Here’s a hardy perennial: should snooker’s dress code change?

This argument comes up every so often and most people have an opinion, even though it seems, on the surface, to be an entirely pointless debate.


Because does anyone really think snooker’s fortunes would pick up if we ditched the waistcoats?

And does anyone really think millions of TV viewers would turn off if players wore T-shirts instead of bowties?

I suppose I’m a traditionalist of the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ school of thought.

Waistcoats and bowties have been around forever, since the age of Joe Davis and are the identifiable dress of professional snooker players.

Young kids in junior tournaments wear them to emulate their heroes.

Changing the dress code may look like a desperate bit of cosmetic tinkering when there are bigger problems to face.

However, this doesn’t not mean it should not be considered.

All sports evolve in all sorts of ways. In cricket Test matches, whites are still worn but in one day and 20/20 all manner of colours are favoured.

I was in something of a minority in approving of World Snooker’s experiment at the 2002 British Open where they had one player wearing a red shirt and one a blue shirt.

It gave the event some identity but nobody could accuse them of trampling over snooker’s traditions.

However, the later decision to dispense with bowties was a mistake. Because players still wore waistcoats and shirts it merely made most of them look scruffy.

In the Premier League, players have in the past worn T-shirts and it helped give this unique event its own identity.

But do we really want to see a player holding the World Championship trophy aloft at the Crucible in a T-shirt?

The current Premier League and new Championship League may have it about right if you are looking for a compromise. Here, players wear smart shirts and trousers. No waistcoats, no bowties.

Of course, it is a fact of life that some people look good in just about any attire and some do not. There are very few ugly models and this is obviously no accident.

Could a change in clothing freshen up snooker’s appeal?

Possibly. But at the end of the day, the sport’s success rests on the game itself.

Snooker fans ultimately care only for what happens on the table. Ensuring there is plenty of this for them to watch should be the main priority.


Monique said...

The dress code should stay and here is why...
Dressed smartly nearly all players look reasonably good and have a minimal elegance. Dressed casually some would probably be terrible ...
Of course Ronnie looks good - for those who like his dark type - in almost anything; he's effing fit. More than one girl would love to see him in a rather tight T-shirt and kakis. But Stephen Lee?
You see my point.

A minimum of class surely doesn't hurt ...

andy said...

Ha! Ha! :oD

Laughing away at Monique's comments there!! Talk about naming names, ...poor old Stephen Lee!! :o)

I think some form of dress code is required. In the premier league they wear shirts (normally black) collared or collarless that match the colour of the dress style trousers.

I think the most informal they should go is collared T-Shirts. Otherwise collared T-Shirts all the way up to waistcoat and bow tie I think is good, depending on the tournament.

Ideally, clothes manufacturers will get involved and design stylish outfits that fit snooker dress guidelines like in golf and tennis, but I can't see this happening for a while!

Some players can look scruffy regardless of their dress, as I'm sure Monique would point out!! ;o)


Monique said...

Yes poor Stephen. I'm sorry. I do like him but I'm not deluded to the point of imagining him in kakis ... :o

kimball said...

Monique is so very right, with a dreescode, everybody loks allright.
Broadcasted snooker is very much about attracting new viewers and
present a good packaging.
Snooker in Eurosport found a niche
of new customers because of the
presenting of the "product".
There were one tournament more han
British Open where no bowtie/ waistcoat were requested.
Jimmy White played with three buttons undone to show his hairy
chest. Who needs that?
It would be the greatest mistake
ever to graviate towards the poolculture.
Same goes for ladyreferees showing
more "skin", it is totally unnecessary.
Viewingnumbers in UK might have levelled out but it is booming in
Europe and Asia and the Middle East.
The epitet "gentlemensport" is what hookes a new aduience, far away from blood,snot,sweat and foul play.
The long matches are a bonus too
for selling commercials and deepening the "feel" for the players.
Of course 93 minutes for a frame of
Murphy - Harold is a complete turnoff, luckly, it as not broadcastes live!

Anonymous said...

It was no coincidence that there were more characters in the 1980's. The players wore lounge suits(normal suit with normal tie) in the afternoon sessions and dress suit(what the players wear now) in the evening sessions. Lots of the players wore more colourful outfits in the afternoon session and thus helped create their characters. If it was then decided that for the morning sessions players could be a little more relaxed(as it is like in the Premier League)with just open neck shirt and trousers then surely everyone would be happy. Younger viewers(except die hard fans) are not too impressed by the bow-tie and distance themselves from a sport where the players dress like old men. But if the afternoon and morning sessions were opened up like suggested they wouldn't feel so alienated. The older viewers would be happy also because the evening session would remain formal. I reckon too that the morning session clothes would drag in sponsors too like in Golf(ie Lyle + Scott,Pringle,Etc) and it would be a great talking point within the game. Kids like fashion and the older generation like tradition, this way everyone would be happy.


Anonymous said...

I just have to quote kimball

"Jimmy White played with three buttons undone to show his hairy
chest. Who needs that?
It would be the greatest mistake
ever to graviate towards the poolculture.
Same goes for ladyreferees showing
more "skin", it is totally unnecessary."

Exactly my thoughts.

david mortimer said...

I remember Kirk Stevens used to wear white waist coats
and snazzy suits he had the long hair and was a real character , I think players should wear more colorful waist coast surely with all the fashion choices out there you can do so much with a waist coat red yellow purple green sparkling rhinestones what ever whats the fun in wearing a polo T shirt , come on WPBSA give the players a clothes budget or get some high profile designer do update the classic waist coat and bow tie , you've got a blank canvas use it .