Gone (for now, anyway) are the days of (mostly) bespoke Reebok kits with sharp lines and generous use of the club's secondary and tertiary colors along with the barely customized looks that adidas provided by slapping a couple of colors on a template used by approximately half of the teams in the whole of the Football League.
For the second year running, Macron are back as Bolton Wanderers' technical sponsor and with that title, they have returned with a custom kit for the mighty Whites.
At first glance, working your way from the bottom hem up, Bolton's new home kit is a classy affair.
The traditional white body remains with an all new sponsor logo taking its place on the front of the shirt, replacing the well-meaning but ultimately very ugly logo that Fibrlec had provided for the last couple of seasons. So far, its all going well with this one. You work your way up to the sleeves and there, finally, is a little bit of contrast with the sleeve cuffs and Macron's logos on the shoulder filled in with the navy blue that we're so used to.
Then, you get to the collar.
The collar, in its own right, is nothing special thanks to is crew neck cut and navy blue outline. It's what hangs off the neck that more or less kills this kit. It's a fairly big bit of red that hangs off the left side, also surrounded by navy blue. Inside the red area is a large, somewhat faint representation of the Rose of Lancashire.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for asymmetrical designs. They can be a very good tool for adding visual interest and contrast to what may be an otherwise plain design. On this one, however, it looks wrong.
Yes, it breaks up the stark white background a bit but it also simply does not do enough. The kit has a nice, clean balance to it that may have been more on the boring side but certainly not ugly by any stretch of the imagination. Adding red and the rose could have been achieved in a number of other ways (for example, a faux V-neck) but it seems that Macron have gone for what is possibly the most polarizing one.
It looks as though each one of the players is tugging at the side of their collar to reveal a red undershirt or perhaps that they each took a sword to the side of the neck in some medieval battle. Hell, it looks as though it was the start of the Flayed Man sigil of House Bolton (of A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fame) before they realized it wasn't anywhere near menacing enough.
That said, Macron have been busy on other, more subtle parts of the kit. Last year's uniforms featured the return of the elephant that used to sit on Bolton Wanderers badges of years past, taking its place in full color at the base of the neck. At first glance, it looks as though it was omitted this year but upon closer inspection, fans will find it even bigger on this year's shirt.
The elephant, along with the "Supera Moras" ("Overcome Delays") motto, now sit on the lower back as an embossed imprint. The base of the neck now carries the club's BWFC initials.
As per tradition, the kit will be partnered with navy shorts that feature small red accents and white Macron logos. The socks this year are also navy blue and feature a thin white strip and the club's initials again.
There has been no official announcement as yet about the color of the lettering and numbering that will take its place on the back of the shirt but one can only hope for the return of red.
There is no doubt that the 2015-16 home kit is polarizing thanks almost entirely to that red insert off the collar.
Still, it beats the likes of the "Sports Bra" (2008-09 home and away) and 2012 relegation kits by a huge distance.