What was not on my Bingo card this week: A digital dive into the styles of Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs tight end and person who is confirmed to know Taylor Swift.
When Kelce and Swift were, now famously, photographed leaving the Kansas City vs. Chicago game on Sunday, the former was seen in a watercolor print denim jacket and trousers by KidSuper. That label’s head, Colm Dillane, swiftly (!) renamed the pieces by adding the number “1989” to their product descriptions (1989 is Kelce and Swift’s birth years, and the title of one of the latter’s hyper-popular albums).
Both pieces are now very, very sold out on KidSuper’s site. Kelce got some flack for the ’fit, as people who are in high profile positions often do for, simply, wearing anything at all. Perhaps this is more true of someone associated with Swift, whose gravity is especially powerful. But regardless of the celebrity riptide around the duo’s association, I think the flack was undeserved. Kelce’s style, for some time now, has been pretty loud and fun. He seems to lean into motifs that are graphic, energetic and outgoing. This feels fitting for a guy who is often vibing and dancing in the end zone.
See, for instance, a starred Gucci shirt he wore in Los Angeles to a party thrown by Michael Rubin. Or swishy Amiri trousers in transit. Or a Jacquemus artisanal print top on a tarmac somewhere. They’re confident, look-at-me pieces, but he genuinely appears to enjoy the aesthetic. And when he’s not splashy, he still incorporates an element of humor and fun apparent–see, in one case, the double-breasted Dior suit he wore on SNL, with mock hanging sleeves at the waist closure.
Kelce has been vocal about male athletes embracing the sartorial. He has told the media that more and more of his colleagues are embracing a sense of being “fashion forward.” Tunnel fits—the outfits worn by players during arrivals at games—have become hugely popular and poured over (this is a whole other, deeper story). Yet there is still some outdated criticism. The NBA’s Tyler Herro, who plays for the Miami Heat, is known for his unique style. In late May this year, the TNT network commentator Stan Van Gundy said, on air, “You know the number one reason the Heat need Tyler Herro back? Because his fashion is so bad on the bench.” (Herro has been injured).
It’s not that serious, but I think the more style on show, the better. It doesn’t have to be your style. If Kelce wants to remain in his fun fashion era, let him—and enjoy the spectacle. Judging by the buzz generated by the Taylor Swift meet-up, and the threads he wore for it, they’re all having the last laugh anyway.