Move over the Hollywood awards ceremonies: The highlight of menswear this year was the NFL red carpet on Thursday night. Las Vegas had no shortage of brightly colored costumes, cool kicks, and so much bling.
With no real fashion crimes to speak of, the only peccadilloes were the athletes playing it safe at an event that is now known almost as much for surprise costume liners as it is for the hope that these eye-catching athletes brilliant will bring to their teams.
Yet in fashion, as in the NFL itself, there are winners and then everyone else. Here are some of our favorites and the ones we liked less
The winner? Color, color, color
Honestly, what a breath of fresh air to see men having fun with a color other than black.
But it was former Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, drafted by the New York Jets with the fourth overall pick, who outdid himself in that category. His powder blue suit with navy stitching was topped only by the inner lining, which appeared to feature images of Gardner’s own face in a video uploaded by Cincinnati.
Gardner’s accessories included not one, but two diamond-encrusted necklaces that paid homage to her nickname and some grillz. Shoes? Spiked and with a metallic sheen, obviously.
While Georgia Linebacker Nakobe Dean may not have been drafted Thursday, make no mistake, he was one of the best dressed. All blushing all was the theme of her attire. White Alexander McQueen sneakers with a blush accent on the back completed her blush costume.
But the devil is in the details. Dean embellished his costume with a white harness. Why? Because, of course.
“Nobody was really doing the harness, so I thought, I’ll give it a try,” he told a reporter. It worked.
Dean said a dark caramel-colored wide-brimmed hat with a band of blush “put an exclamation mark on the costume.”
To top it all off, his costume opened to a liner that had #WBTG sewn inside for “will be the greatest”.
Players like Jameson Williams, the Alabama wide receiver drafted by the Detroit Lions, haven’t fallen behind.
Williams made a bold statement with a handpicked red suit complemented by a crisp white shirt, white sneakers with red trim and a diamond necklace with a dollar sign emblem.
“I chose white for [my parents] because it was a party,” he told a reporter. “But red is just my favorite color.”
A father, we love to see him.
Finally, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, who went to the Jets, ditched yesterday’s drab gray suit for a Prada gray and white color block number. He paired his modern outfit with three pearl necklaces and black military-style boots.
A night for accent colors, risks and patterns
Listen, in this informal red carpet review, we’ll be rewarding the risk takers and the Eagles. Fashion is subjective and we (that’s just me) see the world through Kelly Green colored glasses.
That said, one of the more controversial suits was worn by Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, and now Eagle with the 13th pick in the draft.
One netizen said his black suit with red angular stripes made Davis look like a bottle of GH Mumm champagne, another said he looked like a Red Stripe bottle. And while those are objectively fair comparisons, the costume, along with the matching red bow tie and pocket square, drives me on. Moreover, he has already said he would be happy to change it to green. Go birds!
Ikem “Ickey” Ekwnu’s white suit with white floral details that could be missed from afar was also rather polarizing without context. Mainly, people weren’t quite sure what to make of the green and white striped accents along the lapel and sleeves. No, he wasn’t going to the Jets as some had claimed, the suit was a nod to his Nigerian ancestry. He added a channel that bore his nickname. No notes.
Don’t get me wrong, Kayvon Thibodeaux, the top runner from Oregon, almost wore your black Dolce and Gabbana suit and bow tie with shiny “straight from Italy” dress shoes. But some ruby stones put the now New York giant above the pack.
New York Jet Jermaine Johnson said he didn’t have a “linear journey” to the NFL and he made sure to capture that when making his costume with Tom Marchitelli, creator of Gentleman’s Playbookwhose designs have been worn by athletes in the NFL and beyond.
The silky yellow jacket with a black floral pattern had the logos of his high school team, his junior college team, Georgia, and his last stop, Florida State, sewn inside.
The look was styled with a black shirt, pants and velvet loafers.
We are not angry, just disappointed
These costumes are by no means bad and in some cases even better than so many celebrities. But with so many of their peers stepping it up, we would have liked more pizzazz from these players and others.
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was dressed in a patterned silky black suit that made him look like a crooner set to take up a Vegas residency singing Sinatra’s greatest hits before heading to the Detroit Lions. (He included dog tags that paid homage to his grandfather and we loved that.)
A similar criticism can be leveled at Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon, who remains in the Green Room, opted for a patterned gray blazer with a silky black lapel reminiscent of a bygone era.
And while Notre Dame security Kyle Hamiton looked amazing in his blue striped suit, he could also be mistaken for a hedge fund guy about to shut down what we’re sure would be very important before heading to the Baltimore Ravens.
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