From NBA to the world of tennis, there is a growing culture of athletes expressing themselves through their clothing. At MSU, women’s basketball guard Moira Joiner, gymnast Skyla Schulte and women’s tennis player Charlotte Gisclon use fashion as a tool to show that they are more than just an athlete.
For many MSU athletes, fashion is one of the main ways they give glimpses into their lives outside of the sports they play. Using social media, MSU athletes flex their gameday or “going out” fits as a way to show the world who they are when they are not rocking the green and white for competitions.
The styles range from comfy street looks consisting of Nike sweatshirts and Air Force Ones to a more “Classique” sense with one-of-a-kind pieces picked out from boutiques in South France.
No matter what the style is for Joiner, Gisclon and Schulte, the motivation remains consistent: presenting themselves as more than just collegiate athletes.
“I think most people expect you to just wear sweats all the time and look like you just woke up,” Joiner said. “And sometimes that does happen. But having a nice outfit, it gives you confidence. So I do think that's important to present yourself a different way.”
For Gisclon, a native of Lyon, France, the coveted “French girl fashion” aesthetic is second nature. Effortlessly stylish in a rainbow sweater from the South of France and a flashy pair of Air Force Ones, Gisclon describes her style as “fancy street fashion.” This consists of classics, like sneakers, nice jackets, boutique tops, and most importantly, a scarf.
Gisclon, a psychology freshman, started her tennis career at MSU on a strong note as a starting singles and doubles player as she got acquainted with American culture in her first year living outside of France.
Gisclon said she was surprised when she observed her teammates heading to restaurants in leggings and sweatshirts, not expecting to find that Americans would dress so casually.
“If I'm going out, I would just wear my own thing and like these people would be like, Oh, are you from here? And I'm like, no!” Gisclon said.
For Gisclon, dressing up is about more than just the clothes. Rather, it represents her off the court.
“I feel like I want to have a social life other than tennis,” Gisclon said, “I love tennis. But I also want a life outside of it. That's why I like dressing up and I like going out with my friends, having dinner and just like dress (up) even for my class as much as I can. I'm trying to dress [up]because I don't want to go with my…tennis gear.”
With the recent trends of tennis apparel making their way into mainstream fashion, Gisclon maintains that she loves the tennis skirt, for on or off the court.
“Like I feel like even now they're like summer skirts … I feel like they… can be good if you go to the beach or walk around,” she said.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and French tennis star Kristina Mladenovic are who Gisclon looks up to for style inspiration. Sharapova’s style is simple yet tasteful, with elevated classics, while Mladenovic is relaxed and colorful, and Gisclon’s style is a blend of both.
In Schulte’s case, the motivation to dress well is the same as Gisclon’s. She said it is important to her to present herself as more than just a gymnast.
“I'm not just the leotard and some flips,” Schulte said. “I also have a personality, I can express myself with that.”
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Schulte’s style is classic Gen-Z, with baggy fits, bold colors and statement pieces, in contrast to Gisclon’s timeless, understated elegance.
“I think there's two sides of me,” Schulte said. “I either dress super casual, like baggy clothes, baggy sweats, or I dress very fancy and like, I'll put on boot heels and a dress or a skirt.”
Schulte said that most other students on campus rock a look similar to hers and trend towards streetwear or athletic brands, prioritizing comfort over everything else.
She said her go-to look is an oversized sweatshirt, preferably her “Lonely Ghost” sweatshirt, and sweats with matching sneakers. Lots of her outfits consist of mostly black clothes, but having some sort of color to break the monotony is a must.
“If I'm wearing black, I feel like there needs to be a pop of color if I'm going out or something,” Schulte said. “Or if I have like a matching set on then I need to have different color shoes that'll match a bag or something.”
The careful coordination of her outfits takes time, up to an hour if she has time to try different looks on, but it never comes from an outside influence. Schulte said she doesn’t spend time looking at other people’s outfits for her own inspiration and would rather take the time herself to curate something unique to her.
Her efforts of creating a uniform style for herself, whether it's casual or fancy, have helped Schulte express herself outside of gymnastics where she has become known for her accomplishments as a freshman.
For Joiner, fashion is another way to express herself creatively. She’s an artist off-season, and that creative mentality influences the way she dresses. Coordinating the colors in her outfit and her shoes is one way she guarantees a fashionable fit.
“I think I coordinate pretty well with what I'm wearing,” she said.
Though Joiner is a huge fan of Zendaya, more of her style inspiration comes from wanting to stay comfy.
“I would definitely say I'm aiming for the comfier side. Unless I'm going to a special event, I want to be comfy with whatever I wear,” she said.
Her outfit for the day depends on her mood. If she’s feeling tired, she’ll go in sweatpants. On a game day, she puts on a coordinating sweat set and sneakers.
“My thought process just... it depends on the pants,” Joiner said. “So if I'm wearing jeans, I'll choose from there.”
Joiner sources her clothes from boutiques, as does Gisclon who prefers to get her clothes from local small businesses from southern France. Additionally, Joiner enjoys shopping at online stores like Princess Polly, and Gisclon gets basics from Zara, while Schulte prefers Urban Outfitters.
All three athletes are fans of Nike — Gisclon and Joiner are both fans of Nike sneakers specifically. Air Force Ones are their go-to shoe, and Gislclon said this is because of the versatility of the style.
“You can wear this with everything,” she said. “I can even wear this with a dress.”
Gisclon loves giving fashion advice, particularly to her team, even though they don’t always love hearing it.
“They're like, no, I don't want your Frenchie advice,” she said with a laugh.
Gisclon has plenty of style tips for the MSU community, including purchasing classic, quality jewelry and finding comfy alternatives to leggings.
Her biggest tip however is, “Stop the crocs!”
Schulte and Joiner agree that having a way to express their individuality is an important part of the student-athlete experience.
“I think that it takes some time getting used to and finding who you are outside of your sport,” Schulte said. “Because I feel like when you're younger, that's really all you're focused on until you get older and you're like, 'I'm not just my sport, I'm also this and I can be creative in other ways.”
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