Ask a Female: Pink Apparel

In the immortal words of Danny Trejo in Anchorman, “Ladies can do stuff now, and you’re going to learn to deal with it.”

Included in the stuff that the ladies can do is become fans of baseball. In fact, various sources estimate that the percentage of sports fans of the female persuasion is around 45%, a very significant portion of the baseball consuming public, and therefore, the baseball apparel consuming public.

You don’t often see women shopping in the Men’s department of a department store. One would think, then, that there would be a substantial potential market in making women’s apparel. However, much of the apparel available to women is similar to that of the lady in the above picture: pink. Other than that, women are either forced to buy the super-expensive Alyssa Milano-brand items or wear the same shirts and jerseys as the men.

Who cares about what I have to say about this? I barely even know what a hem is. Instead, we’ll venture somewhere FanGraphs has never gone before: into the brain of a real, live woman. I asked Royals fan and blogger Minda Haas of the aptly named about her feelings on the state of MLB apparel for women and pink apparel in particular. Follow the jump to see what she has to say.

For the longest time, there was next to nothing in the women’s section at the Royals website. The few things that were in there outrageously overpriced and pink. In the last few years, the ladies’ merch has gotten less offensive.

Pink sports apparel isn’t inherently evil. What offended me about the ‘pink hat’ craze is that Majestic and New Era and everyone else assumed that traditional baseball gear wasn’t selling to women because it wasn’t pink. Somehow, turning everything bedazzled and pink was going to make women like wearing sports, and enjoy buying sports gear. In reality, the main thing that was keeping most sports-fan women from buying stuff was that men’s apparel is not the right shape. The difference between female and male baseball fans is not that the former can’t stand to wear real team colors; it’s that lady fans are not shaped like boxes. (Sorry, men.) We have shapes, and men’s sports apparel is not made in shapes. The industry’s solution was not to correct the shape issue; it was to pinkify everything and assume we would just LOVE it.

I think things are getting better, although women’s t-shirts still cost way more than men’s and unisex offerings. On the Royals site, there are only about seven pink items, excluding hats. Five of the seven ladies’ hats feature pink, so that’s still a battle.

A big thing teams – not just baseball – could do is just offer us what the guys wear, but in shapes that are made for us. Give me a sturdy cotton tee, not a gauzy “layering” piece. (Explanation for the dudes: Ladies’ shirts are often made in this cheap, flimsy cotton blend. It’s fairly comfy, but shirts made of this stuff don’t last as long as regular cotton tees.)

Here is a good example of what real female sports fan wants. Is that so hard? A simple shirt, not trying to be cute. A team logo on a shirt with the team color, in cotton and made for a lady.

Many thanks to Minda for her contribution!

Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.

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13 years ago

I have a wife and 2 daughters who are baseball fans and they would agree with Minda’s take on this.