MLS Cup is no time to take a whole new approach. It’s a time to embrace your strengths, to take the things that got you there and elevate them for the occasion. That’s exactly what Cristian Roldan (pictured above) did on Sunday. A man whose commitment to printed and patterned shirts is the kind of devotion that we all look for in our relationships, Cristian took it up several levels with this striped number. I’m…in love with this fit. If you had told me that he was going to pull up in a black shirt with rainbow chevrons, I would have slapped you out of excitement, but I wouldn’t have believed you. He did, and it was glorious. The camp shirt collar is a great detail, and works really well for him. The shirt isn’t the only thing that’s working here, though. I’ve made my fondness for a camel topcoat well known in this column, and this one is no exception. The lapels are a little smaller than you might expect to find on a coat like this one, but the proportions work really well. The shoulders fit perfectly, which is great, but it doesn’t leave much room for layering underneath the jacket, making it a poor choice if the weather takes a turn, but it’s perfect when it’s still pretty dry and only a little chilly. It’s a great look from a great player.
Gustav Svensson is a prince, nay, a king. He is an emissary of the gods. He is…super thicc. The Goose has a workman-like chicness, he’s working in a tonal blue palette, and it’s perfect. This is a look that might go unappreciated by some, but that seems to be where he excels. Whether he’s going unheralded as one of the most consistent and influential midfielders in the league, making profoundly dry and sarcastic jokes that fly over people’s heads, or pulling off a perfectly balanced Fall look, our Goose is always flying under the radar. No more, though. These pants and jacket are a perfect dark base, close to the same color but different enough to work in this mix of blues. The denim-y blue washed cotton shirt looks comfortable and brings a brightness that makes the whole outfit sing. That’s a man who is clearly about his business. As an added bonus, his Louis Vuitton bag matches Stefan Frei’s LV accessories, and the two of them look great together here.
Stefan Frei, for his part, has taken a very different approach. You know that Stef is the best goalkeeper in the league, that he’s a remarkably talented artist, a loving husband, and a devoted dog father, but did you also know that he’s a skilled bartender who makes his own shrubs and extracts and has a fondness for vintage tiki glasses and Japanese whiskeys? Because that’s what this outfit just told me. Jokes aside, this is a solid look. The vest fits well, and it hits perfectly at his waist. The pants are pretty skinny, maybe a little tighter than I’d wear them, and bleach spots aren’t my preferred style of distressing, but it’s clearly his style and I ride for Frei, so it works. I like the way that he’s worked grey and blue together in this look, with the blue having a grey tint to it, and the vest living in a place where it’s honestly tough to tell whether it’s actually blue or grey. Stef jumped out early in the accessory game when he busted out this LV duffle on an away trip at the beginning of the year, and has only gone up from there. It’s an outrageous flex to rock that bag with the matching belt. Goddess bless Stefan Frei.
Xavier Arreaga hasn’t made as many appearances in this column as I might have expected when he first appeared on the scene. I’m glad that he got to be a part of this Champions Column. I love a nautical stripe, it’s extremely my jam. No joke, I’m wearing a nautical stripe tee as I’m writing this. I really dig the proportion of the stripes here, there nice and thick, and the spacing is a little wider than you usually see which makes the stripes pop and the shirt stand out even more. The wash and fit of the denim is nice, and the dopp kit he’s got here looks pretty good to me. There’s not a ton going on, but it’s all done well, and it bears the great promise that Xavier himself does.
Jordy Delem has seemingly come out of nowhere this year to firmly plant himself in the Sounders midfield. He’s been a steady and excellent presence whenever called upon, and has been more than ready for the occasion when the cameras have found him as he arrives at the stadium. This look isn’t quite on the same level as the last one we saw from him, but it’s still strong. If you’re starting with a clean white shirt and a point-tipped bowtie, you’re really going to have to try to screw things up. I like the choice to go for the shawl-collar cardigan rather than a jacket or a different style of sweater. The fit through the chest and torso is really nice, but the shoulders look a touch big and the sleeves are a little long. The khakis work well with the look, and rocking what look like another pair of Louboutin sneakers adds the perfect little flash to a fun take on a pretty classic look.
Raul Ruidiaz is just a cool looking dude. It helps that the way he dresses is usually cool, but I feel like he could wear anything and make it look cool. He loves his athletic wear, and Adidas makes sure that he’s always got as much as he could possibly need. The hoodie’s a cool Adidas Tango piece with a galaxy print in the Tango logo. I’m not sure what the pants are, but I’ve never been able to find sweats or track pants that fit like this. The cropped look works for me, especially in this fit, as they help to facilitate the alternating splashes of white among the black. Naturally, as a guy with a ton of style and an Adidas sponsorship, Raul finishes the whole thing off with an all-white pair of Adidas NMDs. He’s got his black chain on again, and matched his watch and the hoop in his right ear to the chain. The asymmetrical earring pairing is rad, with the hoop in one ear and the dangling cross in the other.
Nico Lodeiro looks like a stone-cold assassin. We’ve seen this beanie from Lodeiro before, and matching the color and texture with this black knit turtleneck is an expert move. Grey denim is sort of Nico’s thing at this point, and it works well in this fit. The watch is almost matched to the denim, which is a nice little touch. The shoes are cool, they have a sort of Doc Marten’s feel to them, which is perfect with the rest of the outfit. The proportions are all mixed well, the black pieces are all a little chunky, while the grey and silver pieces are a little slimmer.
Roman Torres is the human embodiment of the concept of flexing. He’s a marble statue brought to life through the magic of soccer. I swear that his muscles have muscles, and he’s not hesitant to show them off. I don’t know how many of the people reading this have had the experience of trying to get a pair of pants that are this tight on, but there’s almost zero chance that Torres got these jeans on with out having to lie on his back on his bed. Maybe he had someone hold them out and he jumped off a table into them or something, I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here. This shirt is exquisite. Floral prints are extremely my jam, and a black-and-white floral print is a perfect fit for the vibe of this look. Like Roldan, Torres went with a camp shirt, which is meant to be worn open, which is perfect if you’ve got a chest like that to show off. It fits perfectly, billowy and roomy, but still somehow showing off his arms and draping over his chest perfectly. The shirt also helps to show off Torres’s chains, which are just the beginning of his fantastic accessory game here. To go with the chains he’s got some nice big studs in his ears, a big ol’ watch, a couple bracelets, an anklet (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), a Salvatore Ferragamo belt, and some rings that look to be about the size of my fist. His shoes are kind of a lot, but they work with the rest of the look, mostly black but with more of the gold accents from the rest of the outfit.
Trailing behind those four are a few other guys, and while we can’t see much of them, I want to note some of what we can see. First is Trey Muse, who I’ve got to assume has been inducted into the back-up ‘keeper club by Bryan Meredith because every time we’ve seen him walking into a game he’s fully suited up. We can’t see any of the suit beyond his pants, but his topcoat is stellar. I don’t particularly care for the knot he’s using with his tie, but without being able to see it better I don’t want to make any real judgements. Next to Muse is Justin Dhillon, who’s rocking a solid parka. He’s got a nice big, presumably faux-fur-lined hood that is sure to cover his whole head in rain or snow. Ahead of those two is Emanuel Cecchini, who’s sporting a sweet leather moto jacket, slim dark denim, and some chunky-soled patent sneakers. Cecchini’s also got a nice little drink carrier for all of his mate gear. Maybe he can get Nico one for Christmas so that he doesn’t have to come in with his hands full next year.
Bryan Meredith is absolutely feeling himself here. Meredith clearly enjoys himself when he gets the opportunity to put a look together. Starting from the top with his signature piece, his fedora. This charcoal one is a great piece in the mix of this outfit. Unlike Cristian’s jacket, this double-breasted number on Meredith has some huge lapels. The jacket fits Meredith perfectly, with the seams hitting just at the peaks of his shoulders and the sleeves landing right at the break of his wrists. To make things even better, the jacket fits that well while still accommodating a nice black sweater. I can’t tell exactly what fabric the pants are made of, but I’m into the cropped look with a little bit of a wide fit below the knee. The loafers aren’t a piece that I think might work for a lot of people, but Meredith’s got the style and sense to pull them off. I love this big fit from Meredith.
Not every fashion trend goes fully mainstream, being adopted by folks of any level of style, and in every category, but the cropped pant look has achieved complete proliferation at this point. Whether it’s suit pants, sweats, denim, or any other type of pants, it’s not a surprise to see a good bit of ankle or sock, or the tops of a boot or sneaker exposed beneath them. Brad Smith is sporting a particularly strong cropped pant here, which perfectly shows off that those aren’t knock-offs that he’s wearing, they’re the real deal Balenciagas. To go with the black-and-white sneakers and his black pants it looks like Smith cranked the style up on this look by grabbing a black bomber in what looks like suede. It’s a luxurious version of a pretty common piece, and I love it. The tee he’s got on here is the same one that Jordan Morris wore recently, and I’d like to imagine that they both liked it and rather than each buying one they’re just sharing this one. If there is actually a Sounders closet swap going on here, I want to get in on it. As ever, Smith’s love for designer gear is on display with his Louis Vuitton bag, a sole departure from the black-and-white color scheme.
Take a moment to appreciate Cristian Roldan and this great outfit again. We can see a little more of the look in this picture, and I appreciate that he set the shirt and jacket off with what looks like a nice pair of black denim that’s cuffed to create that cropped look and a clean pair of white sneakers. Some times the key to a Big Fit is the balance of bold pieces and basics.
I’m pretty positive that we’ve seen each of these pieces from Jordan Morris before, but that doesn’t take anything away from the impact of them all put together like this. His eye for details, his ability to take a really good look and make it great by the inclusion of one twist or surprising piece has been the thing that’s impressed me the most about Jordan’s style over the course of this season. It would have been totally reasonable, and still an impressive look to throw on a black pair of shoes or boots to complete the all-black motif, but in the finale of an incredible year Jordan opted to splash some neon into this fit with these Air Force 1 Low Off-White Volts. I dig the way that Jordan’s started dressing to fit his body. He’s a big, strong dude, who almost looks like he could be DB for the Seahawks rather than on the wings for the Sounders. He certainly could dress a little more like Torres, draping light fabrics over his frame and accentuating his glorious muscles with sleeves that hug his biceps, but instead he’s wearing looser shirts and jackets that make him look even bigger. By making sure that the shoulders fit correctly the slightly over-sized pieces make him look jacked rather than looking like he’s trying to hide his frame. The cropped skinny jeans help to add to that impression. I’m always glad to see his chain come out to say hi, and I’m hopeful that he’ll get a chance in the off-season to use some of the performance incentive money that I’m sure he got to buy a friend for it.
Brian Schmetzer stays underrated in just about every aspect, but much like his gameplans, his outfits are always perfectly dialed-in. His belt and shoes are matched brown leather, the suit pants are slim but not skinny and just hit the tops of his shoes with no break. His tie is tied perfectly so that the widest point of the end of the tie sits just above his waist and the point of the tie extends to his belt, while the knot perfectly fills the spread of his collar. His suit jacket is worn open, and the team-issued rain jacket fits expertly over the suit and is a great length that hits mid-thigh. If you need an example of what a perfectly fitting, but not flashy suit looks like, he’s your template.
Part of the new Sounders ownership, Macklemore kicked the festivities off with a little show before the March to the Match, and I can’t help but take the opportunity to show some love for the fit he put together. Jewel tones and animal prints are a pretty standard Fall and Winter trend these days, but it’s not often you see that trend carried into men’s fashion. Macklemore doesn’t care, though, and the world is better for it. This emerald suit and leopard print shirt combo is exceptional, and he almost actively pandered to me by accessorizing with all that gold from his chain to his watch to his bracelet and ring. It’s a great look, and hopefully a little bit of inspiration for all of us to dress a little more boldly as the weather gets progressively drearier.
Greg Vanney is, by definition, a loser. He’s really trying to bite Gustav’s style with his hair, and maybe now that he lost he’ll throw that “lucky scarf” in the trash. The suit’s nice, it fits pretty well, and the touches of red are a nice little detail, but Vanney looks like a start-up CEO who buys weed and Adderall from the college kid who interned as his assistant two years ago and talks about encouraging creativity and freedom of expression at the all-hands meeting before issuing a memo about a new mandatory drug-testing policy for all employees and contract workers. I’m glad he lost.
That’s it for a few months on these game day fashion commentaries, but you’ll still be hearing from me during the off-season. What sort of fashion coverage would you like to see while we fill our time without games to watch and analyze? What was your favorite look from this season, and whose style has most impressed you? Was there a most improved dresser in your mind?