: Liz Ford
Your Guide to Pool Attire
Pool exists somewhere between a game and a sport. There are few “sports” that you can play without sweating, few “games” that require as much physical coordination, finesse and stamina. Check a mark squarely in the “game” column for the fact that you can play pool at its highest level in anything from jeans and sneakers to a three-piece suit and wingtips (or leather pants and four-inch heels if you're Jeanette Lee.) That being said, there are some sartorial sensibilities to take into consideration – for decorum and decency as well as performance and comfort. Here are some helpful tips for picking out pool clothes!
When in Rome...
Anything goes at your in-home table (or so my friend who plays in the buff every morning tells me - I won't out you here, but you know who you are!) If you're venturing out into the world you'll want to pay attention to any applicable dress codes. Some bars and pool rooms ban hats, tank tops and overly baggy clothing. In local tournaments, you might be required to wear a shirt with a collar, instead of a tee-shirt, with your intact jeans and sneaks. Team events mean a chance to wear matching shirts (which is as much about team unity as about locating your friends while at casinos in Vegas.) Higher-level and professional events usually mean wearing dress clothes from head-to-toe.
Comfort and mobility are the paramount qualities for your pool shoes. Sneakers are good for long sessions and casual tournaments. If you're more dapper or need to adhere to a dress code, make sure your fancy shoes have adequate arch support, aren't too tight and have traction on the bottom to keep you from slipping. Ladies – attempt heels with extreme caution as they're not only uncomfortable but can make you feel awkward at the table by changing your center of gravity and decreasing your stability over the ball.
Let's just begin this little talk by agreeing that sweatpants should never be worn anywhere outside your home, okay? Also, remember that other people will be watching you bend over, so things like plumber's butt and visible thongs should be banished with a complicated system of belts and personal shame. Neat and clean jeans are perfect for almost any pool situation without a strict dress code. If you're aiming to be a female professional player or a European male professional player, you'll need to invest in many pairs of tight black pants.
You want to make sure that your pool shirts have adequate room or stretch across the shoulders to give you a full range of motion in your arms while you bend and stretch for shots. Dress in layers so that you'll stay the right temperature because pool rooms are notorious for being either too hot or too cold. Ladies – please make sure that tops don't ride up in the back or ride low in the front when you bend over. When in doubt do the pool test - pool players have been caught in dressing rooms all over the world, bending over and playing air pool to determine whether an outfit will work!