With the recent phenomenon of The Last Dance, an ESPN documentary that aired on Netflix to great success — and the last two episodes that aired this week — we thought it was high time to do a sartorial take on Michael Jordan and the enviable way he pulled off trending-again 90’s fashion.
The 10-part documentary series gives sports fans an insightful account of MJ’s career with the 1990s Chicago Bulls, a prolific period when the team won six championships, particularly enticing due to unaired footage from the 1997-98 season.
Still, most of us just can’t ignore the pop culture pull of the NBA legend, who’s often hailed as the greatest basketball player of all time, and now, an unlikely style icon we recognise for being a baller both on and off the court, especially after about 10 hours of uplifting, nostalgic television.
Suddenly, we find ourselves googling “Air Jordan 1s” in that iconic black-white-red hue, or get very inclined towards an oversized power suit. After all, 90’s fashion (read: chunky dad sneakers) has been on fire for a while, and this show, well, it simply fanned the flames. Ahead, our picks of Jordan’s best fashion moments, and the looks that inspire them, sans baggy t-shirts. If you’re able to pull these off, consider it a slam dunk.
Air Jordan 1 Sneakers
This one’s easy enough to emulate, though if you’re going for Jordan’s exact look, it might set you back a couple thousand dollars on luxury reseller sites like StockX, which may still be your best bet to snag a retro piece. The actual OGs? An autographed and worn pair recently sold for USD560,000 at a Sotheby’s auction.
First, a quick look at the sneaker’s history though — because you have to know this in order to own one right? The original Air Jordan 1 was designed by Peter Moore, produced exclusively for Michael Jordan in 1984 and worn in his rookie season. Later on, versions of the sneakers were released to the public from 1985. It’s a big deal because of the exclusive Air Jordan 1 logo, which we now recognise as the ‘Wings’ logo, featuring a basketball with wings from each side. Today, that signature red-black-white “Chicago” colourway still prevails, and people pay a pretty penny for it, though there are also re-releases (called “retros”) and new interpretations of it sold by Nike.
Though the “Chicago” colourway is the most iconic, this 2016 “Black Toe” Jordan 1 (with more black on the eyestay and toe panels) looks just as sleek too; quality is assured as Farfetch mentions theirs comes from a premier sneaker marketplace that deals with unworn, high-in-demand models, inspected for authenticity. Alternatively, you may bid on StockX for collectibles such as the 2017 Off-White x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG, with that famous varsity colourway, deconstructed leather upper, off-centred Swoosh, and the Virgil Abloh-signature “Air” on the midsoles.
For a more contemporary feel, especially if you’re realistically not gonna turn up on the court, Nike’s more recent Air Jordan 1 Mid is honestly a great option. It’s still inspired by the first AJ1, made with a premium leather and synthetic upper for durability, all in a more wearable silhouette. Unfortunately — you guessed it — the “Chicago” and other popular mass colourways are sold out.
Whether it was on the Bulls’ Paris tour or post-game press conferences, one of the frequent ‘fits that MJ wore on The Last Dance, probably indicative of the times, was oversized suits — well, good thing this look happens to be trending again, especially for womenswear. While he wasn’t exactly the subject of menswear inspiration then, we can be more forgiving today; his penchant for baggy silhouettes that fit his 6’6″ frame might be unintentional, but we can still admire comfort-first style. Below, oversized suits, just tailored enough to look fresh and chic, to be paired with a sleek turtleneck and beret of course.
1. Frankie Shop Pernille Oversized Woven Blazer, $328 ; 2. TIBI Double-breasted Woven Blazer, $911 ; 3. Zara Relaxed Fit Check Blazer, $179
Episode 5 was a pivotal one for those interested in fashion and pop culture; we got a closer look at the OG Air Jordan 1s, with many gratuitous close-ups mind you, and learnt about the MJ x Nike deal where the sports brand sold a cool $126 million worth of Air Jordans in 4 years, surpassing initial projections of $3 million. It was also when we spotted this vibrant, graphic print-on-print style that Jordan donned when in Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics. Today, tropical prints are more prevalent, but the point is, try mixing up your prints and clashing them for an effortless look — even the men can do it.
1. Zimmerman Bellitude Ruffled Patchwork Floral-print Silk-crepon Playsuit, $961 ; 2. Mango Tropical Print Jumpsuit, $59.90 ; 3. ASOS DESIGN Relaxed Jumpsuit with Utility Styling in Floral Print, $83.37
The College Look
In a throwback to college days during earlier episodes, we have to give credit to young MJ for this look — what looks like a pale pink shirt worn under a brown leather jacket. Layers, people! While impossible in our humid climate, you can opt for cooler materials, such as linen underneath. The jacket that he’s wearing also more closely resembles a bomber jacket rather than the standard motorcycle leather jacket, which adds a sleek feel to his profile, while you’d also want this modern spin so brown looks more ‘vintage’ than ‘old-fashioned’.
Finally, the unmistakable sporting classic, there for every iconic moment on the show, including this shot of Michael Jordan receiving the 1996 All Star MVP award. Thank goodness streetwear and athleisure’s cool again. Just remember — Nike, not Reebok, simply because the USA representative famously covered up the Reebok logo with the American flag when accepting the Gold Medal for basketball at the Barcelona Olympics. These days, we’ve got lots of track jackets to choose from, though we’re leaning towards archival designs, very 90’s, that often feature bold colourblocks and chevron prints.