Athletes and fashion have always worked hand in hand in terms of branding. In recent past, sports men and women mostly endorse sports/athleisure brands in the fashion sphere but in recent times, the athlete/style union has grown much wider.
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Today it is not uncommon to see athletes at fashion shows, collaborating with designers, rocking the most edgy designs, and spicing up their social media handles with personal pictures of themselves at their stylish best. Stylish athletes abound and these are the 7 most stylish of them right now:
1. Mario Balotelli
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. In 2012, Balotelli featured in GQ where he was named the second-best dressed man in the world behind British musician Tinie Tempah. 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.
2. Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton’s Instagram handle is one of the coolest on the block. Just like the fast cars he races, Hamilton’s fashion sense is sleek, sophisticated and ultra-modern. He regularly shares snapshots of his fashion exploits around the world from attending Fashion Weeks to being present at movie premieres. His sense of style is universal; from iridescent, textured tuxedos to effortlessly cool ripped jeans, Hamilton rocks it all. Little wonder he has appeared on the “best dressed list” of many international publications.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal’s famed No. 7 isn’t only great at scoring goals on the soccer field, his off-field style is also a win. The footballer who is well known for sleek suits and tuxedos, often from Dolce and Gabbana, has fronted fashion campaigns for the likes of Emporio Armani, Portuguese clothing brand Sacoor Brothers, watchmaker Jacob & Co. and more, and also launched a signature collection of his own, CR7 Underwear, featuring boxers, briefs, premium shirts and footwear. The CR7 name also extends to his Nike range. Cristiano is simply iconic!
4. Serena Williams
Women’s tennis has never had a more fashionable and empowering ambassador. Like her on court persona, her fashion sense is potent and powerful, and features mostly bold colored outfits that hug her silhouette. She also has her clothing line, Serena Williams Signature Statement Collection for HSN, and the collection allows her fans connect with her off-court sporty and sophisticated style.
5. David Beckham
Soccer players are known to be quite stylish and David Beckham is leading the crop. His understanding of impeccable tailoring and classic modernism are key standouts when assessing his fashion prowess. Beckham’s collaboration with H&M for essential cotton undergarments is the retailer’s bestselling line.
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He is always ahead of the curve with his grooming choices, which tie together the effortless look he’s known for. The English star is not only the benchmark for athletes but he also inspires men’s wardrobe choices around the world. Beckham won our twitter poll of the most stylish sports icon of all time with over 60% of the vote. Truly an icon!
6. Dwayne Wade
The 6ft4 basketball pro is known for his prowess on the basketball court but asides that Wade has been featured in a number of magazine articles and publications. In 2005, he was featured on People’s 50 Most Beautiful People,and in 2006 he was named the NBA’s best-dressed player by GQ Magazine.In 2007, Esquire named him to their 4th annual Best Dressed Men in the World list for the second straight year. Wade also has his own line of shoes with Converse named “The Wade”, a collaboration with socks brand Stance, a watch with Hublot and a range with underwear brand Naked. He is truly a boss, while his celebrity wife, Gabrielle Unions, remains the boss lady.
7. Laila Ali
Ali is well known as a four-time undefeated world champion boxer (and the daughter of legendary boxer, Muhammad) but the 39-year-old has also made strides in fashion. Ali’s approach to dressing is timeless and a sublime mix of her beauty and strength. Outside of the ring, she’s served as a model on the NYFW runway and was tapped as a guest host for E! Fashion Police. She has also created her own line of styling tools and hair care products and her role as a TV personality allows her edgy but sophisticated looks to shine through regularly.
Honorable mentions: Mikel Obi, Odell Beckham jnr, Tom Brady, Roger Ferderer, Venus Williams, and Russell Wilson.