Fashion file: Ranking the new Premier League uniforms

Sportsnet takes a look at the most expensive off-season transfers in the Premier League.

A new soccer season brings optimism and hope. It also brings new fashion.

Only transfer speculation rivals the amount of press that kit launches receive during the pre-season. Now that the 2017-18 campaign is upon us here are my grades for the best dressed in the English Premier League.

1. Manchester United – Adidas
Their home kit brings back the colour in a modern fashion with the blade collar and two buttons. The Red Devils return to a single shade of red, but it includes the addition of a black and white trim on the sleeves, incorporating the club’s traditional colours. The Adidas stripes that went down the sides of the shirt last season are now on the shoulders. United’s away kit is black with different shades of layered grey. The look is a throwback to the 1990s kits based on the blue-and-white design they wore away from home, but now created in black and white. The club crest is also monochrome and the three Adidas stripes run down the sides. United’s third jersey is silver and features a graphic of the Old Trafford statues of George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton. Since signing with Adidas, United’s away kits have been a bit underwhelming so it’s nice to see the brand with the three stripes take a chance.

2. Arsenal – Puma
Their home kit is a bit darker and now boasts a small collar. They’ve added some colour and design to the top of the socks, too. However, their best look is the road kit. The Gunners have gone away from the traditional yellow and have brought in a sky-blue look with a hue that darkens south towards the shorts. The new third kit is black with pink trim. It is a good look but with no Champions League football, don’t expect to see it that often.

3. Manchester City– Nike
City’s uniforms are still among the best in the league. The addition of the slightest bit of marron as trim on the socks adds a royal feel to the ensemble. The dark blue on the sleeves is now gone, as this version returns to one block colour with white trim. It is said to be inspired by the 1967-68 kit they won the league title in. The purple/maroon is brought in, in a big way with the grape coloured away kit. It helps to have such a strong colour scheme, but City one again has a uniform that is top class. The away uniform is modeled after the 1956 FA Cup winning team.

4. Liverpool – New Balance
As is becoming a trend with Liverpool, the Reds debuted their new home kit at the end of last season. Just like their uniform in the 1970s and 1980s, the Liverpool shirts have a V-neck collar with a red stripe. Their away kit is white and emerald green with large checkers, and is a homage to the club’s first ever jersey in 1892. Their third kit is bright fluorescent orange with bright orange socks and black trim, and is based on the shirt they wore to win three cup competitions during the 2000-01 season.

5. Southampton – Under Armour
Southampton’s new uniforms are a vast improvement. The new home kit is modelled after the club’s look in the 1980s. The south-coast squad changed the traditional red-and-white stripes for a large white stripe down the middle of a red background with black trim. Their away uniform is almost as good. Their away jersey makes them yet another team trying out two shades of blue.

6. Leicester City – Puma
Puma has slowly infiltrated the Premier league over the last couple of years by taking smart gambles. The best choice has been Leicester who has mirrored the brand’s ascension in world football. They actually wore their new uniforms for the final game of last season. Their away black and gold uniform is a return to their Premier league winning campaign. No longer do they have the all-red kit shirt they wore on the road. Instead, they went back to black and gold look they had during their 2015-16 Premier League triumph. Other than that, their home blues remain largely unchanged.

7. Tottenham – Nike
Spurs have left Under Armour to join Nike. Tottenham have changed their famous crest to a shield for one season to pay respect to the 1960-1961 teams. The cockerel returns to the inside of a shield. The new shirt has more white than the last version, but there are small additions of navy to the sides and collar. Their away uniform is navy blue, but this year instead of gold trim it has been replaced with white.

8. Newcastle United – Puma
Newcastle has stuck to their signature foot locker type look, but added a new crest to commemorate the 125-year history of the club. For their return to the Premier League they will feature a new sponsor in Fun88. The Magpies will change back to having red letters and numbers on the back of their uniforms. Their away kit is a light blue shirt, dark blue shorts and light blue socks, which is an ode to Newcastle East End FC, the team that preceded Newcastle United when it merged with West End FC in 1892. The commemorative crest is on the third kit, and is back and gold, but the overall design is uninspiring as it is just a copy of Leicester’s black uniform.

9. Huddersfield Town– Puma
Now that they are in England’s top flight they get a new shirt sponsor, OPE Sports. The bubbling on the traditional stripes is a great choice as a differentiator, as is the red logo and trim of the crest. They don’t have a designated away uniform; instead they have two alternates. One of the alternates has a ‘electric flash’ red and black hoop design, which commemorates the uniforms they used between 1991 and 1993. The other one is navy, with pink pinstripes. They might be close to the bottom of the table, but they won’t look like it.

10. Chelsea – Nike
The Blues fall quite far down the list. After leaving Adidas, their first kit with Nike leaves much to be desired. Despite rumours the club was shifting to a paler shade of blue, the Blues have kept the traditional shade of blue even though there was talk of going lighter. The biggest change from last year is getting rid of the white stripes on the side of the jersey. The home kit is patterned after their look in the 1970s. Their away kit is white no longer black and now has a silver hue to remind competitors that they took home the silverware in the premiership.

11. West Ham United – Umbro
The blue and claret uniforms are still the predominant selection and the first choice at home. One change is the darker claret at the top of the jersey. This version takes its inspiration from the kit worn by the Hammers in the 1976 European Cup Winners’ final. West Ham will go all black, but keep the claret for the lettering in the trim for their away uniform. It is the first time they’ve worn black in club history.

12. Stoke City – Macron
Bet365 is still the shirt sponsor. The red and white stripes on the Potters’ home jersey remains the same as is their tradition. The away uniform is a darker shade of blue with a clean white collar and some red and white pinstripes across the front.

13. West Bromwich Albion – Adidas
West Brom still looks very similar to the New England Revolution, especially in their away kit that is primarily white with red sleeves, shorts and socks and blue trim. At home, white and blue are the primary colours with vertical hoops, and red is only brought in for the Adidas logo. The V-neck collar doesn’t have stripes on the back of the shirt which makes the lettering and numbering pop. The Baggies will be sponsored by Chinese construction tycoon Palm this season.

14. Swansea City – Joma
Swansea is in the second year of their deal with Joma and have a new sponsor in Asian gambling company Letou Sports. Other than the orange to compliment the blue on the sponsor’s logo not much has changed for the home whites. The away kit has a rounded neck and is designed around their status as the Premier League’s only Welsh club, copying the red and green of the Wales national team. Their chili red away strip with Master’s green trim has a flare to it you don’t often see from British clubs. The all-black third strip with gold under the arms and a V-neck collar will be used on the opening day of the Premier League season.

15. Watford – Adidas
Watford traded US manufacturer Dryworld for Adidas. Watford’s home kit is a harsh yellow. The away strip is a big departure from their white version from last year. Black and white detailing is found on the bottom half of the away jersey to break up from the striking red. Don’t feel bad if you mistake Watford’s red away kit for Trinidad and Tobago. You’re not alone.

16. Burnley – Puma
For their second straight season they keep basically the same look. Their signature light-blue sleeves are a bit thicker than the 2016 jersey and now have claret shading. Their home kit looks like a poor man’s West Ham. On the road, they’ve incorporated an all-white uniform that will be much better looking than their starting 11 on most Saturdays.

17. Everton – Umbro
This Everton kit doesn’t look much different than the one Wayne Rooney wore when he made his Premier league debut with the club. The few changes are the navy addition on the sides and the return of the Umbro diamond on the sleeves. The Toffees also have a new sponsor, as SportPesa takes over for Chang. To match their #TogetherBlue mantra the uniforms are still really blue and still really boring. They away kit is grey and has a lighter blue trim.

18. Bournemouth – Umbro
It can’t be a Premier League season with at least one uniform featuring vertical red and black stripes. Bournemouth made the move from JD Sports to Umbro but the traditional jersey remains the same. Bournemouth welcomes a new shirt sponsor in Umbro with the same old basic look. The Cherries go away from red with their blue on blue away kit and are much better for it.

19. Brighton & Hove Albion – Nike
Brighton is celebrating promotion with a new kit. The new home uniform keeps the blue and white stripes on the front, with yellow trim around the back collar. The Nike logo in yellow is a nice, unique touch. The university gold and black away jersey with gold shorts and black socks is their main alternate.

20. Crystal Palace – Macron
Palace has a new home kit to match new shirt sponsor ManbetX. Yellow detailing on the shoulder, collar and sleeve has been added which is a nice touch. Their away kit is all black with white trim and a big upgrade over the home version as they settle on singular horizontal stripes instead of full vertical stripes. Palace’s new away kit is better than last season’s yellow version, which had a black-and-red double stripe going diagonally on the front of the shirt.

Watch five games from the opening weekend of the Premier League live on Sporstnet, including Watford vs. Liverpool and Manchester United vs. West Ham United. Coverage begins Saturday at 7:00 a.m. ET.