The University of Alabama produces some of the most talented athletes in the world. It also produces some of the most fashionable athletes, including 2020 Heisman Trophy holder DeVonta Smith.
Let’s start with his outfit for the Heisman ceremony. Not everyone can pull off a velvet tuxedo. For comparison, Mac Jones wore a traditional blue suit with a red tie to the Heisman ceremony. The blue suit was nice, but it conveys tradition. Jones is talented, and his style communicates that he is part of the legacy of the team rather than a standout star.
There’s nothing wrong with a traditional suit or tuxedo, but Smith’s wardrobe is a reflection of him. Everything Smith does is about excellence, and style is no exception.
Next on the docket is the plaid number he wore for the 2021 NFL Draft. Over time, Smith has been bolder and more memorable with his suits. His Heisman tuxedo was stylish, but subtle. His draft suit, like his talent, made him stand out.
Smith won an ESPY this year for “Best College Athlete, Men’s Sports.” He wore a light yellow suit with a black bowtie to the event. As a form of expression, his fashion sense matches his energy on the field. It’s striking, it’s different and it’s unforgettable.
It’s easy for athletes to get lost in the shuffle. But style is a way to reclaim some of the individuality that’s lost to a team.
His style, compared to other athletes, shows a clear pattern. He upstages his contemporaries, even his own teammates. But Smith’s wardrobe doesn’t mean he isn’t a team player. It just means that he claims his personhood outside of his outstanding athleticism.
Without individuality, athletes can struggle to adjust to life after sports — or outside of sports while they are still playing. Maintaining individuality, even in small ways, supports the development of a healthy identity. Other athletes should take notes from Smith.
If there is a lesson to be taken from Smith’s wardrobe, it’s that fashion is a form of self-expression, and the impression one makes with their clothes can be almost as impactful as the impression made by their actions. Style is a way to claim your identity in a healthy and constructive manner, so if you want to wear a canary yellow suit, go for it.