Sometimes, the beauty in a football shirt is the debate over nailing down the definitive version. The Bukta Home shirt, or shirts, worn by Crystal Palace in the last couple of years of the Eighties and into 1990 is - or are - an example of this.

As illustrated in this in-depth True Colours take, logo placement differed between, generally, the players’ version and the replica, the Bukta logo was amended for huge matches at the end of the lifespan, the crest was updated for the latter of those, and the neck changed between the short and long-sleeved versions.

Whilst real football and real football kits are great, the lack of the beautiful game and kit news in recent months has reminded us that football design doesn’t begin and end with what makes it onto the world’s pitches. This fantasy Scotland kit from our sister site,, underlines that fact.

The adidas design, by longtime member “Corinth”, features a much lighter than usual royal blue shirt, with classy red and white wrapover v-neck and cuffs. The shorts are white and socks red with blue tops, but the standout feature is the stylised St Andrew’s Cross - the Saltire - across the chest.

When the modern football fan - nationality and affiliation undetermined - considers the football kits of Manchester City, they’d likely reel off a list of iconic recent outfits by, particularly, Puma and Nike. The discerning scholar may even refer to Tailored By era Umbro designs of an FA Cup win and a first Premier League title - or even be aware of double-diamonded 1980s-and-90s classics - but what of Kappa?

This is Corinth's prediction for Chelsea's 2020-21 home jersey, based on leaks.

The jersey is mainly blue, and features a distinctive all-over graphic consisting of chevron-like lines (these patterns were found on leaked Chelsea-related merch for the next season).

Sportswear product and graphic designer Emre Gultekin has published another “Nike proposal” concept range, this time for the Netherlands.

Stated in the smallprint as being created in November 2018, the AW20 collection (with the upcoming 2020-21 season in mind), takes significant inspiration from various attributes of this particular “low country”. On the Home shirt, there is a stylised representation of the Netherlands’ geographical shape, with black the secondary colour, and the navy Away - complementing the Home to the extent that the two kits share the same black shorts - has a pattern inspired by the structure of the Dutch national flower, the tulip.

A true football strip rarity is the pseudo-Home kit. Not many teams have had one - and the description could cover various scenarios - but the United States Men’s National Team can certainly claim to have been blessed with their most-used outfit when America hosted the planet’s best at the USA ’94 World Cup.

This adidas design (rendered here by John Devlin - True Colours - in replica form with balanced stars, with the back of the shirt showing the players’ version and its lop-sided look) was actually the hosts’ Away kit, with the red and white wavy stripes the official first choice shirt. It didn’t matter, as this was worn in three of the USMNT’s four matches as they did themselves proud on home soil.

Another example of John Devlin’s True Colours in-depth looks at particular kits is this Umbro Everton Away design from 1992.

Worn as the Toffees made their Premier League bow in the inaugural season - 1992-93 - and as club legend, the late Howard Kendall brought his second spell in charge to a close in the following campaign, this striking outfit was not accompanied by great success. However, the kit celebrated the Merseyside club’s past through the retro colour scheme of salmon (pink) and navy - in fetching stripes on the retro buttoned collar shirt.

Argentina, for a side with such a seemingly unmistakable and iconic look, have surprising variation in their sartorial past - as evidenced by this kit history produced by sportswear product and graphic designer Emre Gultekin.

The early days of the national team saw white shirts and shorts almost immediately replaced by the flag-inspired white and sky blue-striped shirt and black shorts. Stylish white and sky-topped black socks appeared from early doors, with button-up and lace-up collars being replaced in due course by a perhaps more familiar v-neck.

These Internazionale - Inter Milan - concept designs are the work of sportswear and graphic designer Emre Gultekin. Following on from a previous Inter range we featured, the kits and apparel here are influenced by the city of Milan/Milano, and the history of the club.

More specifically, the “Nike Proposal Project”, which is dated as being from June 2016, features a Nerazzurri Home kit which nods to the world famous “Duomo di Milano” cathedral via the classic black and blue shirt’s stripes. The stained glass of the cathedral is referenced with a sublimated watermark pattern which also brings to mind the “wireframe” look on the new Canada Home shirt.

Many football kits are rendered iconic by way of their Umbro, adidas or, more recently, Nike stylings. The Middlesbrough FC design worn in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons is not one such example.

The “Skill” design - that’s what the “i” stood for, obviously (!) - featured chest striping probably influenced by a similar approach by The Brand With The 3 Stripes, but it remained distinctive in its time, sitting atop the Heritage Hampers sponsorship logo.

Classic Football Shirts