John Collins Will School You on Dressing Up

When your style is on point, getting dressed feels more like a sport than a chore. This is especially true for NBA player John Collins, who is competitive by nature and has years of experience dressing up thanks to his religious upbringing. For this 20-year-old, it isn’t just about who has the latest kicks, but who knows how a suit should fit—and is brave enough to wear one in a color other than black, gray, or navy. When it comes to those style skills, he’s really in a league of his own. Not many guys his age feel as comfortable in sweats as they do in tailoring, and even fewer focus on nailing the details like this Utah-born athlete does. Sports fans might be on team John Collins because of his crazy dunking skills, but he got our vote thanks to his crazy wardrobe skills. Here, we caught up with the forward for a chat on all things style. Follow along guys, you might learn a thing or two!

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Express: How would you describe your personal style?

John Collins: It kind of depends on my mood. Sometimes I wake up and I feel like I want to be comfortable. I might throw on some sweats. Other days, I’m feeling really pepped up, and I might throw on a dress shirt and a nice overcoat. Or I might feel more street and wear skinny jeans and some Jordans. It really all depends on the day.  

Whose style do you admire? Do you have any style role models?

Not really! I didn’t get into “style” until I got a little bit older. I went to a private Catholic school my whole life so it was a bit different for me because I was always in a uniform. Once I graduated I got to really branch out and wear what I wanted for the first time, which was weird.

Do you think that routine of wearing the same thing every day affects your style at all?

Yes, I mean, when I’m dressed up, that feels the most “normal” to me. And then when I branch out, it still has some novelty to it. It’s actually kind of cool. It allows me to have fun with both sides of my style.

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Is dressing up and having good style part of your job?

Yes, it’s your brand! Everyone has a camera on their phones now and what you’re wearing at any given point can get out there and affect the way people see you. I think if someone always looks good and takes pride in their appearance, that shows good character. I think now more than ever, especially as an NBA player, having a sense of style is important. It also helps brands like Express take notice of you!

Yes, even though you’re not in an industry where you have to wear a suit everyday, you still have to be just as considerate about what you put on.

Yes, it’s also a competition too! A couple of my teammates will show up in something cool and it makes me want to step up my game. Or, you’ll see someone else in the league looking good and it’ll make you think, “Oh man, I didn’t think he could pull that off.” Everyone is vying for Best Dressed; everyone thinks they’re the Best Dressed. It adds another layer of fun on top of it.

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What Express look or specific piece do you love from your shoots with us?

Surprisingly, I really liked the white dress shirt, dark jeans, and boots look the best. It was kind cowboy-ish and definitely something I’ve never tried before. It got me out of my comfort zone. In Florida, that’s not usually the style but I think I’ll add it to my repertoire. As for the suits, I mean, you can’t go wrong in those. You put them on and you just feel like a million bucks.

How do you tend to style yourself in a suit when you put one on?

I like to be a little bit loud with the color choices; I’m not afraid to branch out a little bit. I might wear a suit with Jordan 1s but otherwise, I’m just wearing dress shoes or loafers. I’m not one of the guys who wears a suit with every kind of sneaker.

What shoes did you wear in Catholic school?

We had to wear boat shoes pretty much all the time and that was a competition, too – to see who had the coolest shoes.  That’s definitely where I got my love of black shoes, because we were allowed to wear all black shoes as well.

Most guys your age probably aren’t as comfortable in bold-color suits and black dress shoes…

We also went to church every weekend growing up, and I got some practice there as well. When I was young, my mom obviously picked out my suits but now that I’m older and all that I get to express my style when I get dressed up a bit more.

As a suiting pro, do you have any pet peeves or advice for guys out there on how to not mess it up?

I would say just try to find a nice medium when it comes to size. You don’t want your suit to be extra baggy. At the same time, it’s not cool when your suit is way too tight and you can barely walk. Fit is more important than color or anything else. If you don’t nail that, the whole look is ruined. Make sure it fits, you can worry about the colors later.

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As a guy who is 6’10” I’m sure you’ve had some fit issues over the years…

Yes, I’ve been in situations where the suit I wanted to wear didn’t fit. And maybe the one that was less exciting did fit. You’ve got to be comfortable so I’d always go with the one that fit well over the one with the perfect color or style. My appreciation has grown for all of those little details while working with Express.

Are you wearing a suit to holiday parties? What’s your go-to look for a festive event?

I definitely go loud for a holiday party which means maybe a crazy Christmas sweater, maybe blue or black jeans, and some of my crazier sneakers. A red and green sneaker on each foot, just to be fun and festive. You’ve got to keep it fun.