At The Players’ Tribune, we know it’s not just what you wear on the field, but what you wear off of it. That’s why we’ve created Threads Report, a series where we ask our contributors to look inside their closets, suitcases, lockers and whatever else — and share some items they’ve had in heavy rotation.
Here with the latest Threads Report is Eagles safety (and Sandlot enthusiast) Malcolm Jenkins.
Listen: I’ve been wearing bowties since 2010. Now everyone’s wearing them — but I’ve been for years. Years. Been. Like every great idea, first someone does it to stand out, and then eventually everyone does it to fit in. But that’s cool.
I actually own my own bowtie line, called Rock Avenue. And now that everyone’s on bowties, I have to go that extra mile to keep things interesting. I don’t mess around with your traditional silks, your normal plaids, your ginghams — none of that stuff. For me, it’s not about being “into fashion.” I don’t follow trends. What I try to do is to limit myself only to things that I would have in my personal closet. I look for stuff that I would want to wear. And then we make’em.
Here’s my honest bowtie advice: As long as you can tie it yourself, you can’t go wrong. That’s it. There you go. You’re good. What a lot of people forget is that, when you wear a bowtie, you’re automatically going to stand out. Automatically. It’s over. You’ve made that choice. So just relax, and own it, and be yourself.
My favorite bowtie is my ostrich-skin bowtie. I call it “The Ostrusce.” I have a pair of ostrich-skin boots. (Don’t ask me how.) (Don’t ask me why.) And I was wearing them one day, and I was really feeling them, and I thought, “Okay, I know what I need.” And so I made it happen.
I don’t need glasses, but looking good isn’t about “need.” Clear-lens glasses — I just like the way they look. More specifically, I like the way they complete a look. They go well with my beard, with my bowtie, that whole vibe. A pair of glasses just ties it all together. It’s the cherry on top.
Got a bunch of different pairs. I’ve changed them out, worn different ones as my style has progressed, but the idea of wearing glasses has always been a staple for me. And yeah, I won’t lie — I think they make me look smarter.
Everyone laughed at him at first, but Pharrell had it right. And I respect that when they laughed at him, he just doubled down. Knew he was onto something, and didn’t need anyone else’s approval. That’s when you know someone has style — when they trust their instincts.
I don’t do the big, you know, “Smokey The Bear” hat, like Pharrell — that’s not for me. But I do wear more normal-size hats, hats that are a little more low-key, that complement what I have on.
My favorite hat is this grey porkpie hat. It has a black band around it, but other than that, not much fuss. It’s cool and simple. Hats now are an “anytime” thing. If you know what you’re doing, and you have the right hat, you can make it work.
Here’s a throwback: 5XL t-shirts. In New Jersey, where I grew up, the whole thing was you needed to have a 5 or 6XL t-shirt. Like — if you had a 4X, you got made fun of because your t-shirt was too small. It was serious. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe. But back then, around high school? I mean — that was the standard.
One of my favorite things in the world is just a nice, fitted suit. Most of the time when I’ve been looking for a suit, I’ve gone custom — simply because the athlete’s body is a little bit different from the norm.
That said, I’ve had some success buying off the rack, with the right companies. For example, Suit Supply — they do some really cool stuff, and actually make it a priority to accommodate a huge range of body types.
But what I’ve started to do now is buy my own fabrics. I’m really good friends with a guy who owns a company called Fellow. And they do custom suits, but at that next level. I’ll pick out a fabric, like the raw fabric itself, and we’ll jump off from there. I’ll send it to them, and then they’ll make the suit for me based on the fabric of my choosing.
Because, listen: There’s custom, and then there’s custom. And that first level of custom only gets you so far. That’s doubly true if you’re a professional athlete — because, here’s a secret you learn after a few years in the league: all of these guys use the same “custom suit” companies.
It’s like when a girl gets dolled up and goes to prom, and sees that somebody has the same prom dress on. You think you’ve got this exclusive suit, and the guy next to you has it on at the same time. Trust me — that’s the worst thing ever. And that’s why I have to take it to that next level.
As far as the tailoring I’m into lately: I went through a whole phase, a couple years ago, of, like, patterns that stand out. But now I’m in this minimalism phase. I’m really all about solid colors. And then I’ll add texture after the fact: Maybe a raised fabric, or it might just be woven a little bit, or it might have some cool stitching here or there. And that’s one reason I’m really into accessories — the bowties, the glasses, the hats. It’s because I keep my clothes pretty minimalist. That’s my base. And then it’s the accessories that make the outfit.
My favorite shoes of all time are PF Flyers. I have’em in all different colors, fabrics, everything. I will rock those any day, any time, anywhere. With a suit, with jeans, anything.
Have you seen The Sandlot? If you have, then you already know where I’m coming from — The Sandlot is all the sales pitch for PF Flyers you need. But if you haven’t, well — first of all, that’s inexcusable. But second of all, let me tell you about these shoes. If you took Chuck Taylors, then made them way better, then made them a lot more comfortable, then made them so they won’t hurt your arches, then made them in a bunch of cooler colors, and then made them so that when you wear them you have superpowers — that’s PF Flyers. They’re just cool, man.
No shots at Chucks, but yeah, I like PF Flyers over Chucks. It’s like Coke vs. Pepsi. Maybe they’re mostly the same thing… but when you like Coke, you like Coke. And I like PF Flyers.
But back to The Sandlot. Our dude in The Sandlot put on a pair of PF Flyers and he jumped over a fence. He jumped. The fence. And not only did he do that — he also grew up to be the fastest base runner in the major leagues. Benny the Jet, man. He knew what was up. PF Flyers are the only shoe that matters.