Fashion Statement: It Starts with the Shoes
"It's fashion, bro"
We look to the professionals to know which clubs to put in our bag and how to hit the perfect flop shot, so it only stands to reason we should take style cues from them as well. They are, after all, the living, breathing embodiment of product testers—often working closely with their apparel design teams to curate looks that perform under pressure without sacrificing aesthetics.
The aim with this column each week is to chronicle and celebrate the ever-evolving trends and fashions of professional golf—both on and off the course. Whether it’s a simple best look of the week feature or a larger dive into a cultural shift, we’re here to make golf fashion more accessible (and fun!) for you. Even the professionals have teams of people to help them along the way, so consider us your personal fashion consultants.
What better way to kick off this series than with an examination of some kicks that sent the golf world abuzz just a few weeks ago.
I am, of course, referring to the shoes Brooks Koepka donned at the Tour Championship. The “Off-Whites” (officially a special-edition in the Off-White
x Nike series), equipped with a zip-tie, prompted a tight-lipped Koepka when probed about them after his round to quip: “It’s fashion, bro.”
For those of you looking for a little more detailed explanation, allow me:
Off-Whites are well-known in the sneakerhead world as shoes designed by Virgil Abloh, founder of the Off-White fashion house and artistic director for the Louis Vuitton's menswear line. The zip-tie is his signature, a detail that signifies status and exclusivity. Essentially, all the cool kids are wearing them.
That’s the what. But what’s the why?
Koepka has admitted in the past to caring about his attire. He was featured in Golf
magazine’s February 2018 “The Style Issue” and quoted as saying, “I love getting dressed up. It’s cool being the best dressed guy in the room.”
So, we know he likes making statements with his golf game and his clothing choices (or lack thereof), but how did streetwear culture creep onto the golf course?
It’s actually been a trend we’ve seen for a while now, with the introduction of boutique brands that are shifting ideas on what defines a golf outfit or a golf experience. Clothes aren’t one size fits all, nor should the expectation of what a golfer should wear be uniform.
Sportswear and streetwear have long had a symbiotic relationship, but this is the first time a cornerstone of streetwear culture has made its way onto the golf course. Instead of worrying about taking your golf clothes to the streets after your round, Koepka brought style from the streets to the first tee.
The definition of what a golfer looks like has evolved so extensively that the faction of style that epitomizes cool and rebellion has been introduced on the golf course—a place typically reserved for handshakes and the prohibiting of cell phones.
While I, personally, don’t feel the urge to race out and get the latest pair of Off-Whites, it appears the broader ideals of what constitutes fashion are making their way onto the fairways—whether golf is ready for them or not. Don’t be scared to join the movement.