Who wouldn’t want to be LeBron James? Last summer, the basketball superstar signed a $46.9 million contract to stay in Cleveland another two years, and had a chance to show off his comedic skills in the Amy Schumer-Judd Apatow film Trainwreck. Oh, and to top it all off, he’s one of GQ’s “20 Most Stylish Men Alive 2015.” His secret? An effortless mix of suits, tees, and athletic gear. And while he may not be the only guy staying sharp by taking the classic suit casual, like everything else James does, he does it best.
So yes, he’s about as much of a superhero as we mortals will probably ever see. But while there aren’t many of us who can match James in, well, anything, we can follow his lead and take a few pages from his style playbook. Find a suit that fits you like a glove, or build your own modern version using a few of James’ go-to’s, which include sneakers, joggers, and casual tees. You can even add a few of James’ essentials to a suit you already have; pair one of your suit jackets with the joggers, don a tee underneath it, or pair your already-owned, perfectly-tailored suit with some stylish sneakers.
Like his on-court game, James is serious about suit fit. Talking with GQ, he explains:
“I like to feel comfortable in my clothes. I like to have my suits fit and when I start, I think it’s like a painter looking at a fresh canvas. My casual clothes fit just a tad differently, but they still fit my physique and stature. And I’m very fortunate to have my own apparel line custom-designed to my likeness.”
Since we’re probably not going to have our own clothing lines anytime soon, it’s important to take the superstar’s advice on finding the right fit. Don’t be afraid to go for a trim fit, the last thing you want is to be swimming in fabric. Check out this blue wool and mohair blend suit by Richard James. Or if you’re on a budget, take a look at Hugo Boss’ basic navy suit, which offers a similar look for a lot less. Just remember, the difference between a suit and a great suit at any price is a tailor. A good one can make any suit look like it was made for you for about the price of a nice dinner out.
With the right suit, anyone can look like a baller. But to keep it from getting too formal, James knows to shake it up a little with a great pair of sneakers. The best way to nail it is with shoes approved by the man himself — the LeBron 12 Lifestyles by Nike. But if you want to keep it really old-school, a pair of clean white Adidas Stan Smiths will go with anything.
If you think you need a dress shirt to pull off a suit, think again. James wears most of his with a t-shirt underneath, keeping it casual while still looking like the most put together guy in the room – or arena. Keep it simple with this black Soft-Wash Vee from Banana Republic, or if you’re feeling bold, a camo tee can make you really stand out.
Sweatpants have always been a staple of an athlete’s wardrobe, but over the past few years, they’ve evolved enough to make it out of the gym and into high fashion. With a fitted pair like these ones from Nike, you can wear them with a suit jacket and sneakers and still be the best dressed guy in the room.
With a .488 field goal percentage last year, and 25.3 points per game, James probably doesn’t have anything wrong with his eyesight. But when he wants to look really sharp, he tops everything off with a pair of thick, mid-century cool frames. With the right pair of specs, like these Shuron Freeways, you’ll have the perfect combination of on-court genius and old-school pro.
Off the court, James is a big hat guy. Class up a t-shirt and joggers with an old-school fedora, like the Bobby Fedora by Albertus Swanepoel. For a more relaxed look, go with an old-school Cavs snapback by ’47 Brand. For an extra James’ element, try to have the color of your hat compliment the colors of your kicks.
James knows that a good watch shows that you mean business no matter what the occasion. For a big man, the dude prefers a big dial, like the Shinola Runwell Stainless Steel And Leather Watch. Or if you’ve got a budget closer to the basketball player’s, you could always go for the Ralph Lauren RL67 Safari Chronograph. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to wait until our next two-year $46.9 mil contract comes along.