On Monday, Giants superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. strutted into the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium wearing a yellow double-breasted Calvin Klein suit with a turtleneck and steel-tipped boots. The yacht-chic ensemble cost a reported $5,000 — but the headlines it made were priceless.
Consider Beckham walking evidence of the shift that’s happening in the NFL.
While fashionistas like Tom Brady and retired Giant Victor Cruz were once considered outliers for their high-fashion tastes, the league is now catching up with the NBA, where players treat every pre-game entrance as a viral fashion moment.
“The NFL walk off the plane has started to become equivalent to the NBA tunnel walk,” said stylist Courtney Mays, who dresses NBA stars Chris Paul and Kevin Love.
Footballers are enlisting stylists and filling their Instagrams with shots of themselves dressed to score style points. But it’s not just peacocking — there’s a real game plan: strategizing for a highly visual post-football career a la “Good Morning America” personality Michael Strahan or Cruz and his Nike contract.
“In football, with one hit you can be out of a job,” said stylist Dex Robinson, who dresses Cleveland’s Tyrod Taylor and Chicago’s Khalil Mack. “Players are saying, ‘How can I maximize my brand while the eyes are still on me?’”
The teams are supportive. Both Robinson and Brandon Williams, who dresses Kansas City’s Orlando Scandrick, work with franchise photographers to snag perfect images of their clients.
“The teams are making sure the team photographer is on the tarmac when these guys get off the plane or walk into the stadium,” said Williams. “The accessibility . . . is a big deal.”
Meet the gridiron warriors giving new meaning to the phrase “Sunday best.”