Successful athletes are accustomed to wearing polyester jerseys and sweatpants on the court, but once the final buzzer rings, buttoned-up fashion is one element that sets sports superstars apart from the rest.
“People don’t associate sports with fashion, but if you’ve ever been in a locker room and worn something bad, you definitely hear about it. You never live it down,” former record-breaking NFL pro Michael Strahan told InStyle on Wednesday at the launch party of his new Collection by Michael Strahan for JCPenney line.
Dressed in a sleek suit with a colorful purple tie, the Live with Kelly and Michael co-host handsomely accessorized his look with pieces from the collection, which includes sharply tailored pants, crisp dress shirts, fitted belts, suspenders, colorful ties, coats, and blazers.
Inside the dimly lit venue, rows of statuesque models sported the Strahan-designed pieces, while guests like Usher (below), Taye Diggs, Hilaria Baldwin, Kevin Jonas, and Dascha Polanco walked between Johnny Walker–topped bars and past strategically coiffed shoe-polishing stations. Broadway favorite Diggs, a friend of Strahan’s, has mastered the art of pairing high and low pieces. “I’m wearing sneakers with a suit. There was a day when I would not have done that,” he told InStyle. “I’m starting to broaden my horizons when it comes to certain styles. … We’ll see what the future holds.”
And while all the pieces on display were for men, ladies were also in celebratory spirits. “There’s something very sexy and elegant and put together,” Baldwin said about men in suits. “I have a son who’s 3 months old and, of course, it’s so weird to put him in a suit now, but I’m so excited … in a couple of years he’s going to have such a nice little suit. I’m already planning it.”
Strahan later dished out key words of advice for gents looking to track down the perfect suit. “A suit is supposed to make you feel confident, give you some swagger,” he said. “That’s the most important thing for a guy to find a suit that fits right—that when you put it on it makes you feel like you’re the most powerful man walking in the room.”
Although Joe Jonas, as DJ for the event, successfully muffled much of the evening's conversation, Strahan did eloquently discuss his new gig and shared that his involvement in the design process included everything from choosing the fabrics used, the logo, and thickness of the lapels. “If you’re not going to have a passion for it, it’s not worth it,” he said.
So did Strahan turn to Kelly Ripa, his Live with co-host, for fashion inspiration? “I don’t wear dresses or heels, so it’s very hard for me to turn to her,” he jokingly said. And while the blonde funny lady may have been across town for her daughter’s parent night, the two are planning a tie-donning moment. “She was the first person to call and she said, ‘Michael, I want to get a suit in a certain make just the same as you’re wearing because I want us to go as twins,’ which would have been incredible,” he admitted. “We have to do it. I’m still going to make it happen.”
Visit jcpenney.com to shop Strahan's new collection.