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Kim Kee-hee: A style icon

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What sets Kee-hee apart, and what you can learn from him

JaneG. Photography / Sounders FC Digital
Jane Gershovich / Sounders FC

Kim Kee-Hee is a blessing, bestowed upon us by the gods and the roster construction limitations of the Chinese Super League. He’s consistently been one of the top CBs in the league since he became a starter last year, limiting opposing attacks with speed, physicality, and positioning, while breaking lines with his passing and unsettling defenses with marauding runs into the attack. He’s got one of the most sincere Instagram accounts on the team, a family that he clearly loves dearly, and he’s handsome as hell to boot. All that, and he still doesn’t get the praise or attention that he deserves.

As if that weren’t all enough to make you love the man, he’s also a phenomenal dresser. Kee-Hee’s style has been a topic of conversation among the fan base from the beginning of his time in Seattle, as documented on this very website. While the sweatshirt that first won our hearts hasn’t made a return appearance, his style has yet to disappoint. Whether it’s the deep wine-colored sweater and Gucci sneakers from his outfit on opening day this season, or any of the looks that accompanied Ari Liljenwall’s recent piece on him, there’s just something cool about the way Kim dresses.

Charis Wilson / Sounders FC Digital

Kim’s style is great without necessarily being flashy. He may wear expensive, designer labels, but the looks are still somehow approachable and accessible. The outfits that he puts together are not only the sorts of things that anyone could wear or take inspiration from, they’re also usually composed of pieces that you could easily get affordable versions of, or things that you might already have in your closet; be they a cozy sweater or sweatshirt in a bold color with a cool tan pant, a flannel shirt/shirt jacket over a color-coordinated shirt, or a nautical stripe and a cardigan, any of them paired with a cool sneaker.

What sets the CB’s style apart is also one of the things that likely makes him such a wonderful player: his attention to detail. As they say, the devil’s in the details, and he’s always depicted as being a sharp dresser. The colors that Kim tends to choose are an important factor. He utilizes color somewhat sparingly, opting generally for more neutral colors, but when he strays from that he does so with gusto. Take that opening day sweater, for example: I’m sure that it comes in black or grey, or at least a comparable one does, but Kim chose a deep, wine-y red. It’s a color that stands out for its warmth and richness, not needing to be bright to grab attention.

JaneG. Photography / Sounders FC Digital

Here we see an outfit dominated by grey and black, but the lines of blue in the plaid add a brightness that makes the the other colors crisper. It’s a jolt of color that livens up the outfit and serves to heighten the contrast between the black mock-neck, the gray of the flannel, and his charcoal khakis.

Color isn’t the only area where Kim knows how and when to flex, as he’s a master of creating interest through use of proportion. He’s got the good fortune of being a tall, athletic person who doesn’t have to worry about looking short or wide because how something fits, and he knows it. Those olive cords aren’t the only cool detail from that particular outfit. Look at how the cuffs on his sleeves are flipped up, and the way that black mock-turtleneck hits at the same spot on his neck as the collar of his flannel. They’re small touches, but they really add a bit of character and individuality to what could easily be a boring look. The cut of his khakis from opening day could be intimidating for some, being both wider and shorter than many would dare to wear them, but he knows about fashion, sweetie, and those khakis are fashion.

We can’t all wear the exact same clothes as Kim Kee-Hee — they’re his clothes, it would be weird — but by taking a closer look at what he wears and how he wears it, we can all take some inspiration from him, and maybe dress a little bit more like him.