NASHVILLE – High fashion in professional sports is no longer optional; it’s expected. With the global reach of social media, players on all levels have become style icons and creative inspiration for fans and fellow athletes alike. Nashville SC is no exception to the fashion phenomenon and boasts some style connoisseurs of its own. If you ask around the club, the consensus is that Bolu Akinyode, Kharlton Belmar and Bradley Bourgeois are among the best dressed on the team. Add Alan Winn, Connor Sparrow and Daniel Ríos to the list to name a few and Nashville SC has one of the most on-trend rosters in the league.
All of these players incorporate personality into their matchday attire, showcasing their creativity and individuality. For Akinyode, he starts with the basics and builds from there.
“Personally, I’m simple,” Akinyode said. “It’s all the technique, the accessories, the little things that go with the pieces. I don’t wear outlandish colors, but watches, little chains, rings, things like that. That’s kind of been me and that’s how I model my fashion.”
Ahead of Wednesday’s match at First Tennessee Park, Akinyode rolled up in a tailored black suit, black skinny tie and loafers. Like he said, it’s simple. His overall vibe may show hints of influence and inspiration from other style icons, but for the most part, he’s the sole creative behind his looks.
“Honestly, I think Serge Ibaka is decent. He dresses pretty well,” he explained. “Like his style, but other than that, I do my own thing. You’ve got to look good and feel good, you know. You have an outfit in your head, you put it on, doesn’t look as good in the mirror, got to go back to the drawing board again. It’s about the feel and the look on that particular day, so I don’t like to pick outfits the day before. Just show up, look in the mirror, if it looks good, then I go with that one for that day.”
When asked who he thought was the best dressed on the team, other than himself of course…
“It’s a toss-up between [Kharlton] Belmar and Bradley [Bourgeios],” he said. “Those two are a close second to me. I think they’re a bit different, a little flashy. Belmar comes in with some different things that I probably personally wouldn’t wear, but he makes it look decent. Bradley [Bourgeios] loves flashy colors and all that stuff. It’s not my style, but it looks good on them. I can respect it.”
Like Akinyode, Belmar’s style is still straightforward. He adds a little more flash, but keeps his looks tailored and sticks to a specific color palette most of the time. Belmar built on those basics for a bolder look ahead of Wednesday’s match. A white-collared shirt, black tie and jacket were given a boost with windowpane checked pants and a designer backpack.
“I like to keep it pretty simple,” Belmar said. “Very monotoned. I only wear black, gray, white. Every now and then I’ll pop a flashy color in there, but not too often. Skinny jeans, long lines, that’s my type of thing. I’m a big Jerry Lorenzo fan, probably Russell Westbrook, Lebron [James]. The street wear game I’m a big fan of. I think the athlete-casual, laid back street wear swag. That’s my thing.”
Not only do matchday outfits make for great photos, but the mental aspect of dressing to impress can actually have an impact in performance on the field.
“It gives you confidence for sure,” said Akinyode. “There’s a little pep to your step, a little bit of swagger for sure.”
Here are some of our favorite looks from last week’s matches. Which is your favorite? Cast your vote below.
"A clean and fitted look with an urban streetwear twist to it.
I’m really big patterned pants wave right now and like trying something different every now and then."
"I describe my style as simple with a lot of small accessories. Simple is always better when it comes to style for me.
I don’t really have an inspiration for my style. It’s just kind of a matter of how I feel on game day."
"I see this style as is innovative and elegant.
It helps me feel confident and ready for the game."
"I’d say my style is somewhere between James Franco, A$AP Rocky and a suburban dad.
The inspiration was the looming fine had I not worn a jacket and tie."
"Clean with a touch a pizzaz.
I get my inspiration from a lot of different people and then put my own spin on things."
"I would describe my outfit as industrious. Modern, sleek and simple.
It was inspired by H&M."