All athletes look great on the court, clad in their team jersey or sports wear, doing what they do best. However, as is evident from pictures captured during post-game interviews or even while athletes are simply leaving the stadium, it’s apparent that some athletes look much more stylish in their off time than others. Athletes often make multi-million dollar salaries and can easily afford any luxury they desire. While some may go after sports cars and expensive homes, many athletes funnel their salaries into designer clothing. And why not? They work incredibly hard to stay in peak condition and it would be a shame to hide their physique under ill fitting suits and baggy t-shirts.
Athletes also offer brands a unique opportunity – coiffed, in shape, gleaming with health, they’re the perfect opportunity to incorporate celebrities and non-models into a company’s brand. Many stylish athletes have had opportunities to be the face of a designer brand and have participated in iconic advertisements. Even the covers of the most prestigious fashion magazines, a territory generally ruled models or A-list celebrities only, have pictured stylish athletes. Additionally, athletes are also frequently given the opportunity to dabble in the fashion world themselves, as they create everything from small collections (designer sneakers, backpacks) for larger brands to entirely new brands of their own.
They’re given coveted tickets to the most exclusive fashion events. They show up on red carpets looking impeccable. They most certainly know how to make it work. From hanging courtside in Chanel to grabbing coffee in Givenchy, the following ten athletes have style that is consistently on point. While their styles vary, they have all unquestionably earned the designation of best dressed.
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10 Chris Eubank
British boxer Chris Eubank is quite a sartorial character, and he takes his cues from old-school British style. He has won several best dressed awards, predominantly in the UK in the early 1990s, and was named Britain’s Best Dressed Man in 1991 and 1993. The uber-fashionable ex-boxer, who was at one point best known for his trademark monocle and silver cane, cites Vivienne Westwood as one of his fashion inspirations. Though Eubank went through some financial difficulties, he maintained his sense of style and is now applying his fashion skills to a new career. He was hired to design outfits for Savile Row tailors Cad & The Dandy, who were impressed by his style and felt he would be a good fit for the company. The pieces he works on are all labelled ‘inspired by CLE’ (Christopher Livingston Eubank) and include amongst them jodhousers, a posh cross between riding jodhpurs and trousers.
9 Tom Brady
When you’re married to one of the biggest supermodels in the world, your mere proximity to the fashion world necessitates that you step up your game a bit. However, quarterback Tom Brady was stylish even before Gisele. The football star embodies clean cut, all-American style, though as he grew older he began to incorporate some European influences. Given that his closet is filled with perfectly tailored suits by Ermenegildo Zegna and Tom Ford, we’ll forgive his ever-changing hairstyles. Brady is currently the face of UGGs, and alongside wife Gisele was named one of Vanity Fair’s best dressed. It probably also doesn’t hurt that he has the face of a male supermodel. There is probably nothing that Brady couldn't pull off.
8 Baron Davis
Style isn’t necessarily about keeping up with fashion trends and dressing yourself only in what’s hot that season – case in point, basketball’s Baron Davis. Davis knows exactly what his style is and has spent a great deal of time cultivating and honing his attire. He is a big lover of vintage clothing and maintains his look by buying from antiques stores and constantly keeping an eye out for accessories. He infamously refused the stylist and tailors that helped the rest of his team mates at one point, asserting that he wanted to have his own unique style off the court, as he already wore the same uniform as all his team mates on the court. One of his confessed style icons? A young Bill Cosby. Now that’s an individual and unique sense of style.
7 Matt Kemp
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp may not slip on the runway’s latest haute couture, but he has classic California style down to an art. Kemp favours three-piece suits (impeccably tailored, of course), well-fitting casual denim, and leather jackets that seem tailor made for him. He keeps it simple, but everything fits perfectly and looks great. There’s nothing wrong with the jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket uniform, as long as everything is crisp, clean, and well-fitting. He also often dons rolled cuffed pants and collared shirts. Kemp’s style is the perfect example of relaxed California chic.
6 LeBron James
When King James made it into the NBA as an eighteen year old kid, he favoured typical athletic gear – t-shirts, basketball shorts, sweatsuits, and sneakers. As he’s grown older, his style has developed. He’s since evolved into one of the best dressed athletes, making appearances at New York fashion week and impressing audiences on red carpets. He knows the importance of a perfect fit and gets most of his clothing tailored or custom made. With suits by Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren, shirts by Paul Smith and Lanvin, and jeans by APC and Levi, his closet is definitely well stocked. He opened a clothing store, Unknwn, in Miami a few years ago. The store offers a good mix of fashion forward apparel, gearing predominantly towards sportswear.
5 Roger Federer
Tennis players are frequently associated with a classic, preppy style, and tennis superstar Roger Federer fits the aesthetic perfectly. His sense of style is very classic and clean-cut and he frequently steps out in crisp button-down shirts, well-tailored jackets, and classic preppy sweaters. High priestess of high fashion Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, is one of Federer’s friends and the Swiss athlete is often seen sitting with her at runway shows.
4 Henrik Lundqvist
Swedish hockey player Henrik Lundqvist rules New York City as a goaltender for the New York Rangers, and he also keeps up with the big city’s high fashion world. He has been named best dressed on several lists, from American Vanity Fair's list to lists in his native Sweden, and has attended several events during New York Fashion Week. Like many of the athletes on this list, Lundqvist favours impeccably tailored suits and crisp off-ice attire. While he does take a few risks with colour and pattern, he ensures that his clothing is always tailored to his body and looking sharp. His sartorial nods to his Scandinavian heritage place him a bit on the trendy side of classic American style.
3 Victor Cruz
Cruz, a wide receiver for the New York Giants, has a style game that is diverse but consistently on point. He’s stepped out in everything from burgundy-hued tailored suits to vintage sneakers and crisp striped jackets. He’s shaken hands with fashion icons like Tommy Hilfiger and is definitely no stranger to the fashion powerhouse that is New York Fashion Week – in 2012, he was even given the chance to cut the ribbon and kick it all off. Even when he’s rocking a casual look, he does it well – note the crisp, trendy khaki slacks and seemingly custom-fit burgundy sweatshirt that he wore to the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. The athlete even has his own clothing line, Young Whale, which puts out stylish sportswear.
2 Sean Avery
Hockey’s infamous Sean Avery is well known for his rough, agitator style on the ice, but he’s perhaps equally notorious for his decision to spend time during one of his off-seasons interning at Vogue. While editor Anna Wintour may have seen in him an opportunity for some publicity, and the attention of sports fans who perhaps may not be interested in fashion magazines, Avery reported to duty and was the consummate professional during his time with the magazine. He worked in the men’s fashion closet and even attended couture runway shows in Paris. Avery has also worked as a consultant for label Commonwealth Utilities and as a biweekly style advice columnist for Askmen.com. The athlete was featured with his fiancée, supermodel Hilary Rhoda, in the September 2014 issue of Vogue, a bible for the fashion world. Marrying athletics and fashion, Avery claims one of his favorite items in his closet is a pair of patent leather Yves Saint Laurent high-tops.
1 David Beckham
Beckham was the soccer world’s sweetheart for the duration of his athletic career, but his sense of style has led the fashion world to claim him as one of their own as well. Perhaps almost single-handedly responsible for introducing the word metrosexual to the public, Beckham has had as many looks as he has goals. Long blonde hair, faux hawk, crew cut. Slim cut suits, perfectly worn t-shirts and jeans, tweed sportcoats, hipster glasses. He’s worn everything, and despite the diversity of his sartorial choices, always manages to pull them off. Of course, having the fashionable Victoria Beckham by his side probably doesn’t hurt when it’s time to get dressed for an event. He’s done advertising campaigns for H&M, Belstaff, and several of his own fragrances. Only a confident man would be able to bend the style rules as Beckham has.
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