Style Seminar: Russell Westbrook

While the Houston Rockets’ Russell Westbrook was incredibly inconsistent in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, his pre-game outfits have never failed to impress. When it comes to bold and flavourful ensembles, nobody else in the league can compare. As many mourn the Rockets’ second round playoff exit to the Los Angeles Lakers, The McGill Tribune celebrates Westbrook’s fearless fashion sense.

Mega-distressed sweater: 7/10

We’ve all got that sweater with a little rip at the cuff or a fraying hem, but Westbrook took distressed clothing to a new level with this shabby-chic look on Jan. 25, 2018. The giant slash across his chest does a good job of looking like he nearly escaped death at knifepoint while also highlighting his necklace. This outfit could have rocketed up to a perfect 10 if the sweater’s rips had been a little more extensive. As it is, the neatness of the sleeves combined with the ragged shoulders is more reminiscent of a targeted moth attack than a deliberate choice. Still, the overall effect is admirable.

Photographer vest: 10/10

The best fashion is fashion with a purpose, and this look from Westbrook certainly deserves that label. His white t-shirt and pants create a blank canvas on which he writes a subtle jab at star forward, amateur photographer, and ex-teammate Kevin Durant. Westbrook pointedly wore this outfit on Nov. 3, 2016 before his first game against Kevin Durant since Durant left Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors. Westbrook played it cool and denied any link between his ex-teammate and the outfit, but that didn’t stop him from becoming the talk of Twitter. If the next step in NBA rivalries is throwing shade through style, Westbrook is certainly ahead of the curve.

Bathrobe and sweats: 7.5/10

This outfit screams “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee.” While this was taken before an 8 p.m. game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Westbrook looks like he just rolled out of bed. His full-body grey sweats and Air Force 1s topped with a bathrobe may have you thinking Russell has given up on his high-fashion pursuits, but upon closer investigation, this ensemble costed over $1295 to put together. This outfit lost points for the out of place bandana-headband; it doesn’t add to the outfit and takes away from his bedhead look.

Personal protection equipment: 9/10

This outfit is perfect for those who need to get straight from the job site to the game. Westbrook wore this outfit on Feb. 9, 2019 before his victory against the Houston Rockets, making sure his arrival was in full compliance with OSHA workplace safety guidelines. The bright orange and yellow in tandem with his purposeful stride make for a vibrant and distinct outfit that’s sure to catch eyes. This look would have been a perfect 10 if he had not forgotten to wear his OSHA mandated steel-toed reflective sneakers. 

One quarter of a barbershop quartet: 10/10

This look has it all: A well-tailored suit, a funky pattern, and velvet shoes that tie everything together with a fun textured element. The boater hat—a staple of every barbershop quartet member’s look—adds a whimsical accessory and proves that Westbrook is not afraid to commit to a look. Details, like the pocket square, hit their mark perfectly in this outfit, making the statement look that much more memorable. The only thing missing from this is three teammates in matching outfits and a fun little musical number. 

Canadian tuxedo full-send: 5/10

This look gets most of its points for commitment. The jeans are just a little bit too wide at the bottom to be skinny, and a little too tight everywhere else to be a straight-leg cut. Sure, fashion can be revolutionary and should push boundaries, but inventing a new cut of jeans is downright unnecessary. The jeans and jacket being in the same shade of mid-wash denim also offers no optical rest for viewers of this outfit. Westbrook loses more points for the denim baseball cap as well; it’s just ugly. He does however, get an additional point for the jean Jordans, because those are cool. 

Thrift store mix and match: 8.5/10

This outfit makes Westbrook look like he’s walked right off of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” music video set. Sure to make any Eva B shopper jealous, the combination of bright colors and floral print create a retro summer look suited for anybody feeling colorful. The juxtaposition of suede shoes and a pink fur jacket adds a variety of textures to this outfit that make it versatile and adaptable to different weather conditions. The outfit, however, suffers from his fire-engine-red handbag that clashes with the subtle pastel colors that hold the rest of the look together.

Avant-garde cargo mess: 3/10

Every part of this outfit clashes with itself in an unpleasant way: The colour scheme, the proportions, the functionality. Westbrook’s pants appear to be equipped to carry at least five people’s school supplies and snacks, but seem unnecessarily cumbersome and clunky. It doesn’t help that his t-shirt is too long and covers up the top of his pants while also falling under his asymmetrical traffic-cone-orange jacket. This composition is not Russell’s finest work and we can only hope he doesn’t repeat his mistakes.

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