Jewel Loyd’s perfect size hotel bed rug made by Jewell Loyd. Black pants, charcoal pants, striped shorts, a long white jacket that looks like a high-fashion lab coat next to a light gray zip-up. A short-sleeved white button down top decorated with red poppy flowers screams in the middle.
“What are we feeling?” Sydney stylist asks Bordonaro Loyd.
On any given day, WNBA players can offer a wide range of answers to the simple question. They are feeling cozy. Sometimes swaggy. Other times sexy.
Loyd is a “summer mafia” looking at herself in the mirror dressed in black pinstripe trousers, the hesitantly grown floral red shirt and low-top sneakers Dior x Air Jordan 1 retail on more than $ 8,000. She only wore them once, but this outfit is for a special occasion: WNBA All-Star Game.
The Seattle guard walked the orange carpet in their precious sneakers Friday as the WNBA gathered in Chicago for an All-Star weekend. The brightest stars in the series showed their best looks. All-star team captain A’ja Wilson was stunned by black leather shorts and high butt boots. Candace Parker welcomed the mid-season departure to her hometown, and donned an olive green silk suit.
Gone are the stuffy pants suit or simple blouse and pencil skirt gone. For a series that pushed a traditional feminine and diverse image in its early years, the WNBA has embraced androgynous fashion and streetwear as well as gowns, miniskirts and heels.
Simply put: “Flight is a flight,” Bordonaro said.
The change has brought the WNBA to the top of fashion-informed social media feeds “like day and night,” Seattle point guard Sue Bird said.
The 21 – year – old veteran, who retires at the end of the season, recalled a “limited” dress code that was removed from the NBA almost verbatim when the top men’s league wanted to replace streetwear with a suit. Like strict NBA guidelines, WNBA players are discouraged from wearing T-shirts and jeans. The league wanted collared or button-down shirts, despite the women playing in the summer.
Despite the restrictive dress code, NBA players have turned the tunnel into a high – fashion runway in recent years and the dress code has been relaxed. The phenomenon went down to the WNBA, where social media teams take photos of players coming in with everything from vibrant blazers and wide leg pants to denim cut and high boots. The photos earn as much social media attention as the highlights of games.
The main fashion rule for WNBA players now is hats or bandanas on the sidelines. Everything else is a fair game.
“That’s how it should be,” Loyd, an All-Star, said four times. “Everyone should be able to be comfortable in their own body, comfortable with what they wear and not have to explain themselves.”
Popular social media feeds like League Fits, Protrending or GQ Sports highlight WNBA players walking into games wearing ensembles that range from masculine to feminine or casual to dress. The same night the Connecticut Sun guard Dijonai Carrington walked into a spot wearing bright pink shorts and a matching top jacket over a yellow bikini top with strappy sandals, partner Courtney Williams followed with an oversized lime green leopard print shirt with matching sneakers and black pants. . Players can also use the spotlight to advocate on social issues such as wearing “We Are BG” T-shirts in support of Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner or flipping “Vote Warnock” shirts from the U.S. Senate in 2020.
Celebrating the diversity of the series through fashion is “a low part of being a role model,” Bird said. “[It’s] showing different parts of yourself so that small children can see that and maybe see themselves in someone. ”
Bird, earned the first All-Drip team from Slam Magazine’s League Fits in 2019, she raised her tunnel game this year by working with stylist Courtney Mays, the fashion master behind NBA players Chris Paul, Kevin Love and DeAndre Jordan. The WNBA stylists are a mix of fashion gurus, personal shoppers and psychologists.
Before any clothes come in, stylists study the client’s personality. Are they bold enough for bright colors? What about cutting the sleeves off a shirt? Kesha McLeod, whose client list includes Parker, Serena Williams, James Harden and PJ Tucker, even went so far as to notice a former client who never looked at the top shelf of her closet, telling the stylist that it was focused on lasers. Dresser wanted a fuss-free outfit that wouldn’t take time off from focusing on her sport.
“You get into their minds and you understand them,” said McLeod, who put on a Parker orange carpet look that had a unique cut out on the back of the jacket. “I do not remove them from their element because it is what they are known to play. I raise that with fashion. ”
Chanel Robinson-Hill immediately clicked with Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale after the dominant All-Star Game player dominated the part-time stylist and full-time bioprocessing engineer on Instagram. Robinson-Hill wore Ogunbowale style from her high school jersey retirement ceremony last year. To capture the time, Robinson-Hill chose hoods with an iconic 1991 photo of Michael Jordan pulling the Larry O’Brien Trophy after winning his first NBA championship, a nod to Ogunbowale who won his first Wisconsin Division I state title. high school.
“When wearing this piece, I want everyone to understand this as you felt without saying a word,” said Robinson-Hill, who donned Ogunbowale in a light two – piece outfit for Friday’s orange carpet event .
Robinson-Hill scours the internet to find unique pieces for Ogunbowale. With players traveling almost non-stop, working with a stylist makes life simpler for professional blinders who are both fashion and time savvy.
Loyd did not like shopping and often bought online, but when there was something that did not suit him, she did not have time to return it. Bordonaro takes care of it all now.
The LA-based stylist who works with players from Seattle to New York searches for pieces online and in person, gets them shipped to his client’s homes, delivers them manually as they blow through LA on tour road or even overnight packages differently. hotels and players on the road. To complete the Las Vegas Aces guard All-Star outfit Kelsey Plum, Bordonaro drove to Las Vegas with a full stock of clothing and spent the day with the full No. 1 pick. beige pants.
Plum, who is very popular on League Fits and GQ Sports this year, said she naturally lacks style, but wants to “come up with a little more oomph.” She enlisted Bordonaro, whom she met three friends.
“Plum’s personality is right through the roof, but she’s never worn one,” Bordonaro said. “So it’s like, okay, let’s dress just the way you feel.”
Plum is spunky, but structured. She wants everything neat and clean-cut. Although they have grown close, Bordonaro and Plum sometimes disagree about dressing. The 25-year-old stylist who often wears her long blonde hair in buns on top of her head loves bright colors. Plum would live in all black if she could. She hates pink.
But after a light-hearted argument, Plum introduced an obscure pink wallet last month to complement a loose-fitting black suit, gray John Geiger T-shirt and white sneakers. He liked the internet.
“I never thought I would say this,” Plum said, “but you feel good, you play well.”
That’s exactly what Plum has done, earning her first All – Star appearance and averaging 19.9 points, 5.7 assists and 2.7 replays, all career highlights.
Bordonaro, who started with Loyd, a longtime personal friend, and now works with players including New York Liberals teammates Michaela Onyenwere and DiDi Richards and rookie Sparks Rae Burrell, never intended to get started. A stylized empire. The Pittsburgh family aspired to work in marketing and become a sports agent after earning a master’s degree in sports management from Long Beach State. But style athletes have shown her that it can be a one-stop resource for fashion, marketing and branding. She hopes to open Plum yards, along with a guard bloom play, make her one of the most popular professional athletes in the world.
“Clothing is really a platform to show who they are, what they mean,” Bordonaro said, “and then expand into marketing.”
As its business grows, Bordonaro hopes to find more markets with brands to support its clients not only with a free product but with payment for social media posts. Sponsored jobs can earn thousands of dollars based on what an athlete follows online.
For female athletes who have long struggled to attract sponsorships at the same rate as their male counterparts, social media is a direct line with brands. But it requires extra work.
“James [Harden]he wears it, he does not want to tear it up [on social media], he does not want to do anything and brands like, ‘Oh my God, I have to send him more,’ ”McLeod said. “For us, women in particular, we go the extra mile, and I think it’s also very important to set the blueprint for the next few years so that they don’t have to work as hard.”
Among the costumes that Bordonaro brought to Loyd’s hotel room at the JW Marriott in LA Live during their All – Star Game debut was a costume of characteristic items. After planning a Loyd All-Star suit, they opened the swag bag to find T-shirts from John Geiger, colorful shorts from Bristol Studios – tailored for Loyd to fit their generation – and sweat pants from Seattle – based Sky Blue. Loyd will not have to shop for the rest of the year.
Styxx’s oversized hoods caught Loyd’s eye. As Bordonaro began organizing the fashion tornado, she wondered what Loyd was trying to pack with her now and what could wait. The Seattle guard moved toward the heavy jersey.
She’s feeling that one.