizzy water and coffee), set the lights, and throw on Tupac’s All Eyez on Me to get your mind right as we dive in.
The centerpiece, the crown jewel of the Sounders offering from the collection is the mesh jersey. The jersey is a riff on the ones worn by the Sounders in 1996 when they repeated as A-League champions, utilizing the same shoulder and sleeve details from the original while moving around some of the colors on the body of the jersey. The actual jerseys from ‘96 had purple as the primary color bordered with white along the sides, while this one inverts those making it a primarily white jersey with purple on the back and at the sides. The result is something that evokes hockey jerseys from the ‘90s in a fun and wonderful way. This top looks tough, and seems a perfect choice as the weather improves. Come July and August when we’re all suffering without air conditioning, this shirt’s going to look great with a pair of comfy shorts, a cool pair of sunglasses and a nice cold drink.
If the mesh jersey is the hero of this collection, then the sidekick is the t-shirt from the top photo. The purple and white is closer to how the colors are oriented on the team’s original ‘96 jersey, while the sublimated checker pattern evokes every jersey I wore playing youth soccer in the ‘90s. It’s not a bad shirt, but in my opinion it would have been significantly improved by the inclusion of a collar like the one in the photo above. Instead they’ve styled the tee with what appears to be the color-blocked polo from the collection — the polo’s not bad, I have a particular fondness for color-blocking, and the colors work, but it doesn’t quite feel like it fits with the rest of the collection — so the black collar pokes out and blends with the black ring collar of the tee. It’s a styling move that I highly encourage, but you can probably use any black polo in your closet rather than having to splash the $75 to get this one. On its own, the tee falls a little flat, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time.
Frankly the styling from the picture is good inspiration for how to rock any of the gear from this collection. The fashion and style of the ‘90s is still super relevant right now and, while I don’t suggest that you start tracking down JNCO jeans, we all deserve pants that we can lounge in.
We’re not in the Summer yet, and the Washington weather throughout the year demands transitional pieces. No piece in this collection is better suited to such needs than the short-sleeve hoodie. The hoodie takes the teal that serves as an accent color on most of the other items and brings it center stage. Paired with the purple, this sweatshirt is LOUD. The asymmetrical bisection of the shirt is a fun touch. This one’s probably not for everyone, but maybe we could all use a touch of brightness right now.
The collection also features a purple long-sleeved shirt that’s fine, and appears as though it may eventually include a hat that’s kind of boring. The hat’s not currently available from the MLS Store or Mitchell & Ness. The dark horse star of the bunch is the windbreaker. The icy white with purple and teal touches has strong Starter jacket energy in the best possible way. Throw this on top of any outfit and immediately add a hint of your coolest uncle from when you were a kid. Lace up a pair of Nike Air Uptempos or any other ‘90s or ‘90s-inspired kicks and really set the look off.
If any of this collection appeals to you or seems cool, but you’re uncertain of whether you can pull it off just remember this: “only God can judge [you].”