As the WNBA grows in popularity, so does the players’ fashion game, with many athletes becoming famous for their pregame looks.
Ari Chambers, the founder of women’s sports platform HighlightHER, stopped by the NETLIFE podcast this week to talk women’s basketball with South Carolina head coach and host Dawn Staley, including the WNBA’s elevated style.
The league took a big step toward cementing its place in the fashion landscape when it dropped the iconic orange hoodie, which Sports Business Journal named the Best Fashion Statement of 2020. Chambers attributes the popularity of the sweatshirt to its simplicity and the centering of the league’s logo.
“Orange is a disruptive color,” she says. “People are drawn to it.”
Chambers also credits NBA players and other cultural figures for popularizing the look.
“We see Kobe [Bryant] on the sidelines with Gigi [Bryant] rocking it and it makes it instantly cool,” Chambers says. “We had so long begged for merch, and when we finally got one, it was a cool piece.”
1 year ago today, Kobe Bryant took my little WNBA orange hoodie campaign to new heights. Never in a million years did I think when I handed it to him 2 months prior that he would actually rock it, but he did and the rest was history... 🧡🧡🧡 pic.twitter.com/yhh1PPu61j— 𝔼𝕓. (@EbtheCeleb) December 29, 2020
1 year ago today, Kobe Bryant took my little WNBA orange hoodie campaign to new heights. Never in a million years did I think when I handed it to him 2 months prior that he would actually rock it, but he did and the rest was history... 🧡🧡🧡 pic.twitter.com/yhh1PPu61j
With their pregame outfits, WNBA players have also helped put the league on the style map.
“They’re fly. I am glad we have photographers in the tunnel now,” Chambers says. “It brings more pride to the game because you see players getting dressed, being more intentional behind their fits and rising to the top.”
Chambers shouts out Diamond DeShields, calling her style impeccable, and Staley and Chambers both shower praise on A’ja Wilson’s now-famous jersey dresses.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by A'ja Wilson (@aja22wilson)
A post shared by A'ja Wilson (@aja22wilson)
Staley says her personal favorite look was the Gamecocks outfit Kelsey Plum wore to a Las Vegas Aces game after losing a bet with Wilson. Duke alum Chelsea Gray will be subjected to the same bet this year, according to Staley.
“I am going to do the honors and pick her outfit out and send it to A’ja to give to her,” Staley says.
For more on the WNBA’s fashion evolution and cultural influence, listen to the latest episode of NETLIFE for the full conversation between Chambers and Staley.