Cam Newton Wants to Teach You How to Wear a Sweater
Despite team allegiances, we can all agree that NFL quarterback Cam Newton is an impressive human being.
There’s his exceptional on-field heroism that has led the Carolina Panthers to a nearly perfect regular season (they are currently 14-1 after a recent tough loss to the Atlanta Falcons) and has made him a frontrunner to win the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player award. And there’s his cyborg-like strength and stature. At 6’5” and 245 pounds, he’s more like a linebacker than a quarterback. Case in point: It took nearly the entire Falcons defense to take him down during a run with the ball on Sunday.
There's also his exuberant (and sometimes controversial) persona and that endzone dance, "the Dab." And I haven’t even gotten to his style. Or the shoes. He favors bold accessories such as smoking slippers and … tails. That’s right, Newton has been known to tack on a 2-foot-long foxtail to the side of his skinny jeans before approaching the podium for a postgame press conference. There's a lot going on with this guy.
Before his unpredicted defeat this past weekend, we caught up with the effervescent Newton—who's always up for talking about style and his obsession with accessories—and quizzed him about dressing tips, skin care, and the continuation of his own clothing line with megaretailer Belk.
Cam, off the field, you’re known for being one of the most stylish figures in the league. What has been your favorite style moment of this hugely successful football season?
Cam Newton: Thanks! Yea, I really believe that fashion, and dressing up, is a great way for guys to express and interact with their creativity. One of my favorite looks of the past year came earlier in the season when I wore a navy/camo blazer to the postgame press conference. I’ve also enjoyed adding unexpected accessories—like a foxtail—from time to time to my more casual looks. I know it has taken some people by surprise … but I love that. I just like having fun with my style and keeping it new.
You do seem to love a surprise detail. It’s almost as if your style motto for this year became “another victory, another foxtail,” considering how many different-colored foxtails you sported throughout the season, most notably after a win. But what's your response to the people—your own fans, even—who don't seem to understand your personal style and say, "What the heck is he wearing?"
Newton: I simply say, "I'm doing me." I'm expressing myself. Some people are afraid to dress in ways that they actually like because it might be different than what most people expect or how others dress. I say embrace being different. The way I represent my individuality is by mixing classic pieces—like sports jackets—with little, unexpected additions.
We're going to get back to your awesome style in a second, but I want to bring up your skin real quick—it's perfect. What is your skincare and grooming routine? Anything different you do when playing in varying climates?
Newton: I just use good ol' soap. With three boys in the house, my mother was always on us when growing up about keeping our faces clean, washing behind our ears, and brushing our teeth. So I still take my morning routine seriously. I make sure to exfoliate well, and I like to use cocoa and shea butter body lotions to stay smooth.
You launched your clothing line, MADE Cam Newton, with Belk in 2013. What’s new with that and how do you continue to expand that partnership?
Newton: The line is evolving. We are listening to what the customer—who I call the southern man on the go—wants and needs, and we’re growing and designing the line around that feedback. My personal style is the cornerstone of the brand because I am the customer. I am a southern guy who likes dressing up and looking sharp but who lives a busy life of working and traveling, and I need reliable, stylish pieces in my wardrobe that will service multiple occasions. So I don’t come to the design table with Belk as a designer, but rather as a customer and a shopper. I always keep my eye focused on what I would and want to wear, and I share those ideas with Belk.
I love that you aligned yourself with a mass, accessible retailer, such as Belk, for your first fashion partner. But I also know you support and wear high-end designers. What brands would you consider collaborating with in the future—perhaps in a deal like Victor Cruz as the face of the new Givenchy campaign?
Newton: I’m always open to discussing collaborations. Some of the high-end designers I pay attention to and am interested in include Prada, Tom Ford, and Lanvin—I'm definitely a fan of their design techniques and the style trends they help create. So who's to say what collaborations could come down the road? But right now I am committed to my MADE line and seeing that continue to grow and develop.
If people pay attention to the way you dress, they will see that you actually continuously combine these two loves and price points. You like to mix affordable pieces, like suiting and knitwear, with luxury add-ons such as a killer pair of high-end shoes.
Newton: Absolutely. I love that the pricing of MADE allows a guy to purchase bigger, statement pieces and also mix and match key items—such as dress shirts and blazers—with items they already have in their closet. Most recently I have splurged on dress shoes, like slippers from Giuseppe Zanotti and Christian Louboutin. With no socks, of course.
How do you feel the NFL is doing as far as catching up to the NBA as the most stylish sports league?
Newton: I think our league can clean up with the best of them. The NBA definitely has some trendsetters that stay up on the latest fashion, but I think you're starting to see guys like myself and others get some much-deserved respect in the style department. Just like the NBA, the NFL has guys that can pull off multiple looks, ranging from street style to more dapper, buttoned-up looks, and people are starting to notice.
What or who inspires your personal style point of view? And what are some easy styling tips you can pass on?
Newton: I keep my eyes open. I pay attention to how different types of people express their personal style, how they put their clothes together. It’s no secret that I am not afraid to shine bright and be festive, and I like to encourage that in others.
My suggestion for a fast style upgrade would be to embrace a pop of color or pattern. Try layering a bright, pullover knit on top of a dress shirt with a subtle or bold pattern. Just make sure the pullover is not too baggy, that it has a nice fit, and that the shirt underneath it is tucked in. A guy could wear this look with or without a tie.
And good shoes—they're the ultimate finishing touch. In fact, we actually joke in my family that your shoes have to be shined before you can leave the house.
Your last game of the regular season is on Jan. 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so you probably don't have big going-out plans for New Year's Eve—but if you did, what would be your go-to, no-fail NYE outfit?
Newton: Yeah, I'm working. Since I'm still in season, it's hard to say what my actual plans will be—but likely something quiet with some family and close friends. But my no-fail outfit for New Year’s Eve would be a tailored jacket with a pair of tapered jeans, a crisp ironed shirt, tie optional, colorful V-neck sweater (purple is always nice on New Year's Eve), and some memorable dress shoes or loafers. Again: no socks.
Despite the one loss, what are your plans to help celebrate this stellar season? Anything in particular you plan to buy to reward yourself?
Newton: As a team, we are just focused on the game that's immediately ahead of us. But make no mistake about it—we don't plan on being done any time soon. Some things money just can't buy, and the reward of accomplishing that ultimate goal* as a team would be better than anything I could ever purchase.
*Editor's assumption: A Super Bowl 50 berth.
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