I went into a sports store the other day and saw the new All Black jerseys. I got to talking with the salesman about the materials and the technical doohickies within the super-high-tech t-shirt. But this was just the (not so) cheap knock off of the real thing we were looking at.
So I sent off a plea and got my hands on an actual, honest-to-goodness, All Black playing jersey! (With all thanks to adidas)
First of all this is the white version of the jersey (obviously). As soon as I took it out of the courier bag I noticed that it didn't hang straight (unlike the replica). The reason is because the on-field jerseys are fitted while the replicas have to be cut to fit the (ahem) portly gentleman.
The replicas are fitted with mesh side panels to achieve this effect while the real version just has seams within cut-ins under the arms for better movement. You may have seen in the Super 14 jerseys that they had what I called a "fanny panel". This system also exists on the All Black jersey but it's a contour seam. The seam runs across the small of the back but doesn't reach the sides. (I've outlined it in red here)
The material of the jersey is quite cool. It stretches, but only in one direction, across the body. But really the whole thing gets very cool when you turn it inside out.
All the seams are covered so no stitches are visible. And where there might be a corner, like on the collar and cuffs there are dots. This jersey is streamlined inside and out.
Both the front and the back have embossing. The back has the X shape that is bright silver on the training gear (yes, the one that looks like a sports bra) while the front has an embossed silver fern.
The embossed stuff seems to be a different fabric but there are no seams and it is much stretchier, which means that X may really be a sports bra. It's also much more see-through (which I know some of you will like) and I assume that means more breathable, though I don't now how that will work when a number is plastered over it.
To be honest I'm not a fan of the embossing, I feel it's a cheap effect on a classic jersey. But on the other hand it's very subtle and hard to make out in most light.
And of course you know it's the All Blacks by the registered trademark.
The full set of photos is here, for those who want to see more details (including washing instructions). I am aware that I followed up my post about "being a man" with a post about clothes, but I think one validates the other.
And, yes, of course I tried it on. Who wouldn't?