When athletes take the court or field, step into the ring or onto the ice, they are there to make a statement. The assertion "I'm here to win this competition" expresses itself in various forms—a touchdown dance, a fierce fist pump, a goooooaaaal celebration—but those acts all fall under the same umbrella: style. From Babe Ruth to Joe Namath, athletes have long been on the leading edge of the fashion conversation. Now, as the two worlds cross paths more than ever, SI unveils its first Fashionable 50 list, honoring the most stylish athletes in sports.
Stylists, models, journalists and other leading influencers in the fashion industry worked with SI editors to help shape the list, ultimately selecting a top 10 and 40 other sartorial icons, who are listed alphabetically. The expert panel includes Melissa Rubini, fashion director, InStyle; Rachel Johnson, CEO and stylist, Thomas Faison Agency; Dan Trepanier, creative director, ArticlesofStyle.com; Heather Zeller, founder and editor in chief, AGlamSlam.com; Marcus Troy, founder of Marcus Troy, Inc.; Brandon Williams, athlete stylist and image consultant; and SI Swimsuit models Chanel Iman, Kate Bock and Nina Agdal.
Athletes were evaluated for not only what they wear, but also how they wear it, where they wear it and why they wear it; designer collaborations, attendance at fashion shows, social-media presence, investment in fashion, endorsements and other partnerships were all factored into the final list. So too was their fashion vision—in many cases below, expressed in their own words.
As they become steady, front-row fixtures at fashion shows and create their own runways in stadium tunnels and postgame press conferences, these 50 athletes will lead the way, in style.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Fashion is what you make of it—if you're comfortable and you own it, there's no box you can put it in. That's the beauty of fashion. Football gave me a platform to show the world how I dress. Even on the field, I make sure I'm always cleaned up, my jersey is never untucked, my socks are always pulled up and my spikes always look well-kept, neat and new. I make sure the way I look on the field is the same way I look off the field. I think my clothes show that I pay attention to detail, take time to get dressed and think about my outfits well in advance, which is all very true. And there's a little bit of pressure, too. You want to go out there and step it up to make sure you look as good as the Cam Newtons and Odell Beckhams of the world, because they have custom pieces every week. I haven't been on the field in a little bit because of injury, so this year I have to bring it.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
My style changes throughout the year, so even for me it's hard to describe. I get inspiration from a lot of things. For basketball we travel a lot, and I'm able to visit hotels and see different fabrics and art on the walls. I also get inspiration from women's wear. A lot of people may like to wear nice clothes, but some do not understand where fashion comes from. I took the time to learn about the fashion world before I was able to get into it. I spoke with Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley to learn about the origins of fashion and how it developed. Now I have my own designs with Barneys and True Religion. I've been able to create this space for myself as a designer while still playing basketball.
3 LeBRON JAMES
When you call yourself the King, you have to be sure to dress like one. LeBron owns the spotlight, morphing in and out of Tom Ford three-piece suits (paired with sneakers), John Elliott sweat suits and leather moto jackets. He masters tailoring—one of his best looks featured a Maison Margiela camel hair double-breasted overcoat. The four-time MVP also has his own menswear store, UNKNWN, in Aventura, Fla., and his lifetime Nike deal, reportedly worth more than $500 million, ensures he will influence fashion for years to come.
—Marcus Troy, Rachel Johnson
The 21-time Grand Slam champion is just as fierce and commanding on the red carpet and the runway as she is on the court. Her looks are powerful—from body-hugging silhouettes to the black, sheer-back dress she wore to accept her SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Sportsperson of the Year honor. Her clothing line, Serena Williams Signature Statement for HSN, reflects her style with trendy, affordable pieces. Women's tennis, known for its style, has never had a more fashionable and empowering ambassador.
5 HENRIK LUNDQVIST
NEW YORK RANGERS
Known for his calm, collected presence in the net, Lundqvist dresses with the precision and coordination you'd expect from one of hockey's most creative and nimble goaltenders. The 34-year-old Swede is classically well-dressed, and his style has translated into partnerships with brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo and the creation of his own line with Swedish undergarment brand Bread & Boxers.
6 CRISTIANO RONALDO
The footballer is a sharp dresser known for sleek suits and tuxedos, and he always finishes off his look with an impeccable 'do. Ronaldo fronted fashion campaigns for the likes of Emporio Armani, Portuguese clothing brand Sacoor Brothers and watchmaker Jacob & Co., and also launched a collection of his own, CR7 Underwear, featuring boxers, briefs, premium shirts and more. The CR7 name also extends to his Nike line, ensuring that Portugal's famed number 7 will continue to lead the way in on-field style as well.
Everyone knows D-Wade the NBA player, but I am also a father, husband, businessman and friend, and my style reflects that. It's unpredictable. Some days I am suited and booted while others I'm wearing casual sweats, but everything is always well-tailored and worn with my own flair. Because I travel often, I see how different countries interpret clothing, and my wardrobe is inspired by those places. Fashion has allowed me to expand beyond basketball. I have a line with The Tie Bar, a line with socks brand Stance, a watch with Hublot and a range with underwear brand Naked—and I'm not stopping there. Stay tuned.
8 ANDRE IGUODALA
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
In 2005, during my second year in the league, the NBA mandated a dress code, and it rubbed a lot of guys the wrong way. But being creative is what makes us great athletes, and we took that same skill and applied it to our styling. Now every guy goes to the game with the mind-set that it is an occasion. I've also started a collection with Rochambeau, and it fits my personality. I'm pretty versatile. I can wear a suit and tie, or I can go a little street with some distressed jeans and a tee. I mix different styles, but I always like having a blazer on, no matter what.
9 SKYLAR DIGGINS
I like to describe my style as tomboy chic. Being comfortable is my No. 1 focus, so you'll usually see me in athletic wear, jeans or a blazer. But I also love heels and dresses. We all know how amazing men look in tuxedos, but I think women have more opportunities to play with textures, shapes, fits and color with formal wear. As I've discovered more designers, I've also found my creative voice.
AMERICAN BALLET THEATrE DANCER
Since I was seven years old, I've always had a knack for sewing and an understanding for how different garments fit my body. I would make clothes for my Barbie dolls and make small alterations to both my and my siblings' clothes. But when I moved to New York, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I paid attention to what I saw around me. I like to try new colors and dabble in new trends, but as a dancer I am always mindful of my proportions and what flatters my 5'2" figure. I try not to allow any trend to overtake my awareness of what works for my body. I choose pieces that elongate my frame and work with my style, which I like to describe as casual elegance.
40 MORE ICONS
FORMER PRO BOXER
The 38-year-old daughter of the Greatest has a timeless approach to fashion, allowing her natural beauty and strength to shine. Her sartorial wins include a striking blue halter gown by Michael Costello.
NEW YORK KNICKS
Anthony came into the league with little knowledge about menswear—we'll never forget his six-button suit at the 2003 NBA draft—but he's made major strides in recent years. He's smart when it comes to tailoring, and accessorizes with pocket squares and pops of color.
Odell Beckham Jr.
NEW YORK GIANTS
OBJ may be a junior to the style scene, but the 23-year-old has the experience of a vet. His link to Anna Wintour has opened doors even some A-listers do not have access to. Many imitate his blond Mohawk—that it affects the masses makes him a formidable force with the company he keeps on this list.
FORMER SOCCER PRO
Soccer players are characteristically stylish, and Beckham is a trendsetter. His understanding of impeccable tailoring and classic modernism defines his fashion prowess. Beckham's collection of cotton essentials for H&M is one of the retailer's top lines. He is always ahead of the curve with his grooming choices, which tie together the effortless look he's known for. Beckham is truly a relatable fashion icon and the most emulated athlete of them all.
Style is all about confidence, and Balotelli plays and dresses with lots of it. The Italian striker can pull off a skinny, expertly tailored suit but also masters the European luxury streetwear look, featuring fur-trimmed coats and drop-crotch pants. No matter what, Balotelli's eccentric fashion choices are always complemented with his signature Mohawk hairstyle. Crank the risk-taking dial up a notch or two, and he's the European version of Russell Westbrook: bold, in-your-face and not afraid to make mistakes. Balotelli's deal with Puma has also brought his quirky style to the pitch, most notably with a children's boot featuring a fuzzy Mohawk on the heel.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Being married to one of the world's top fashion models certainly helps, but the four-time Super Bowl champion has a style all his own. Brady is famous for wearing Tom Ford designs, both on the red carpet and upon arrival to NFL stadiums. Since becoming an UGG Australia ambassador in 2011, he's been known to gift teammates with the brand's trademark sheepskin shoes.
The 29-year-old has helped transform slope style for women with her feminine and functional Roxy collection, featuring sleek designs, on-trend colors and technical fabrics. Her personal style is typically casual yet chic.
As I saw the ways different dads dressed growing up, I became interested in fashion and inspired by different eras. What I wear depends on the particular season. Right now I love wearing tees under suits or layered with cool jackets. I've also partnered with accessories brand Armstrong and Wilson to create my neckwear line, Mr. Nice Tie.
Towering at 7'1", Chandler has been at the forefront of trends in the NBA. He's known for resurrecting Walt Frazier's famed hat, the Clyde. He celebrates his lean, muscular frame with body-conscious tailoring, and his confidence has allowed him to stay ahead of the curve.
He is not the marquee name that most of the others on this list are, but the Grizzlies' point guard is one of the NBA's most consistent dressers. His style is a blend of high- and low-end pieces and formal and casual wear. He shows an appreciation for classic menswear items and awareness of street style.
NEW YORK LIBERTY
I've always moved back and forth between the fashion and sports worlds because when I was 14 years old, I had the opportunity to walk in NYFW as a young model before I went on to play basketball in college and now in the WNBA. Because I am 6 feet tall, I've always had to be creative and versatile with my clothes. I love to come to games dressed from head to toe, but I also work in TV as a commentator. So I can do that classic look or I can pull off an elegant dress for a black-tie event. Or I can be tomboy chic at a football or basketball game. I love that I can be this chameleon, and my fashion can really transcend the different avenues and areas I work in.
NEW YORK JETS
Modeling for Buffalo David Bitton's fall 2014 campaign put the Jets' wide receiver into the fashion spotlight. He's carved a path for himself with his simple and clean style, but he can also rock a sharp suit, especially as one of this year's Council of Fashion Designers of America ambassadors for NYFW: Men's.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
As the teammate of one of the most trend-obsessed NBA players, Durant has an everyday competitor like no other on this list. Like Westbrook, one of KD's go-to's is the "nerdy chic" look—bowties, thick-framed glasses and backpacks over shirts.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion has a colorful look for matches, but his off-duty style is distinctly classic. Also, Federer's involvement with the Jordan brand is groundbreaking.
My mom was a fashionista and would always dress very nicely, and that's how my interest in fashion began. Now, TV shows like Boardwalk Empire have given me some ideas. I've grown to enjoy putting together my looks for game days. Nothing makes you feel more confident than a sharp suit, and looking professional at games makes me feel like I'm there to go to work. You look good, you play good, right?
FORMER NBA PLAYER
The moniker Clyde was given to Frazier because he wore his signature wide-brimmed Borsalino hat the same time that Warren Beatty's character did, in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. His secret weapon is his longtime tailor Mohan Ramchandani, but it's Frazier's confidence that ensures he will forever be respected.
FORMULA ONE DRIVER
Like the Mercedes car he races, Hamilton likes to drive his fashion forward, choosing sleek, sophisticated sportswear and suits that fit his 5'9", 150-pound frame to perfection. Hamilton is the new standard of cool.
I feel like I can't put a title on my style because I am kind of all over the place. Sometimes I'll walk in like I live in Texas—yes, I own boots—and then other days I'm like a rock star with ripped jeans and a leather jacket. The one look I can't go without is a well-tailored suit, usually from back home in Las Vegas at Stitched. No matter what look I choose, my hair and beard always have to be perfectly groomed.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
While Kaepernick seems serious in editorial shoots, his personal style is actually quite playful—sneakers and snapbacks are two staples in his wardrobe. Name the occasion and the location, and the 28-year-old quarterback will dress accordingly.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Compared with other leagues, MLB isn't the most stylish; Kemp, however, is an exception. He's been baseball's leading man for some time now. When he's not wearing a cap, you'll usually see the 31-year-old rightfielder accessorizing with glasses or brimmed hats.
My mom had me when she was 16 years old, and I grew up in Eastside, in Long Beach, Calif.—it's not the good part of town. We didn't have a lot, but I was able to create. Now when I hear the word style, I think of expression. Whether it's a fitted hat or a snapback, the hat ties my whole look together. I'm not a guy that is going to wear crazy colors—I'm more progressive. I'll wear a dope gray suit but have a pop in my tie, and my shoes will be ridiculous. In the end it will all make sense and be very easy on the eyes.
Fashion is my individuality. The Broncos are the most stylish team in the NFL, and I think I'm right up there with the leaders of the pack. My favorite accessory is my glasses, but I wouldn't even call them that because I need them every day. When you think of Von, you think of glasses, and I took off with it and embraced the geek and the dork in me. Hats are huge in my wardrobe as well—cowboy hats, fur hats. I'm a Texan through and through. I'm a country boy. When I go to the city and see shiny new stuff, I get it. When I get to the country, I combine both styles, put the glasses on, and you've got Von Miller.
The 26-year-old Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champ has a feminine but comfortable off-pitch style. On the red carpet she's elegant in figure-flattering dresses and isn't afraid to try menswear-inspired pieces. She recently attended the BCBGMAXAZRIA fashion show during NYFW and took the field to train with Vogue's international editor at large, Hamish Bowles.
You're likely to see the sixth-year running back in a well-tailored suit, but as an Adidas-sponsored athlete he can combine performance and style with coordinated joggers and hoodies paired with the brand's sneakers. Murray also teamed up with Men's Wearhouse to promote a line of Joseph Abboud suits.
FORMER SOCCER PRO
While playing in stylish Italian cities for eight years, Nakata honed his impeccable eye for sophisticated style. Anyone who can rock the lightweight scarf and pull off the jacket-over-the-shoulders move like a classic Italian man certainly has some swagger.
Newton knows exactly what his style is and sticks to it. Most of his looks consist of collared shirts and blazers that are well proportioned to his athletic 6'5" body, but sometimes he makes a statement. Remember those Versace zebra-print pants he wore on the plane to SB50? Bedazzled loafers and clip-on foxtails are other memorable choices. Like his style of play, Newton's looks are bold, and that's what makes him good. It's great to be fearless with fashion!
America's most successful female race car driver is also one of the sport's most fashionable racers. Patrick has been vocal about her passion for clothing, and her feminine style serves as a sharp contrast to the toughness of her sport. At awards shows and events around the world, Patrick is a well-dressed red carpet fixture, swapping her racing suit and signature aviators for mid-length dresses and statement jewelry.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
If you've ever watched the 6-foot Paul play hoops, it's apparent he likes to lead the charge. In the fashion landscape CP3's style is also all-star quality: dominant, classically cool and sporty. Paul uses his partnership with the Jordan brand on the court, but he's also known for adding the sneakers to his off-duty outfits. On any given night, he can be found pairing his Air Jordans with high-end labels such as Tom Ford and Maison Margiela to complete a masterly look.
FORMER NFL PRO
After retiring from the league in 2008, Strahan quickly transitioned into a second career in TV broadcasting. His varied roles, from talk show cohost to NFL analyst and media personality, assure that he's always in the public eye, and the 44-year-old is always sharply dressed. Last year Strahan developed his own line of suits and accessories with retailer JC Penney, called Collection by Michael Strahan, which offers patterns such as herringbone and windowpane and extended sizes up to 60. He says the classic looks with modern flair align with his personal style.
FORMER LPGA GOLFER
The Australia native has blurred the lines between fashion and sports for more than a decade. Noted not only for her style on the golf course but also for her career as a runway model, Rawson has experience on the catwalk at Los Angeles Fashion Week and snagged high-profile endorsement deals with GoDaddy and J. Lindeberg.
NEW YORK JETS
The New York market has definitely influenced Revis's style. The 30-year-old cornerback always wears high-end brands and has a strong awareness of fashion that complements his frame. He's been fitted by designers such as Davidson Petit-Frère of Musika Frère and has developed a signature shoe with Nike.
Sanders has taken cues from his stylish teammates, who—as Von Miller noted above—have a strong case as the NFL's most fashionable team. Neon-orange cleats on the field make him noticeable from afar, and Sanders takes a similar approach with his pre- and postgame style. One of his most memorable looks is a sparkly gold blazer with a black bow tie and round metal Ray-Ban sunglasses that he wore after the Broncos' SB50 win.
The five-time Grand Slam champion is also a successful businesswoman, and fashion has been at the center of her personal brand. She's a red carpet stunner, and sophisticated styles from Valentino, Stella McCartney and Chloé have been on her designer roster. She's launched a line of accessories under her Sugarpova label and collaborated with Cole Haan, a small sampling of her fashion endeavors.
When I see someone that's dressed well, it just sends the right message. I think it's important to carry yourself with your head up high, and part of that is making sure you feel confident. For professional athletes, you represent your organization and your city, so it's more than just yourself. I'm a firm believer that what you wear can empower you and make you feel a certain way, so I always try to leave my house feeling comfortable but also looking my best. For my style, I love a hat—that's probably my favorite thing. I think they're really distinctive.
My mother was always into fashion when I was growing up. Seeing her tastes in the finer things in life has influenced my sense of style. The clothes I wear are based on the occasion or event—if I'm going to the Met Gala, for example, I'm stepping out in formal suiting; if I'm headed to a basketball game, I wear fitted jeans and a nice jacket. Denim is definitely my go-to item—it's the one piece of clothing I always have with me.
Just as I am aware of my lines as a dancer, Vonn must have the same understanding as a professional skier. She knows her body and how to dress it. She knows how to look sexy without showing too much. She transforms with fashion off the slopes. I love following her looks on Instagram, from her menswear-inspired suits to distressed jeans.
SNOWBOARDER AND SKATEBOARDER
A two-time Olympic gold medalist, White aligns his off-duty and on-slope style with apparel that is flashy and full of attitude. His eclectic choices pull influences from sports, music and art. White's affinity for skinny jeans has translated to his competition attire, and he's drawn attention for his X Games looks, such as slim-fit, zebra-print trousers.
Looking the part is very important, and my 2014 draft-day suit, with a black-and-white floral tuxedo jacket, made an impression from the beginning. I think style is a big part of the respect you build as a professional, because it shows you care. My style is calm, cool and sometimes out of the box, but I always like to be comfortable, so my wardrobe reflects that. My go-to pieces are hoodies, bomber jackets and fly sneakers. I was taught that if you look good, you play great.
Like her sister Serena, Venus has a deep interest in fashion. The 35-year-old holds a fashion degree from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and is the creator of her own athletic apparel line, EleVen, which she also wears during matches. While her off-court looks are mostly relaxed and casual, Venus has brought her flair and personality to tennis for many years, wearing bold patterns and prints and sporting colorful hairstyles. Venus has extended her passion for design to interior decorating with her Florida-based firm, V Starr Interiors.
With his new fiancée, Ciara, by his side, 27-year-old Wilson has been making appearances on many red carpets lately, and he's always looking dapper. This year the quarterback also launched his own men's lifestyle brand, Good Man Brand, which features modern casual wear and donates a portion of its profits to his Why Not You Foundation. Wilson's off-duty style is mostly limited to well-tailored suits and crisp button-down shirts. But if you have a "uniform" of clothing you love coming back to, by all means, wear it as much as you want.
For more exclusive Fashionable 50 content and videos, including a tour of Cruz's sneaker closet and P.K. Subban's wardrobe, plus a behind-the-scenes look at Von Miller's cover shoot, visit SI.com/fashionable50. Join the social conversation using the hashtag #Fashionable50.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
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MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (CASH)
COURTESY NIKE (SHOES)
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KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES FOR TIME (VONN)