So Comcast SportsyNet's Adam Littlefield and I went to this afternoon's Mystics draft party to watch the draft, and also to check out the team's new unis, and I wound up getting some fashion advice, which can be seen on Washington Post Live tomorrow.
The fashion show portion of the event lasted maybe a minute or two. First Alana Beard came out, wearing the new blue road jersey, with a stylized "Washington" on the front, and No. 07 on the back. Also the name "ABCDEFG," which is not actually her last name but was a place holder, underneath the 07. Yes, underneath. That's also new. The host, Frank Hanrahan, asked her about the jerseys.
"Um, the shorts are a little snug," she said, "but everything else is good."
Then Tamara James strutted out, wearing the home whites, also with No. 7, and also with ABCDEFG.
"The pants could be a little bigger," she said, when Hanrahan asked. That's two-for-two on snug shorts.
There are other changes in the unis, which are now being made by Adidas. There is a higher cut in the front, and a higher back, and a different style for the numerals, and black stripes on the side of the road shirt, and little stars on the shorts--which one fan said was reminiscent of the old Bullets jerseys--and a different fit.
"I think it really shows off the femininity of the women," Mystics Managing Partner Sheila Johnson said. "They look like women now."
But the fans immediately picked up on the tighter shorts and the players' comments about the tighter shorts, and the fans, caring about wins and losses, were concerned.
"I don't think they were roomy enough for the players," Eula Walden of Fairfax said.
"I mean, I like the colors, I like the design, it looks great, but they didn't look comfortable at all," Brian Esposito said.
"They look pretty; the question is are they going to be functional," Melissa Sterry agreed. "If 'pretty' interferes with 'play,' then 'pretty' has to go."
"It's not about making a statement, it's whether the players can play basketball comfortably," agreed Mystics blogger Judith Schaeffer.
So we talked to the players, to see what they thought, and learned two things: the players weren't really that worried about the tight fit, and the players are budding Bog superstars. Like, if they were on the Wizards, I already would have written 56,972 words about them. Like, I asked James about the shorts issue.
"I have a little extra baggage down low, so I need a little bit of size," she explained. As for the rest of the kit, she liked the name underneath the number because it's different, and she liked the narrow shoulder straps and the high cut because it's "sort of like a sports bra," she said. But all in all, she said, the jerseys weren't that important, because "we're going to make the uniform look good."
Come again, I said.
"C'mon, look at us, look at me," she said. By now, she had shed the new uniform for real clothes, and she proud of her outfit.
"They told me not to dress like I was in Miami," she told us. "I've got my hot pink pumps with my pink accessories, being my necklace and my belt, my Baby Phat watch--hello!--a Wet Seal t-shirt, Express jeans. Oh, and my Fendi bag, can't go nowhere without my Fendi bag."
Come again, I said.
"You've got no sense of fashion," she said. "You've never heard of Fendi? Are you being serious?"
A fan interrupted to take her photo. He hadn't heard of Fendi, either. Another nearby fan had.
"They've never heard of Fendi," James told him. "That's kind of sickening."
Turns out James is sort of a big fashion fan. "A diva," she kept calling herself. "A fashionist," is how Alana Beard described it. I asked her about my J. Crew outfit; she said it looked like I was choking myself and unbuttoned my shirt, and then she took my sweater off my waist and said it didn't look right, so she wrapped it around my shoulders to give me a "preppy" look.
"I was born like this, you can't teach this," she confided in us. "I have to help Alana out sometimes."
Alana Beard, apparently, is not a diva, so Tamara went to get Alana away from some fans and brought her to us to explore this issue.
"I'm a diva, I don't know what you consider yourself," James said to Alana.
"What do I consider myself?" Beard replied. "I consider myself a young classy lady, that's what I consider myself."
"You know, I'm teaching her, slowly but surely I'm teaching her," James said. "As you can see, we got rid of the mohawk, slightly," she said, gesturing to Beard's head. "Show 'em your hair. We got rid of the out-of-control mohawk, ok?"
"She's from Miami, ok?" Beard said. "They don't understand sometimes."
"She came from Duke, and I came from Miami, two totally different worlds," James said.
"Totally different," Beard agreed.
They discussed the best-dressed Mystics. Beard used her Sharpie to pretend to interview James.
"Ok, I'm gonna be real, because AB likes to sugar coat stuff," James said at last, grabbing the pen. "Give me the mic. Me and Nikki Blue are the only divas on the team. Now, DeLisha Milton-Jones is a diva in training, so we call her D.I.T. And that's it."
"They're rookies," Beard said. "Don't take anything from this."
If you remember, the purpose of this was not for me to get sweater-wearing advice from Tamara James or to learn about Italian handbag makers, it was to find out about the Mystics' new uniforms. So, at some point, I finally managed to ask Alana Beard about the Mystics' new uniforms.
"I love 'em," Beard said. "I. Love. Them. I like the look that they're going for, not too baggy, not too long."
And she told us she'd just get extra large shorts instead of large, so the snug fit wouldn't be an issue, and fans didn't need to worry themselves. On a scale of 1-10?
"It's a 10," she said.