The Style of Michael Jordan: A Sartorial Slam Dunk
When one thinks of Michael Jordan, they think of GOAT status; the Chicago Bulls championship-winning dynasty; the temperament of a champion; Air Jordan and the billions of dollars in revenue it has generated; of the cult classic movie, Space Jam, and; of smoking cigars on the golf course. What they don't think of, though, is a sartorial style icon.
This opinion may not be popular nor widely held; however, it's true on one basis; that style has nothing to do with fashion. Yves Saint Laurent said it best; "fashions fade, style is eternal". And herein lies the brilliance of Michael Jordan's style - not once has he pandered to popularity - he has, even from a young age, remained unapologetically true to his own stylistic ideals.
Perhaps the most defining feature of Jordan's sartorial style is his signature oversized silhouette. His jackets were cut wider on the shoulder, fuller in the sleeve, chest and body, and longer in length. His trousers - although tailored to fit perfectly around the waist - were invariably double pleated to provide fullness from the thigh down, and, similar to the jacket, they were cut longer to break over the shoe. The oversized silhouette, though, is not merely for fashion, but function.
The essence of tailoring is to flatter the figure and enhance the masculine form. Meaning; tailoring should not merely contour the body, but rather, create the illusion of perfect proportions. It is in this regard that Michael Jordan's sartorial style excels. Jordan is a lean, lanky, and tall figure, and his clothing is cut to disguise this. The fullness of his clothes adds breadth to his figure - particularly in the upper body - while the extra length of the jacket and trousers is such that it makes him appear slightly shorter.
"I'm a suit guy," said Jordan, according to GQ. "I have anywhere from 100 to 150". He saw himself as a skinny "petite-type person" and hid under "fabrics that drape." Jordan said; "I've always thought my feet were big. Baggy pants make your feet look smaller."
Most of Jordan's suits - certainly those from the Chicago Bulls heyday were cut by Chicago-based tailor, Alfonso Burdi, while a number of his shirts were reportedly tailored by Bolognese artisans, Marol, by way of the Bijan atelier in Los Angeles. To this day, the sartorial merit of such garments remains, as does his signature style, which proves that style transcends time and outlasts fashion.