At one point in time, oversized jeans and throwback jerseys were the everyday uniform for most NBA and NFL athletes off the court. But now, most athletes refuse to be caught in public not looking at absolute best. Tailored suits have become the press presentation norm and fashion insiders have taken to athletes for style inspiration.
Given how much sports stars influence men around the world (especially Black men), this change has seemingly encouraged the everyday gent to really step his game up. But what happens when you’re not only influenced by your favorite athlete’s style, but also built just like him?
Sports stylist Megan Ann Wilson—whose clients include budding NBA superstar, Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers and Chris Douglas-Roberts of the Charlotte Bobcats—shares some perspective on the art of dressing when you’re of the “athletic build.”
EBONY: What’s your take on athletes and their new fashion sense?
Megan Ann Wilson: I feel like you have two different athletes nowadays: the one guy who’s there to do the job and could care less about looking good and then the other guy, who’s like a Lebron and understands that in order to continue building his brand and lock down more endorsements, he has to dress the part, in addition to winning.
EBONY: What are some common mistakes you see being made by everyday men who are built like athletes?
MW: They don’t dress for their body type, but instead go for the trends. My recommendation is to forget what’s hot, and think about your silhouette with every purchase. Your clothing doesn’t have to be super-tailored, but the proportions should match your body type.
EBONY: What would you say are the go-to pieces for a guy who’s extremely tall?
MW: Find brands that are cut for that “slim-tall” silhouette. One of my favorite brands that specialize in this fit is ACNE. Their jeans are cut with longer inseams, which are perfect for fellas with long legs. If I had to name a pair of jeans from ACNE that you must own, it would have to be the Max cut—with a slim fit, a low rise and a tapered bottom.
I would even suggest researching Scandinavian clothing brands, as they tend to offer clothing with longer sleeves and longer torsos. My third option would be Thom Browne. They go up to a size 5, which is an extra-large. The shoulders on Thom Browne suits are slightly boxy, which is perfect for guys with broad shoulders and a big chest.
My recommendation is to forget what’s hot, and think about your silhouette with every purchase.
EBONY: These are great high-end brands. But what about the guys who aren’t living on a NBA salary?
MW: If you’re looking for a more affordable option, I would definitely tell you to head to your closest Club Monaco. They cater to the longer torso and if you look hard enough, you’ll find shirts and jackets that have longer sleeves. APC is another brand that produces high quality, but relatively affordable denim with longer inseams.
EBONY: What about weekend wear? What are some of your go-to stores for casual pieces for the athletic build?
MW: Weekend looks should always be about simplicity and comfort. Most regular tees are often too short for tall guys. Therefore, opt for something a little longer like this Jersey Tee from OAK, then layer that tee with a thin-knit Kenzo Tiger sweater from Opening Ceremony. As for the bottom, start with another one of my favorites: Baldwin Denim. They have longer inseams with a pretty slim/straight leg, made of great quality that’ll last you. Please invest in your denim. Most men want something light on their feet; something similar to a sneaker but with a more grown-up aesthetic. All my clients seem to love the Cole Haan Lunargrand wingtip. The bottom feel likes a sneaker, and the top looks like a grown man’s shoe.
EBONY: As a men’s stylist, how do say you like your man to dress?
MW: I have to be brutally honest: I don’t like guys who are really into fashion. My entire day revolves around the latest and greatest trends, so if that’s what you’re into as well, it’s kind of a turnoff. If my man takes longer to get ready than I do, that’s a problem. But I love a man who can mix an element of streetwear, like a pair of Nike Flyknits, with something more tailored, like a J.Crew sports coat.
For more advice from NBA/NFL Stylist Megan Ann Wilson follow her on Twitter @shegotgame.
—Corey Chalumeau, EBONY.com’s Menswear Style Contributor