Shipley & Halmos, the casual menswear brand name-checked on every blog – and invariably described as either “quirky,” “classic,” or both – is run by Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos, two dudes who met at the University of Colorado and bonded over a shared love of sports. Athletic inspiration has always colored their clothing, especially the bright polos, but their new line S&H Athletics has become a way for them to celebrate what they love about sports: the joy of actually playing them. Rather than releasing a bunch of sweat-wicking, form-fitting performance shirts, the friends created vintage-inspired looks for “not-so-professional athletes.”
“Sounds funny to say this, but the line wasn’t meant to be uber-cool,” says Shipley. “Sports, for the vast majority of people, are played for fun and we wanted to make that point.”
The duo’s point is illustrated in thick, shiny baseball jackets, surprisingly colored rugby shirts, and simple cotton tees. The collection, which could be described as gym class chic, owes more to the sandlot than to anything so polished as a diamond. Among Shipley’s influences were movies like Slapshot and He Got Game, athletes like Jon Daly (during the mullet and a cigarette era) and John McEnroe (during the yelling era), and the icons who always played pick-up: Bob Marley dribbling a soccer ball; Kennedy in a golf cart.
The brand sells memorabilia as well, mostly detritus from Shipley’s and Halmos’s Little League days. There are Harry Caray bobbleheads, Jordan vs. Bird handheld games, and White Man Can’t Jump cassettes. The idea, Shipley explains, is to contextualize the clothing – to make the whole thing fun.
“Jeff and I played almost every sport there was when we were growing up,” says Shipley. “We don’t always have to wear black leather.”
That attitude is in keeping with the trend toward old-school athletic gear. Todd Snyder’s collaboration with Champion is in a similar vein, as is Fila’s Heritage Collection and Reebok’s Heritage Sport Collection. The message of all these clothes is simple: You didn’t stop being an athlete just because you failed to make the professional cut. You probably stopped being a particularly great athlete, but – what the hell – that doesn’t mean you’re not having fun. [S&H Athletics shirts from $50; sh-athletics.com]