Kelly Slater Style Spotlight

Kelly Slater Style Icon

There are stylish men and there are successful men, but only a select few manage to achieve both of these lofty accreditations.

American surfer Kelly Slater is one individual who belongs in such exultant company, as the 45-year old sportsman has won the World Surf league Championship a record  11 times and maintains a unique sense of style that has been inspired by his peripatetic lifestyle.

Not only this, but Slater (who can objectively lay claim to being the single greatest surfer of all-time) has recently moved into the world of fashion by launching his own clothes line. In partnership with friend and designer John Moore, Slater will create a comprehensive range of smart casual clothing that reflect his own tastes and the unique sense of style that defines his contemporary look.

So, let’s take a look at Kelly’s fashion-forward style, and explore how it sets him apart from fellow sports sensations:

Kelly’s Trademark Look: An Exercise in Contemporary Smart Casual

Let’s start with the American’s trademark look, which elevates the idea of smart casual onto an entirely new level. We would be tempted to categorise it as sports casual, had Alan Partridge not ruined this term with his combination of action slacks and ice white driving gloves.

The look we are referring too captures the relaxed and philosophical iteration of Kelly, who spends his time away from the surf and in the company of friends and family. It includes Pima-cotton jersey t-shirts and checked flannel shirts, which are effortlessly combined to create a layered and textured outfit. Kelly is fond of bold colours like red, which are often contrasted sharply by flashes of black, white and grey.

As you would probably expect, this look also includes a host of slim, multi-coloured chinos, from black and navy blue to camel and crimson. There is often a combination of simultaneously organic and comfortable materials too, with cotton and hemp particularly popular. This fusion of fabrics is ideally suited to those with a nomadic and globe-trotting lifestyle, as the create comfortable outfits that can be worn in alternative circumstances.

Kelly Slater shirt and chinos
Photo: Morgan Maassen

As for shoes, well what would you expect to complete such a look but suede sandals, which make for an ideal summer fashion accessory. Obviously Mr. Slater can get away with also wearing socks with such a look, but mere mortals you are better sticking with bear feet where possible.

Away from the Surf: Kelly’s Formal and Smart Casual Looks

As we can see, Kelly’s trademark look is summery, coordinated and entirely suited to his peripatetic lifestyle. There are variations of this look depending on the time of year and the occasion in question of course, and these offer a clearer insight into Kelly’s outlook and sense of style.

In terms of formal wear, Kelly is most likely to be seen wearing a slim-fit, two-piece suit of a relatively dark hue, with navy blue and light dark particularly popular choices.

His fun and slightly extrovert nature also means that he is likely to prefer a classic black bow-tie to a narrow tie, creating a look that James Bond himself would be proud of.

Kelly also cuts a fine figure with his effortless combination of dark skinny jeans, black vintage t-shirt and pale grey navy jacket, which affords the classic smart casual look a contemporary upgrade.

You’ll also often catch Kelly wearing an open-neck shirt, most probably in a cotton, pastel shade that boasts a slim-fit and short sleeved style, or a white open-neck for more formal events.

The Winter Look: A Modern Aesthetic With Universal Appeal

Kelly’s competitive prowess is as obvious as his dedication, and his determined nature is reflected by clothes that he wears. More specifically, Kelly’s clothing combines quality, durability and purposeful fits, and this is most evident in the winter outfits that he wears.

In his most-recent shoot with Mr Porter, Kelly was snapped in a dark cotton, trendy crew neck, complemented with a cashmere and silk-blend scarf, whilst also sporting a dark checked burgundy red shirt.

Kelly Slater Mr Porter
Photography by Mr Ben Weller – image source photoshoot for Mr Porter

Slater has also been spotted in outfits of up to three distinct layers, starting with either his trusted jersey t-shirt or a washed denim shirt.

This is then covered with a cotton or cashmere hoodie, which provides an additional layer of warmth that adds versatility to the look. The aesthetic is completed with a checked, wool-blend Peacoat, which is arguably the trademark Kelly Slater-garment thanks to its fitted nature relatively short length.

Make no mistake; the hoodie is a staple garment in Kelly’s winter range, with colours like blue and grey particularly popular. A cotton and cashmere blend hoodie will often be combined with a simple vintage t-shirt, creating a simplistic, stylish and easy to replicate look that is ideally suited to the autumn months. The same can be said for the cotton sweater, which also works well as part of a layered and flexible aesthetic.

Kelly’s Accessories and Shoes: Contemporary Fashion at its Best

Interestingly, Kelly is almost as well known for his smart casual accessories as he is for his garments. Perhaps the most iconic of these is the woollen beanie, which is generally worn in black and navy blue during the slightly colder months.

Kelly Slater winter fashion
Photography by Mr Ben Weller – image source photoshoot for Mr Porter

This is an accessory that works particularly well with layered outfits and hoodies, and it is something that has become synonymous with Kelly’s look as it has evolved over the years.

Next up is Kelly’s range of scarves, which are worn primarily as fashion accessories rather than practical winter adornments. The sportsman also favours scarves that blend two materials for a unique texture, which is a common theme that runs throughout Kelly’s wardrobe and clothing line. Take the dark grey, cashmere and silk blend scarf, which is greater when worn with chunky sweaters, cable-knit jumpers and slim-fit Peacoats.

When it comes to footwear, Kelly favours a primarily casual look that prioritises comfort, flexibility and activity. From classic converse to edgier, leather-trimmed, printed canvas trainers, Kelly’s choice of footwear is extremely contemporary and utilises bold, contrasting colours.

In many ways, Kelly’s fashion sense has been influenced directly by his lifestyle, and his numerous years spent as a globe-trotting, elite-level sportsman. It is exceptionally modern and fashion-forward, while there is also an emphasis on smart casual attire and comfortable materials. The look is also elevated by the unique blend of materials such as cotton and cashmere, while Kelly’s innovative use of accessories enables his outfits to stand out.

Paul Inman

Paul Inman is the founder of The Bald Gent. As the main contributor to TBG, Paul has years of knowledge, experience and stories to share with our users. His insights, advice and blogs form the backbone to everything we do and what makes being a true gent so important to the ethos of TBG.

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