Embracing Blokecore: Menswear’s Newest Trend Is Dressing for the Football Pub

Dadcore's cousin from across the pond proves a vintage footy kit is the key to a well dressed summer

May 9, 2022 6:52 am
A collage of Tok Tok personalities dressing in "Bloke Core"

It’s the eighty-ninth minute. City versus United. Cross flashed in low, ball pops out to who other than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker squares up, laces a thunderbolt and…goal! You go mental. Your mates go mental. The pub goes mental. You do not care that your fourth pint has spilled all over your jeans and your iconic 2009 Red Devils away kit. That is what they are for. This is football. This is life.

If that experience registered for you, there’s no doubt you’ve experienced the joy of watching soccer — or football, as it’s known literally everywhere else — but regardless of whether you can explain the offsides rule, you may have noticed that there’s a very real footy-inspired obsession bubbling up through the fashion world. It’s official: the era of blokecore is upon us. 

What the Hell Is Blokecore? 

Blokecore, birthed on social media platform TikTok, is a growing fashion trend that draws inspiration from U.K. pub culture. Blokecore pays homage to the lowly lad nominal, an affected descriptor for your average, if not slightly schlubby, British fellow. 

Predicated on a (very intentional) wearing of vintage soccer jerseys or kits along with battered bootcut jeans (jorts are also appropriate here) and soccer-inspired trainers a lá the Adidas Samba, the style is designed to mirror an outfit you might see at your local pub come game day.

Although blokecore reportedly began as little more than a meme in late 2021, the trend has exploded on the video-sharing platform, with hundreds of videos predominantly featuring young Gen Z men, displaying soccer-centric looks for invested viewers on the platform that claims over 1 billion active users. The #blokecore tag has garnered nearly 8 million views, with many coming in the last month, as the trend has enjoyed serious success. 

Of course, as anyone old enough to remember pre-full time dad David Beckham can tell you, blokecore’s building blocks are not a revolutionary combination. Quite the opposite, in fact — the conceit could have been pulled straight from an Oasis moodboard. “The term ‘blokecore’ is new, but the idea of incorporating sporting aesthetics into fashion isn’t,” Who the Fuck Are Tens Club? (WTFATC), a curated soccer newsletter and vintage curator, told InsideHook. 

WTFATC says a confluence of factors have led to the revived fascination with dressing like a lad. “Blokecore is an extension of workwear trends, democratized fashion and a celebration of the style sensibilities of common people — in this case, the blokes, the lads, and the mates.” 

High Fashion x Football

Despite the phenomenon’s recent and increasing virality, football-inspired fashion has long been common in the industry. Brit Grace Wales Bonner, the 2020 CDFA International Men’s Designer of the Year, is perhaps best known for her Adidas Samba rework that sold out immediately, only to skyrocket to cosmic resale values on secondary markets like Stock X. Virgil Abloh’s love of the sport directly influenced his time at Off-White. The same influences shine through in the collections of Bonner’s countrywoman Martine Rose and streetwear darling Aime Leon Dore. Even centuries-old Gucci’s latest campaign leans on the world’s games for warm-up-esque track pants and reinvented footwear in collaboration with the German athleticwear giants. 

Organized soccer, too, with top-tier clubs valued at billions of dollars, inevitably has a hand in the lucrative business of soccer fashion. French club Paris Saint German’s multi-year partnership with Nike’s Jordan brand was merely one of a multitude of big-money deals involving prestigious clubs and premier brands in recent memory. 

These same collaborations and partnerships have seemingly contributed to both the increased visibility for soccer-inspired garb and a yearning for something more authentic and personal. WTFATC suggests that this might have something to do with the collab exhaustion — one that bears a striking similarity to the sneaker market — and the breakneck pace of releases and drops. “With vintage, the rarity and obsolescence is a function of natural evolution where availability goes down and value goes up as more time passes—not like some streetwear which is manufactured and planned that way.”

Blokecore is nowhere near the first fashion trend to find traction on TikTok, nor is it the first to embrace styling inspired by decades-old culture. The indie sleaze movement caught traction earlier this year — much to the displeasure of anyone who actually lived through it — with a generation of Gen Z youth coming to age on social media and looking to the ‘90’s and early aughts with a glassy-eye, unknowing admiration.

Both examples also mirror a growing fondness for both nostalgia-adjacent paraphernalia and hyper-specific, often satirical styling. “Blokecore struck a cord and permeated fashion and style circles because it’s impossibly niche and objectively fucking hilarious,” says WTFATC. The act of dressing as a character, or at least for a bit, too, appears to be gaining traction, with trend forecasters predicting a maximalist reverberation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beyond social media’s influence, blokecore has become a sensation due in part to a simple interest in the sport. With the 2022 World Cup fast approaching, there’s an increased engrossment with all things soccer, including fashion. “I’d like to believe blokecore is resonating now because we’re in a World Cup year,” WTFATC said, “but I think it’s mostly because the sport is hot and because the Gallagher brothers do numbers on the moodboards.”

How To Embrace Your Inner Bloke

Unlike the flights of fancy that trickle down from Europe’s runways, blokecore’s down-to-earth pipeline is refreshingly accessible. It’s built around the old-school soccer jersey, and vintage is the name of the game here. WTFITC suggests that, “they’re heavier, boxier, and more wearable than modern kits, which are designed for professional athletes, children and nobody in between.” 

Kits can be found on curation platforms (WTFATC drops collections of vintage soccer merch and sporting ephemera on the regular), the second-hand markets of eBay and Depop, or perhaps even your parents’ musty old basement. As it turns out, most everyone has had some form of run-in with soccer jerseys at some point, whether it’s a coveted Premier League gem or a community rec league bib. 

Otherwise, it’s an easy outfit to compile. Slap on a pair of your favorite stain-ready jeans, grab a pint and have fun just being a bloke, whether you’re catching a match on the telly or not.

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