As recently as last August the colorful stripes that embellished athletic uniforms had to be earned by playing the game, and the most cherished possessions in a man's wardrobe were the jerseys and trunks that identified him as a member of a school team, a surf club or even the U.S. Olympic squad.
Now team stripes have been borrowed by beach-going teen-agers, who like the look of competition clothes. This summer there are entire wardrobes of team uniforms, such as the lineup photographed here in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. They are available to kids who have never scored a winning run, surfed at Makaha or run the 440. Not only are teenagers wearing the bands that signify athletic achievement, they also are adapting them for service on their favorite vehicles: skateboards, Hondas and fastbacks.
The yen for competition stripes started in Hawaii last season when top surfers added stripings to their competition trunks and T shirts to make themselves more visible to the judges on the beach during their long runs in. Californians vacationing in the islands, hoping perhaps that some of the expertise would rub off, picked up the new styles in the little Oahu shops that copy what the surfers wear and took them home to the mainland.
U.S. sportswear manufacturers responded this season by striping everything from sneakers (right) to the classic button-down shirt. The new stripes come in horizontals, verticals and diagonals in the colors of all kinds of teams as well as in colors that mean absolutely nothing.
Although the boys latched onto the stripes first, one of the best-selling suits for teen-age girls this year is a nylon tank suit that comes with bright competition stripes down the front. Instead of old-fashioned wool knits, tank suits are now made of quick-drying nylon tricot, which clings, some mothers think, all too efficiently to the swimmer. For after-beach cover-ups this year girls are buying warmup suits inspired by track and numeral shirts borrowed from the playing field, or, if they are wily enough, from the players themselves.
New lightweight beach parkas striped in the colors of surfing competition teams are as practical for nonsurfing adults as they are for the kids on the beach. A simple nylon pullover like the one in the drawing at right protects the wearer from sun and wind during the day, and from late-afternoon chill on the ride home from the beach.
The only problem with the new competition look is that the coach will need a scorecard to tell who's on the team and who's on the sidelines this summer by the sea.
THE LINEUP FOR THE BEACH
What the girls are wearing: Jane Hall (rear left) is in an orange-striped bikini ($16) of Helanca nylon knit by Hang-Ten. The nylon maillot ($9) worn by Kris Storkerson (rear center) has red-and-white vertical stripes. It is made by White Stag-Speedo. Chris Wood (left foreground) wears a red-and-white terry two-piece warmup suit ($13) with track and field uniform stripes. The black numeral shirt ($20) worn by Diane Edwards is made of Orlon jersey; her hip-riders ($23) are Dacron-and-cotton duck trimmed with black racing stripe, both by Robert Sloan. What the boys are wearing (from left to right): Cam Darnley's yellow nylon competition trunks by Hang-Ten ($8) are banded in black. The surfers by Jantzen ($8) worn by Frank Boksanske are made of nylon triple-striped in red. Don Sholtis wears Catalina's blue-and-white side-striped trunks ($8). The button-down oxford-cloth shirt ($6) worn by Chuck Ames is a competition model by Hang-Ten. The nylon beach shell ($10) in the drawing above is made by Silton-California. Its diagonal stripes match a surfboard and trunks. The red-and-white-striped sneaker by U.S. Keds ($6.50) is a sidewalk version of a track shoe.