Welcome to our round-up of the contemporary sartorial looks that will be gracing Serie B in the current season. Join us as we explore the good, the bad and the ugly of Italy’s second tier…
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Ascoli – encumbered by the age old challenge of freshening up a vertically striped shirt, Il Picchios have boldly reached out with a striking Nike template featuring a diagonal discontinuity and pinstripe. The busy front of the shirt is off-set by a plain black reverse. The launch was low key, held at the club’s pre-season retreat.
Verdict: 4/10 – stripes to the power of two.
Brescia – returning to Serie B after a single season in top flight, Le Rondinelle have largely kept faith with their traditional chevron design, adding a simple blue border. The white cuffs (also a feature of Kappa’s new Fiorentina shirt) provide continuity across the chest, whilst the size and placement of an iconic sponsor is sympathetic to the overall design. Launched with a low-budget in-house video.
Verdict: 6/10 – solid, inoffensive, but unspectacular.
CHIEVO – I Gialloblu rarely deviate too far from their core design and colour palette on the home shirt, and this year is no exception. The trusty flying donkey has its usual place on the lower part of the shirt, bringing character to an otherwise plain design. The shirt warrants some recognition at least for the colour co-ordination of sponsors’ logo. As with previous seasons, its the away shirt where Chievo have really let their hair down with a bold claret and blue design, dripping in civic iconography.
Verdict: 5/10 – could easily be mistaken for any Chievo home shirt of the past decade!
Cittadella – manufacturer Mizuno are best known for their J-League escapades, but have partnerships with a number of smaller Italian teams. Classic claret and blue, featuring a cacophony of sublimated of vertical, horizontal and diagonal stripes. The launch photoshoot was played out to the backdrop of the famous city walls, which can usefully be located using the geographic co-ordinates that appear on the nape of the shirt.
Verdict: 7/10 – mixing things up, excellent personalisation.
CREMONESE – I Girigiorossi have the inherent advantage of a unique colour palette to play with. This year’s sublimated chevrons add texture to what would otherwise represent a fairly safe application of stripes. The launch video was a poignant masterpiece; a visual and aural celebration of the fruits of the lands, the city, it’s healthcare workers and the tifosi…all played out to the famous Cremona violin. Perfetto.
Verdict: 7/10 – the video is worth a mark on its own.
COSENZA – it was November before I Lupi had launched their new shirt. It features broad red and navy stripes intersected by white pinstripes, reminiscent of their shirt from the turn of the Millennium. The choice to go with simplicity should be considered wise given the dominant nature of the sponsors logos. The club made up for their tardiness by launching a fourth ‘special‘ shirt in February, though the purpose of this was unclear, particular given its similarity in hue to the home and third shirts.
Verdict: 4/10 – an uninspiring shirt, they seem to save their best designs for change kits.
Empoli – after last season’s Blockbuster’s themed design, the club have gone back to basics. The key innovation in an otherwise orthodox design is the questionable new centenary crest, featuring metallic detail and skyline silhouette. Unfortunately, the club’s proclivity for a dual sponsor has long been a drag on the aesthetic of the shirt. The club do, however, receive full marks for diversity in their kit launch, using their women’s team to front the campaign.
Verdict: 4/10 – an insipid showing…though Empoli redeemed themselves with the release of a majestic sponsorless burgundy centenary shirt in October, complete with laces and black out-style crest.
Frosinone – the collaboration with Italian brand Zeus has been taken to the next level with this striking design. The club’s traditional colour palette has been deployed to tremendous effect, diagonal half-stripes work in perfect harmony with lightening-strike of the manufacturer’s logo. The launch was backed up with a mesmerising video too.
Verdict: 9/10 – I Cana-rini believe how good this is.
Lecce – I Salentini have once again used M908, their in-house brand, to produce their shirts. The faded stripes are intended to give greater prominence to the crest and sponsor, but unwittingly contributes to a very congested look. The shirt was launched with some low-key graphics and a classic gender-diverse stadium photo shoot.
Verdict: 4/10 – an improvement on last season.
Monza – there’s a mid-90s Milanese rivival going on in Monza with the confluence of Galliano, Berlusconi and Lotto. For their return to Serie B, they’ve opted for a clean single-stripe design featuring a sublimated geometric pattern. The outline of the Monza racing circuit on the neck of the shirt is a nice touch of personalisation too. Thankfully, the president resisted the urge for a bunga-bunga themed launch.
Verdict: 7/10 – highly recognisable, thoughtful stuff.
Pescara – a design as fresh as a stiff breeze rolling in off the Adriatic. The subtle deployment of sublimated patterning to break up the stripes and the daring use of gold-trim works surprisingly well. The design and stitching around the neckline is highly reminiscent of early-noughties Kappa. The kit launch utilised the now-familiar theme of po-faced models, posing in assorted urban settings.
Verdict: 7/10 – very crisp.
Pisa – a fantastic example of innovation within a striped design. The graphic equalizer-styled fading of the blue stripes is an inspired choice. Pisa have stuck with a couple of themes from the previous kit in terms of the gold trim and Pisan cross (an ancient heraldry symbol). The launch photoshoot and video used a dark background to superb effect to emphasise the graded design of the shirt.
Verdict: 10/10 – one of the best out there.
Pordenone – the club eventually came good with their new shirt, but not before causing some consternation when they wore a disappointing Givova template design in pre-season. Released on the eve of the season, the new shirt employs a modern twist on their traditional stripes, with a brush-stroke effect. The design is more than a little reminiscent of the wide-stripes used by the ‘other’ neroverdi, Sassuolo, in 2017/18.
Verdict: 8/10 – a fine colour palette, superbly executed.
Reggiana – this shirt has a lot going on! The usual deep granata has been juxtaposed with a lighter tone, arranged in irregular stripes across the shirt. The gold pinstripes and trim provide continuity with the revived Reggiana club badge. The addition of the Italian tricolore on the sleeve and collar is intended to represent the ‘pride and passion’ felt when wearing the jersey.
Verdict: 3/10 – not for me, I’m afraid.
REGGINA – the club’s new partnership with Macron has begun with a striking new design. A sober top half of the shirt, featuring a neat white v-shaped collar and cuffs, gives way to a more playful design in the lower half. The return of the Caffe Mauro sponsor on the sleeve – a throwback to their Serie A days when Andrea Pirlo wore the shirt – provides additional nostalgia value. The low budget launch video was fairly baffling for non-Italian speakers!
Verdict: 7/10 – a solid effort.
SALERNITANA – the main talking point on this shirt is the tiger-ish embellishment across the chest. Though they appear to have ‘bottled it’ somewhat with the large plain patch to accommodate a sponsor (the addition of which has the potential to either make, or break, this shirt). The white and pale blue trim is a nod to the club’s historic colours, though not convinced it works in combination with gold.
Verdict: 6/10 – perhaps trying a little too hard?
SPAL – the club have taken some tentative steps to innovate around their traditional narrow-gauge stripes this year. That said, it’s not clear what the additional white detail within the blue stripe is supposed represent; faux stitching perhaps? The launch was centred around a bizarre painted mural, some low-resolution digital illustrations and a photoshoot involving sheepish looking players.
Verdict: 3/10 – must try harder.
Venezia – the Arancioneroverdi have unexpectedly swapped stripes for gondolier-inspired hoops this season. And to fantastic effect. The club’s extensive colour palette has mitigated the need to dip into gimmicks or design quirks. The containment of the custom-font (self) sponsor within a single hoop lends coherence to shirt. The club’s away shirt – white with orange, green and black bands across the chest and a neat black collar – was arguably one of the shirts of the season too.
Verdict: 9/10 – a must-have in Shoreditch this autumn.
VICENZA – for a club owned and sponsored by a fashion brand, the expectations were naturally high. For their return to Serie B, they’ve switched to narrow-gauge stripes with a geometric sublimation. The addition of the timeless Lanerossi logo, a collar and the city’s coat of arms on the neck of the shirt round things off very nicely. Also check out the audacious third “icon” kit (photo below), with Diesel design influences; six months after launch, there is still no word on how or when this shirt might be used.
Verdict: 8/10 – lots to like here.
Virtus Entella – having kept the previous home shirt for two seasons, the Chiavari club have freshened up their Adidas-supplied shirt for 2020/21. The primary innovation sees the addition of a black collar and trim; a nod to the club’s nickname I Diavoli Nero (Black Devils). Viewed from the front, the white patches on the top of the shoulders give the impression that a cape might be fixed to the back (to clarify, there is no cape).
Verdict: 5/10 – something’s not quite right here.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, also check out my article exploring this season’s offerings from Serie C, or the special edition shirts of the 20/21 season…or this piece on the greatest kits in Palermo‘s history.