Basketball fan or not, it’s difficult to see Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance as anything less than compulsive viewing right now. But while the 10-part Netflix series holds few surprises when it comes the sheer brilliance of Michael Jordan, there’s a good chance that you may have been caught off guard by the big – and we mean B.I.G – fits that he brought to the world, too.
Jordan went from being the most talked about rookie in the game, dropping swag in gold chains and sweats, to making a suit his daily uniform of choice. But what started out as the usual look – there’s a GQ cover from 1989 that sees him in a nicely fitted double-breasted suit with spotted tie – quickly turned into some bigger, way bigger.
Jordan’s suits in the first two episode of The Last Dance are simply gargantuan. They fit, just check the shoulder line, but they were long – pretty much mid-thigh length – with low-riding cuffs that went way past the wrist. Colours were occasionally wild, as were the fabrics. According to a GQ article from the time, many were created by the Chicago tailor Alfonso Burdi. But they weren’t really meant to look like this. Burdi’s son, Rino, explained how he had surprised Jordan with a suit prototype: “baggy pants, jackets extra long and extra full, with the idea that they’d adjust the fit to a traditional slimmer cut on future fittings.” But Jordan liked it as it was, pre-adjustments. He said that his other suits felt too short and ordered 13 more with the same oversize cut on the spot. At one stage Jordan was getting five to six new suits from Burdi a week.
But while the suits “created a new baggy style his tailors had generally avoided,” it was something that caught on, with Jordan at the forefront of a style moment that included the shaved head, single gold hoop earring and, of course, Air Jordan sneakers.
So, with the style game of Michael Jordan in mind, let us acquaint ourselves with the best five fits from the first two episodes of The Last Dance.
The Freshman fit
Jordan at the University of North Carolina was a little more slim-fit, with longer early-80s collars and, unsurprisingly, a lot of leisure-wear. But this look has Gucci written all over it, the earth-toned leather jacket, the pink shirt over white tee and slim chain make it a fit we’d wear right now.
The rookie clean
Yeah, the footage is grainy, but this head-to-toe red sweat ensemble is how Mike likes to clean his place. Hoover in hand, kitchen cleaner by his side, looking like a relaxed Larry Blackmon from Cameo in an alternative version of the “Word Up” video.
The first day menace
Michael Jordan on his first day with the Bulls came to play – and his fit certainly did. Oversized leather jacket, wool sweater, gold chain and leather cap. The 21-year-old small forward entered the draft a year early and came with a rep. This look – packed with style and menace – backed that rep up nicely.
The big suit move
After a few years with the Bulls, Jordan’s style switched from sweats to suits. The mid-90s was a baggy time, and nowhere were they bigger than in the Bulls’ locker room. If you’re breaking every style rule going, you might as well do it with gusto, which this Nehru collar suit and Kangol hat combo does nicely. He would also experiement with breaking the lines, eschewing a shirt and tie underneath for a black tee or polo neck. But while his suits might look meme-worthy now, they changed the game at the time, with almost every big-name player following, well, suit.
The streetwear flex
While suits became the Jordan signature – he got Nike lead designer Tinker Hatfield to design the Air Jordan XI to look like it had spats – he was always at his most comfortable on court. If this look is anything to go by, we’re not surprised. The sleeve-cut white tee, the overlaid vest, fitted shorts, high white socks and Jordan’s is a look that is an absolute mood right now.