Bridge players have a reputation of not dressing very well. “Good luck with that,” directors told us when they heard that Daily Bulletin staff were roaming the playing areas Tuesday looking for people to spotlight for a fashion story. But not all bridge players fit the stereotype, and it was not hard to find several who had put some thought into their outfits.
“When I play bridge, I want to feel good,” said Cristal Nell of Seattle. “I want to dress for success.” A mom who spends most of her time wearing a T-shirt and jeans, she relishes occasions to elevate her fashion game. “Bridge tournaments are my opportunity to dress up.”
The view of when and where fashion is important is more expansive in Europe, according to Norberto Bocchi of Barcelona, who says the stereotype of bridge players applies to Americans in general. “Europeans care more,” said Bocchi, noting his $2000 jacket. “It’s not like America.”
Several others made our best-dressed list: Sylvia Shi, Yoko Sobel of New York, Lisa Fishman of Vancouver WA, Brenda Glaze of Anchorange AK and Jean Barry of Livermore CA. It was harder to find well-dressed men, but a few made the cut, including Thomas Paske of England and Andrew Sinclair of Albany CA.
Partners Will Williams and Jack Buchanan of Richmond VA, who live part of the year in Hawaii, stood out for their almost matching Hawaiian shirts. “We dress this way all the time,” Williams said, explaining they’ve been wearing Hawaiian shirts for the 15 years they’ve been playing together.
Lynn Blumenthal of Santa Rosa CA wore a rainbow-colored shawl with some of the colors matching streaks in her hair. “It makes a statement,” said her partner Kate Hill.
Bright colors caught our attention on a few other players. Marion Michielsen of Sweden had a bright orange top over her baby bump, and Suzanne Cook of McKineleyville CA wore a lush green. Simon Ekenberg of Sweden sported bright yellow and burgundy socks.
Then there were the attention-grabbing hats. Liz Hamilton of Las Vegas, who will chair the 2019 Summer NABC there, had several pins in her hat. “We teach bridge on the Queen Mary, and the pins represent places we’ve stopped,” she explained.
Stephanie Rogers of San Francisco had about 30 patches from bridge tournaments on her hat. While she likes to show off her bridge travels, her hat has another function, as does her husband’s. The hats prevent them from seeing each other’s faces. It’s too easy to take inferences from facial cues, Rogers explained. “We’ve been married almost 50 years.”
A colorful ball of yarn sat atop the stocking cap of Paul McDaniel of Richmond CA. On the opposite end of the hat spectrum, Anthony Chiocchi of New York sported a classic baseball cap.
Speaking of sports, James Holzhauer’s jersey was one you don’t see often: the Las Vegas Golden Knights, his hometown hockey team.
A T-shirt worn by Tim Niebauer of Boulder CO would be unlikely to make a fashion article anywhere else, but the bridge cartoon it displayed made it appropriate for the occasion of a bridge tournament. “Where’s the hand you held in the bidding?” it asks.