Alex Rodriguez On Sunglasses, Shopping, And That Pink Suit
It’s an incredible time to be Alex Rodriguez. That sounds strange, I know: as recently as 2014, he was serving a yearlong suspension from baseball for violating the league’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs. Some five years later, though, he’s a genuinely insightful television host. He’s an increasingly stylish dresser. He’s also a fiancé, having proposed to girlfriend Jennifer Lopez with an engagement ring that now gets its own paparazzi shots. And he’s managed to do it all – shilling for A-Rod Corp, making incredible dad jokes, and nailing his Instagram boyfriend duties – with a gentle, bumbling charm all his own.
Now, he’s adding sunglasses to his increasingly thick portfolio, with a collaboration with Lopez and Quay Australia. Together, the couple will serve as the faces of a new Quay ad campaign, and of their own capsule collections. We called Rodriguez up to get his take on sunglasses, that wild pink suit, and what he might wear for a certain upcoming formal event.
So, I guess we can start with how this whole thing came together.
What led you to the sunglass world? Well, I think number one, being in South Florida, the sun is always out. California, we always wear glasses. It's part of our daily life and I don't think we ever leave the house without sunglasses. We just came to really like and understand Quay. I thought it was cool they have so many different types of glasses, you really never get bored and they are also extremely affordable, which is so cool.
I don't know about you, but I lose sunglasses all the time. Are you the kind of person who loses sunglasses or do you hold onto yours?
I only lose or break the most expensive ones.
Yeah, that's how it always works, right?
If I have some that I bought at 7-11, I'll have those for five years. It's so frustrating. But, what I like most about these glasses is the high-quality and the affordability, which is a great combo.
When you're growing up, you don't really wear sunglasses, and you have an idea in your head of Oh, that's a cool adult thing. Did you have a version of that when you were a kid?
Yeah, I mean, I didn't realize why people wore glasses. The sun never bothered me. You kind of just go to the beach or you play ball. [Wearing] glasses just wasn't part of my DNA. But it's interesting: [on the Yankees,] a doctor told me that I should be wearing sunglasses all the time because of my light eyes, which I thought was incredibly interesting. So I just started. I was kind of forced to wear sunglasses everyday. As a matter of fact, if you look at all the old pictures in day games, I wore glasses while I was playing on the field, which took a while to get used to.
So are baseball sunglasses stylish?
I would not describe them with that word.
Because some fashion folks are bringing back those sort of '90s baseball shades, but I wanted to get it from the source.
You know, maybe for surfing or something. It could be good. They're so big they block your entire eye and it's good for sun protection, I guess. But I wouldn't say they're stylish.
Got it. So to zoom out a little bit, something we at GQ have noticed is that you have been dressing incredibly.
Oh, thank you.
I'm curious about where that came from – if there was a moment where you were like, Hey, it's time for me to shift gears.
Honestly, I think post-baseball. I've had a lot of interest for a long time in [style,] and being in the public eye a little bit more—and just having more time and having my weight be more predictable. One of the things that I've learned as of late is that it's really less about what you wear and more the fit – how you wear it. That's been a big shift for me.
And that's harder to nail if you're bulking up for the season, or if it's the offseason and you're not working out quite as hard?
It's that you just don't have that type of time [to think about it]. As long as you look good in your pinstripes, that's all you really care about.
Do you enjoy shopping now? Is that a fun activity for you?
I've always enjoyed shopping. Growing up, I didn't have any money to do any shopping, right, so I think that's a part of it. But what I really enjoy most is being a personal shopper with my girls. I love to dress them up and try things on, and all that stuff is really fun to do with the girls.
How do they feel about that?
They love that because they're growing and they're growing fast, so they're always asking daddy to go shopping. They're very stylish.
So, one of the things we dug recently was that you are one of a few guys to pull off a pink suit.
Well, I wore a pink suit, I don't know if I pulled it off.
Well, you know, tomato, tomahto. Can you tell me a little bit about how that happened?
So it starts with Vegas. All crazy things start in Vegas. And it was Jennifer [Lopez]'s last show of her three-year residency. We were throwing a really big party, and we had people flown in from all over the world for the last show. Jennifer said, “That would look really great on you,” and for whatever reason I kind of believed her. Then I said, “Okay, it is your last show and if this is something you think will be cool, then I'll buy it.” I bought it, I wore it, and that was it. We made history. Not good history.
Well, we were in. Do you remember where that one came from?
Yeah, it was Tom Ford in Vegas.
I'm curious. How does your morning routine now compare to your pregame routine?
When it came to pregame routine and what you're going to wear, we really weren't in the public eye too much. I would go from my apartment in New York City to Yankee Stadium, and we would have indoor parking. So, some guys would come in flip flops, I would come in jeans and sneakers, and honestly, I did not put that much thought into it. I was more concerned about who was pitching for the opposition, how do I get three hits, and how do we win the game that night. That was my thought process, less about what kind of jeans or slacks I wore.
Oh, sure. And do you apply that same kind of energy now to it? Like, I'm leaving the house. How can I go out and get the equivalent of three hits today?
No, no. Maybe I should take it more seriously, but honestly, I just put things together. The one thing that I focus on, like I said earlier, is just make sure that it's a decent fit.
You have your tailor on speed dial.
I wouldn't say that. But I used to wear things that were very baggy and comfortable because I thought comfort trumped style, and now I've probably just reversed that thought.
Last question: If, hypothetically, you had a really big formal event coming up, what would you think about wearing to it?
I mean...with all the pressure on, I would always go with a blue suit, white shirt, blue or black tie. White hankie, something like that.
A-Rod and J-Lo's Quay Australia sunglasses are available at Topman Middle East and Namshi.com.