clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Appreciating Ichiro’s Many Fashion Choices

New, 14 comments

drip or DROWN

BASEBALL-JAPAN-USA-ICHIRO-2 Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images

As Ichiro makes it clearer and clearer that he will be involved in the Mariners’ organization until his stardust rearranges into its next earthly form, it also becomes clearer and clearer that Ichiro is the coolest man on the planet.

There is something so pure about wildly rich, incredibly accomplished people continuing to do what they love. If I ever see multiple commas in my checking account it’s definitely a wrap for me on the internet. You can lift my laptop to the rafters while I spend all my time on a tropical island trying to forget the Seattle Mariners even exist. Ichiro, on the other hand, does not operate like this. Despite having countless reasons to rightfully disappear, he’s out here throwing simulated games in full uniform.

At 46 years old, you’d think maybe Ichiro would want to take a step back, enjoy the finer things in life, maybe pick up a new hobby. Not so. As you may remember, Ichiro did warn us that when it was finally time to stop doing baseball things, he’d probably “just die”. So we cannot rule out the possibility that Ichiro showing up to Spring Training every year is essentially a regenerative process, warding off death by injecting doses of Jose Marmolejos and Jordan Cowan.

Each time Ichiro ventures back into the baseball world it also means that we’re missing out on seeing his other talents. A standup comedy special would be devastatingly funny. I would also watch every second of a travel show where Ichiro goes to Midwestern cities and explains in great detail why he hates them. But above all else, Ichiro’s continued devotion to baseball is taking away his chances of starting a fashion line.

Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki answers questions at Photo credit should read DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images

In addition to the 3,089 big league hits, Ichiro also keeps thousands of hits hanging in his closet. The man had, and still has, impeccable taste. He was the drip he wanted to see in the world, zigging where others lazily zagged. As Anna Wintour once eloquently said, “It’s always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone’s forgotten.”

Like anyone, though, Ichi’s also worn some bricks, which is all part of the maturation process. To determine which of his iconic outfits is the best, I’ve created a rubric to assign value in five very important categories.

Originality

How much thought did Ichiro put into this? Was it a one of one, or did he recreate something that countless people have also worn/could theoretically wear?

Fashion

Is it fire?

Function

Does this outfit make any sense practically? Could you be comfortable wearing it for more than a few hours? Does it lend itself to any activities other than being still and having your picture taken?

Did this age well?

How does this outfit look in 2020?

Would I wear this?

As someone who owns this shirt, the bar for this one both extremely high and extremely low.

shout out to zach gottschalk for surprising me with this life changing gift

Japan - 1994

Photo courtesy of Mainichi

Ichiro had just won MVP, becoming the first player in Japanese league history to reach 200 hits in a season.

Originality: 1/10

Once you see the rest of these you will find yourself very disappointed that Ichiro ever mailed it in this hard.

Fashion: 7/10

I am leaving some wiggle room in case that symbol on his shirt is something horrible I don’t know about.

Function: 10/10

One of life’s most simplistic truths: a flannel over a t-shirt is always a good call.

Did this age well?

This triumphant photo was taken in 1994, explaining the grungy plaid shirt and what might be his attempt at a flat top. You can also walk into any bar and find someone wearing this now, so yes, it aged well.

Would I wear this?

Yes, and as you will soon learn, this is the most approachable ensemble of the entire set, which is presented chronologically.

1995

Photo courtesy of Reddit

Ichiro, Tom, Jerry, and Jordan: four of the best to ever do it.

Originality: 10/10

This is the holy grail of sweaters. Nobody is coming anywhere near Ichiro on this one, especially Google, who is chasing its own tail looking for it. We also must appreciate the fact that Ichiro knew he was going to meet Michael Jordan, one of the most famous people ever, and threw on the Tom x Jerry collab. Stunning.

Fashion: 3/10

On the one hand, it’s a Tom and Jerry turtleneck. On the other hand, it’s a Tom and Jerry turtleneck.

Function: 8/10

Given that it was winter in Chicago this seems like a sensible and cozy choice.

Did this age well?

Sort of? In the age of irony poisoning, it’s hard to separate actually liking something from liking it as a joke. Surely this is not an objectively cool or good thing to wear, but the sheer fact that it exists is spectacular. This is The Room of outerwear.

Would I wear this?

Irony is okay, I suppose culture is to blame. Summer 2020 we’re all wearing Tom and Jerry merch.

November 2000

BKN-MARINERS-SUZUKI-JAPAN Photo by DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images

Originality: 6/10

I’m guessing the jersey was given to him by the Sonics for photo-taking purposes, so we have to dock some points there. However, a turtleneck t-shirt is both a bold and understated choice, showcasing Ichiro’s creativity without taking away from the Sonics. This is the fashion equivalent of respecting the game.

Fashion: 6/10

You can tell that Ichiro thinks this look is a little beneath him, but he also knows that he’s pulling it off despite flirting a little too closely with Mitt Romney territory.

Photo courtesy of Washington Post

Function: 8/10

I desperately need to know if the Sonics had Ichiro do some sort of shooting contest or if he just posed for some pictures and went back to his seat. If he had to move around a little, it would also be nice to know if they adorned him with team shorts. At the end of the day, though, he’s wearing a basketball jersey at a basketball game. 8/10.

Did this age well?

All Sonics gear becoming inherently throwback gear is a sad reality. This particular era of Sonics gear—particularly the logo—elicits a yearning, albeit cartoonish nostalgia. Seattle’s dark red basketball jerseys have certainly aged better than some of their contemporaries, though.

Would I Wear This?

1000% yes. Everyone knows that a black turtleneck is the hottest thing you can wear, and pairing it with a Sonics jersey is some truly visionary shit.

January 2001

Japanese baseball sensation and newly signed Seatt Photo credit should read DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images

Originality: 3/10

There’s nothing quite flashy or eye-catching about this, apart from the fact that Ichiro looks undeniably cool. A black bubble jacket is not exactly setting the world on fire, though.

Fashion: 8/10

Again, he looks really cool.

Function: 7/10

This was during an introductory media day in Seattle, so I worry that all the bright lights and people in small, enclosed spaces would make him very warm in that jacket. It was also January in Seattle and by law you must layer, so he’s covered there. I went with 7/10 because the purpose of events like this is to make a strong first impression and we can all see that Ichiro did that exquisitely.

Did this age well?

I feel like everything up until his head aged well, but then this look begins to date itself with the backwards fitted and silver rimmed shades.

Would I wear this?

Every cold weather person needs a jacket like this, so yes, I would wear the jacket. Sunglasses inside are also a great way to show your employers that you did not come to play, so I will file that away for next time I’m looking to either get fired or promoted on sight.

2001 Spring Training

BBA-MARINERS-SUZUKI-06 Photo by MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images

Originality: 6.5/10

Step outside the sporting world for a second and think about the fact that this man wore an oversized t-shirt and Spanx to work. He was the new guy too!

Fashion: 4/10

Check out Varcity Apparel’s website and let me know what you think. They work with you to “bring your concept to life” with an “industry expertise” that assures “your brand and message will resonate with your clients.” I have to award Ichiro some points for showing up to his job looking like Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump, though.

Function: 9/10

This does make a lot of sense for a workout so long as today wasn’t the day the Mariners practiced sliding.

Did this age well?

I bet there are a few boutique gyms trying to monetize this exact look right now, so yes, once again Ichiro was ahead of the curve.

Would I wear this?

I personally would not wear this but that’s more of a me problem than an Ichiro problem.

2008 All-Star Game

Photo courtesy of WENN/Alamy

Originality: 2/10

Of all the looks we’ve seen this one feels the most like it was chosen by a stylist. You are better than that, Ichiro. That kid who wore the Tom and Jerry fit 13 years ago would be disgusted.

Fashion: 4/10

To wear a striped jacket and white shirt is to be intentionally cloying and I, ultimately, cannot support that.

Function: 8/10

The goal of being on the All-Star Game red carpet is to be seen and a white suit with mirrored lenses will get you there.

Did this age well?

Not particularly. This is a painfully 2000s outfit. For whatever reason when I look at this picture I hear the bumper music from American Idol.

Would I wear this?

If Simon Cowell is about to cut a check then I’m all ears.

Date Unknown, Thought Process Also Unknown

Photo courtesy of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone

Originality: 10/10

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a shirt like that in my entire life. I’ve also spent hours looking at the pink thing on his hip and the best guess I can make is that it’s his underwear? If that is the case we simply have to applaud the audacity.

Fashion: 2/10

Everything from the waist down is fine. The upper body looks like a cage fight between four different shirts.

Function: ???

This is a hard one because I truly don’t even know that he was going for in the first place.

Did this age well?

Even when the sun boils over to bring death’s fiery embrace upon us all, and all that’s left is depraved, subhuman life forms clinging to any relics of the past, they still wouldn’t touch this.

Would I wear this?

Absolutely not.

2011 Spring Training

Photo courtesy of Greg Johns

Originality: 9/10

Putting a classic spin on Zenon’s wardrobe is certainly an original choice.

Fashion: 8/10

Blue is one of those colors that exists so naturally and so beautifully in nature and then a shimmery jacket comes along and reminds you that none of that matters.

Function: 4/10

Those jacket pockets don’t make any sense and you know it, Ichiro.

Did this age well?

We’ll see, although I firmly believe the matching sauna suit will stand the test of time.

Would I wear this?

As soon as I hit age 40 you will never catch me leaving the house unless I’m matching head to toe.

2013 Offseason

Originality: 6.25/10

Of all the things I would think to wear for a morning jog, vinyl (?) pants are pretty far down the list, but this is why I am not Ichiro. While there’s nothing super original about wearing a hat, sunglasses, and jacket, opting for bright yellow is a tactical swerve away from the mundane.

Fashion: 8/10

The color coordination here is outstanding. Having sunglasses to match your shoes is an A1 rich guy move, and there’s even a narrow stripe on the jacket that appears to be the same shade as well.

Function: 9/10

The rain jacket and curved-bill hat is very Pacific Northwest dad on a hike. It’s clear that this outfit was designed for athletic activity on a not-so-warm day. Depending on the material of the pants, this is almost perfect attire in terms of functionality, I’m just worried about them clinging to his thighs if Ichiro gets sweaty.

Aging: 6/10

I’m pretty sure Ichiro stole these pants from Aaliyah. Everything about them is violently ‘90s, and my man was wearing them in 2013. I think the rest of the regalia still works today, though.

Would I Wear This?

I have been wearing this exact outfit since November.

Date Unknown

Photo courtesy of NotGraphs

Originality: 3/10

This would grade much higher in a world where Elvis Costello and Jason Mraz didn’t exist.

Fashion: 0/10

No.

Function: 1/10

Unless he was angling for a job in a Target ad this does not make any sense whatsoever.

Did this age well?

It really did not, no.

Would I Wear This?

If you ever see me wearing this know that it is a cry for help.

2013 Spring Training

Photo courtesy of Thomas Anderson/AFLO

Originality: 9/10

I can safely guarantee that no other Major League Baseball player has ever worn this.

Fashion: 3.5/10

Look, he tried, okay? At some point, everyone feels the wedge of time divide them from all things cool. Ichiro is not immune to this, especially in his fourth decade of life. Why he tried to get his groove back with some low rise jeans is beyond me, though.

Function: 8/10

If you’re walking down a hallway, it’s hard to beat the classic combo of jeans and a shirt.

Did this age well?

Props to Ichiro for being early on the cuffed pants look. Can’t say the same for the overwhelming volume of the cuff or the belt selection.

Would I Wear This?

I have a pretty staunch rule against wearing things with letters or symbols that I cannot read.


Please sound off in the comments to defend your favorite Ichiro fit, as well as share any bangers that we may have missed.