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The Sometimes Suspect Sartorial Splendor of Bear Bryant

Make no mistake, Paul W. Bryant could look sharp when the occasion called for it.
Make no mistake, Paul W. Bryant could look sharp when the occasion called for it.

Paul W. Bryant could be more than a little preoccupied about his personal appearance. From insisting on favorable lighting when filming The Bear Bryant Show to the face lift he underwent in the early 80s, Bryant knew the camera would be on him a lot and wanted to look presentable for it.

And from his years as a student at Alabama, Bryant had a penchant for dressing well. That carried over to his gameday apparel when he became a head coach. Throughout the 60s he mixed solid-colored blazers, sweatervests and brown fedoras for a winning combination. Yet as much as Bryant dominated college football in the 1970s, the decade certainly had its revenge on the Bear.

Fashion of that era wasn't exactly at its apogee and viewing any episode of Here's Lucy or Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast will attest it was particularly cruel to sexagenarians. Like many of his era, plaid and polyester conspired against Bryant and lets not even talk about some of the houndstooth foisted on him in his later years.

So here are six outfits that only Bryant could get away with wearing because... well, he was The Bear.


The fedora may have been stolen from Tom Landry's wardrobe but that jacket almost certainly came with a free mint julep. The outfit has lines going so many directions it can make you a bit dizzy if you look at it too long.

The Living Room Sofa

Colorwise, this one actually kind of works. The problem is it looks exactly like that sofa your parents had when you were a kid. You remember, the one where the dark lines were the roadway for your Matchbox cars.

The Herb Tarlek

The only thing that would make this absolutely perfect would be if he was wearing a white belt and white shoes. And Loni Anderson, of course.

Monochrome Madness

Not many people know that Bryant was on the front of the curve when it came to ska music and fashion. Somewhere a young Ranking Roger saw this ensemble and was inspired to found The Beat.

The Picnic Tablecloth

The fact that matters here is that the jacket is not pink. And we'll cut anyone who suggests it is. Which is ironic since polyester that thick could probably stop a knife blade.

Oysters Rockefeller

Sure it looks like something you'd be served at Antoine's but this jacket was actually an early experiment in Magic Eye technology. Stare at it long enough and you can see the words "Furman Bisher is an asshat."

And since y'all seem to be enjoying the polls we've had on the site this week, there's one for you on this topic after the jump...