Chandler Parsons is by far the most fashionable Houston Rockets player. James Harden is a close second, and Dwight Howard is too huge to be truly fashionable. At 6′, 9″ Parsons is close to being too big for sharp outfits, and classy attire, but he has put forward an all out effort to do just that. After spending an offseason traveling from Los Angeles to Taiwan, he is now attending the New York Fashion Week. Parsons sat down for an interview with Esquire.Com to talk about his experience, and how he would love to wear those “pajamas style” Rockets uniforms.
ESQUIRE.COM: So this is your first Fashion Week. How’s it going so far?
Chandler Parsons: It is, and it’s going well. It’s been fun. I’ve really gotten into fashion, and ever since I got into the NBA I feel like players are walking billboards. The fans don’t always get to engage with me or get to know me, all they can do is look at me, so I take my style and how I’m perceived very seriously now. And it’s cool learning things here at Fashion Week and seeing different styles and different trends. I’ve also been able to meet some designers and go to a few shows. It’s been a great experience.
ESQ: What was your first show like?
CP: It was cool. It was a different setup, though. I was thinking it would be a typical runway show, but it was actually the J.Crew presentation. The models were just standing there posing with different looks on. But I met the designer and liked a lot of the looks. J.Crew’s a great brand.
ESQ: What was your favorite look at the show?
CP: I liked the grey windowpane suit (right). Liked it a lot. It was a different, cool material. I liked how he had the pants cropped a little short with no socks and then some dope monk straps. And there were a couple guys at J.Crew that had some nice sweaters with different color pants that I enjoyed.
ESQ: What did you wear for the occasion?
CP: I’d usually wear a suit to something like Fashion Week, but it’s so hot outside. I wanted to be comfortable and casual, so I was wearing red suede Del Toro chukkas, APC dark, dark denim jeans with a pair of Stance socks, and a Louis Vuitton button-up that was custom-tailored to be longer for me.
ESQ: I assume you have to have everything custom-made for your 6’9″ frame?
CP: Yeah, it’s tough. Especially the shoes. I wear a size fifteen, so I can’t really walk into any store in the world and grab a pair. It’s impossible, so I have to order all my shoes. But believe it or not, I can actually fit in some stuff like tees and jeans off the rack because I like it European fit and style. Baggy isn’t a good look, though, and I usually need the length because my arms and torso are long, so I definitely have to have most of the stuff tailored and taken in.
ESQ: You’ve said before that you were a lazy dresser when you were in high school. What did that look like? Just standard basketball gear?
CP: [Laughs.] Growing up, I just wore whatever fit. I was going through crazy growth spurts, so I could never really take my style too seriously. But now that I’m pretty much done growing I can turn myself into that walking billboard so that I can promote myself and brand myself. It’s rare in the NBA, but I have a lot of young female fans from eight to eighteen because of the way I dress and the way I do my hair. People sometimes call me a pretty boy, but I embrace it. It’s fun, and I guess it just kind of comes with being a good looking white guy in the league.
ESQ: Who calls you a pretty boy?
CP: Pretty much everyone. Teammates. Opposing players. Fans. I mean, if I look at my Twitter feed right now it’s pretty much all young females talking about this picture or that picture or Man Crush Monday or whatever the different hashtag of the day is. It’s pretty comical.
ESQ: You seem to wear the title as a badge of honor.
CP: I’m a confident guy, so I’m comfortable with whatever I choose to wear or how I do my hair or change my look up. I embrace the title and I like interacting with the fans when they say things like that.
ESQ: What’s your signature style element?
CP: I definitely wear fancy socks. I’ve got a deal with Stance socks where they send me basically every product that they have. I like doing skinny jeans that are cropped a little short so you can see the crazy socks before the high-top shoes. And I’m a big fan of pairing those with Del Toro shoes to create some loud colorways. I think that’s a really good look.
ESQ: So you like to mix up your look a bit?
CP: I do. I think my style’s very versatile. I have a guy who makes me custom tailored suits for the professional look, but I can also go very casual. If I’m in LA I’ll wear a tank, some colored pants, and some high-top kicks. Or I can wear a button-up with some loafers and no socks and cropped pants. I definitely switch it up and am kind of all over the place. But like I’ve said, I have thick skin, so I’m not really going to be bothered by what people say. I’m confident and feel like I look good in whatever I wear.
ESQ: Has your style vocabulary grown this week?
CP: [Laughs.] I don’t know about the terminology, but seeing all the different looks and all the cool trends that are happening right now and all these different styles has been pretty incredible.
ESQ: Who are some of the fashionable NBA players you admire?
CP: I think the most popular, fashionable guy in the league is Russell Westbrook, just because he’s so bold and brave in what he wears and he embraces that. He’s a trendsetter, and I like guys like that. I have respect for them if they can pull it off. But my teammates in Houston are pretty standard. Nothing crazy like Russ.
ESQ: Do you look to guys like LeBron and Wade for a more professional look?
CP: Yeah, I love those guys and I love their style. But they all have stylists. And good for them, but that’s almost like a cheat. Having someone going and getting clothes for you that aren’t quite out yet and picking outfits and styling them for you and having all your measurements is obviously the easier way to do it. But those guys definitely dress well and their stylists do a great job with them.
ESQ: How competitive is the league in regards to style?
CP: It’s competitive. Obviously everyone has money and everyone can afford to dress well and go get nice things, so it’s definitely competitive. When you see someone you might compliment them on their outfit — or other players might kind of make fun of how someone is dressed. But it’s important and cool to dress well and be respected by the other guys around the league.
ESQ: Did Fashion Week inspire you to consider starting your own line someday?
CP: Definitely. I’m currently a shoe free agent right now, so that’s first on my priority list. But working with a higher-end designer down the road is something I’d absolutely be interested in.
ESQ: Do you know if the Rockets are wearing sleeved jerseys this year?
CP: We are and I love them. We’re wearing them on Christmas Day against in San Antonio against the Spurs. In college, I wore a tight Dri-FIT shirt to have that same look and feel, and the guys say these are much lighter. The jerseys we wear now are almost like cutoffs. If they were like tanks, with that thin cut strap around your shoulder, that would be better. But the jerseys are like cutoffs around your shoulder that kind of hang off and are baggy, so I look forward to mixing it up on Christmas with the tighter sleeves.
ESQ: It’s not tough to fire off a shot with that around your shoulder?
CP: No, no. One tiny little shirt isn’t going to throw off a guy’s shot.
ESQ: Do you ever wish you could just wear the late-90s pinstripe throwbacks with the cartoon rocket on the front?
CP: [Laughs.] You mean the blue ones Barkley used to wear? I would actually love to do that. Those are awesome. I would love to wear those. We have one throwback that’s more Ronald McDonald — very red and very yellow — that we wear a lot, which has the thinner tank straps I was talking about. But I think it would be awesome to wear those throwbacks and represent those guys, especially with how good they were back in the day. That would be pretty cool.