The sweat, the exertion, the grimacing through the pain – you wouldn’t think sport and fashion were natural bedfellows. But there are some men who can look good in lycra and designer suits. And we salute them.
Stylish Athlete #1 Roger Federer
The 33-year-old tennis ace is currently ranked at number two in the world and, with career earnings of almost £90million, he can afford the finer things in life. Over the years, he has perfected his style and comes across as clean-cut, sophisticated and classic.
He stands at just over six foot and weighs a lean and muscular 190lbs, making him a designer’s dream build.
Off the court, he is simplicity personified when choosing to wear a neutral palette of blacks, browns, blues and white. He enjoys the whole fashion whirlwind and in 2008 was famously spotted on the front row of the Marc Jacobs show in New York on the arm of US Vogue editor Anna Wintour. And she doesn’t sit next to just anyone. He says he loves to mix it up. He doesn’t have a stylist or take advice from designers but he can team Dior with Louis Vuitton and look smokin’.
Federer is an instantly recognizable global brand and advertisers have been quick to tap into his charisma to sell their wares. Nike, Mercedes, Gillette, Rolex and even Swiss chocolate have all benefited from his endorsement and he seems to revel in this aspect of his career.
His on court style comes under equal scrutiny. He works with Nike on as many as 12 different outfits per season and discussions can take place as far as 18 months in advance. Even at Wimbledon where players must adhere to the notoriously strict all white rule, Federer manages to make his mark. Remember the monogrammed cardigan of 2008?
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Federer in 2015
Federer crashed out of the Australian Open in January in his earliest defeat in the tournament since 2003. There are whispers about imminent retirement, but the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles shows no signs of slowing down. He stands a sporting chance of winning a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title later this year.
Stylish Athlete #2 – David Beckham
His position in the pantheon of football may forever be in question, but Beckham has emerged as the undisputed king of style. He’s come a long way from the blonde-streaked surfer dude that made his debut for Manchester United in 1995. Since then, men have been copying his hairstyles (remember the faux hawk?) and trying to emulate his exquisite taste.
Of course, he’s had his fashion dips. The all white satin suit he wore to the MTV music awards in 2003 with wife Victoria channelled an unsavoury drugs lord vibe. And the controversial sarong he wore in 1998 may have been a bit too far fashion forward at the time, but Beckham has no regrets.
And he’s not afraid to laugh at himself either…
These days, he can’t put a foot wrong in fashion. Whether he’s clad in top-to-toe denim on a day out with the kids, or dressing to impress at the Royal wedding of Wills and Kate, he pitches his look perfectly. He has his own men’s range with H&M and he’s famous for his smouldering adverts with the likes of Emporio Armani, Dolce and Gabbana and Adidas.
At six feet tall and weighing a super-toned 170 pounds, Beckham has the physique to carry off any look. But the father of four is so much more than a clothes hanger. He understands the importance of impeccable fit, whether he’s kicking a casual hip hop rig or haute couture elegance. His attention to fashion detail is innate – a pocket handkerchief, a beanie, a pair of Aviators – and, frankly, the crisp white shirt was invented just for him.
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David Beckham in 2015 Becks turns 40 on May 2. Wonder what Victoria has in store for him?
Stylish Athlete #3 – Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton by ph-stop The two-time Formula One champion is most often pictured in his driving overalls. But when he’s away from the roar of the engines, Hamilton loves to dress up. With a former Pussycat Doll as a past girlfriend, he was probably put on the fast track to looking good.
But it’s what he wears beneath his clothes that Hamilton is most passionate about. For he’s pretty in ink and covered in tattoos. He says that each one holds special significance. The 30-year-old has a deep faith and religion features strongly in much of his body art.
He has an image of Michelangelo’s Pieta, which depicts Mary cradling Jesus after he is brought down from the Cross. He also has a cross and an angel on his back. On his chest is a compass symbolising the role the church plays in his life. And he has numerous words and phrases that give him inspiration and remind him what’s important: “family”, “faith” and across his chest, “Beyond powerful measure”.
As an athlete, Hamilton must keep his body in peak physical condition. During qualifying laps his heart rate can go up to 190 beats a minute and the phenomenal G-force he experiences takes its toll on his body.
Hamilton, who attended Paris Fashion Week in March to support a friend, has a relaxed style with a touch of bling. But he doesn’t always get it right. Fans mocked him earlier this year when he sported a new quiffed hairstyle that was nothing less than a car crash.
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Lewis Hamilton in 2015 Hamilton is currently defending his world title. Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton has won three out of four starts this season. Next stop Spain.
Stylish Athlete #4 – Sir Bradley Wiggins
After Bradley Wiggins became the first Brit to win the Tour de France in 2012, sales of polo shirts, loafers and parkas spiked. That’s because folk were just as impressed with his sartorial savvy as they were with his champion cycling skills.
Wiggins’ flame-coloured sideburns and mod-style haircut set the fashion world alight and men were clamouring to emulate his look. When he took the gold medal for men’s time trial in the 2012 Olympics, the British Cycling Club signed up 1,500 new members.
Men wanted to look like him, act like him. They simply wanted to be him. Wiggins’ style may be rooted in the 1950s when the term “mod” was first coined to describe style-conscious fans of modern jazz, but he gives it a modern panache that sets him apart.
Tailored suits, skinny trousers and zip-up cardigans are all given an edge thanks to Wiggins’ impeccable styling, world-beating confidence and winning personality. He even joined forces with Fred Perry to produce a range of Wigginesque clothes, sporting 1960s necklines and including pique shirts with modern contrast panelling.
Wiggins may love looking the dandy, but he is far more serious about his cycling. Tickets to see him challenge the world record for cycling the furthest distance in one hour sold out in a staggering seven minutes.
The event, dubbed The Hour, will take place at the former Olympic Velodrome on June 7 in front of 6,000 people and will be screened live on Sky Sports. The record is currently held by Australian Rohan Dennis and stands at 52.4km (32.5 miles).
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Bradley Wiggins in 2015
Wiggins is targeting his eighth Olympic medal when he rides in the four-man 4km team pursuit at the Rio Olympics in 2016.