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Anybody and everybody is entitled to be fashionable, by their own standards. Even sportsmen and women. Some are more conscious of the positive impact their image can have on society or the fashion industry, others not. However, there can be no argument that there are some athletes have made as big a name for themselves off the field, as they have in their chosen sport. Here are our top 10 choices
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Lewis Hamilton: Not only has the British superstar attracted a legion of speed freaks with his daredevil performances on the world’s best F1 circuits, but he also has a huge fan base who follow his every move on the social scene. Hamilton, who said "When I was younger, I was definitely in my shell, but now I take a lot of risks", was perhaps not just taking about his Mercedes team, but also about his dress sense. The six-time World Champion, who confesses to be a big fan of legendary designers Givenchy, Louis Vuitton John Varvatos and Gucci, also commented: “Fashion is an expression of how you feel, and it’s a way for you to establish who you are. I think it’s important that athletes are not just seen as entertainers. We are actually quite more than that.”
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Serena Williams: Serena says that given her role as a sportswoman who is constantly in the eye of the public, it allows her the opportunity to express herself, both on and off the court. Each tennis season, fans eagerly await the new ‘Serena look’ and each year she pulls off surprise after surprise. She wears her fashion well and in so many different ways from pushing the envelope to mix high street glam with sports chic. Throughout her incredible career which has seen her win over 70 singles titles and 20 plus doubles titles, Williams has appeared on the world’s most famous tennis courts sporting dresses of every shape and colour, two piece suits, leopard-print outfits, tank tops, jeans, biker gear and designer jewelry. With her lavish style statements she demands attention and is arguably sport’s most fashionable athlete.
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Conor McGregor: McGregor has said that he likes to look sharp both inside the UFC Octagon and on the streets of his native Ireland. He is a fearless fighter and even more daring dresser. The Notorious One is best known for his penchant for wearing fitted men’s suits which he admits are a big part of his wardrobe. “I truly enjoy wearing nice clothes. I am passionate about the fashion game just like I am passionate about the fight game, which is why I am dedicated to both,” he says. McGregor is the owner of the August McGregor fashion brand, which he says is ready to take over the world just like his fighting has done. Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton are just some of the labels that he wear togethers with his friend Donatella Versace’s risque outfits.
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Maria Sharapova: The five-time Grand Slam champion is a winner on and off the tennis courts blending casual, comfortable modern-chic with classic cuts. There is no doubt that the Russian is one of the most elegant players that the women’s game has ever seen. Who can ever forget the outfit she wore at Wimbledon in 2010 when she met Serena Williams in a sumptuous rematch? Sharapova turned heads, including the American’s, with her Nike Lawn Rose Dress complete with ruffles and inspired by English rose petals. The Russian may have lost the match to Serena but the Russian walked out of the iconic venue as the overwhelming style stakes winner. This would become her favourite style when she turned up at a 2012 Oscar party in an Alexander McQueen stunner. Sharapova looks stunning in anything that she puts on from casual tracksuits to cascading dresses, and not to forget her love for Tiffany & Co diamond earrings. She is easily one of sport’s greatest style icons.
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Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal’s great forward is not just a looker on the football pitch with his stylised haircuts and well-fitted football shorts, but also in one of his innumerable tailored Italian suits. Ronaldo is blessed with an incredible physique, which he has worked endlessly in the gym to shape, and the rewards are there for all to see when he slips on a slim-fit suit. However, the class men’s suit is not the only outfits you would see Ronaldo wearing as he is known to experiment his style and that’s what makes his stand out. Ronaldo has collaborated with Nike and boasts a signature collection ranging from sportswear to casual wear and beachwear. His signature CR7 label is a sight to behold, but he also pays respect to designers like Dsquared2, Versace, Gucci, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana and many, many more.
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Chris Eubank: The former boxing champion is well known for his distinctive sartorial displays. Not only did he win 45 of his 52 middleweight fights during the mid 1980s to mid 1990s, he also won the title of Britain’s Best Dressed Man on a couple of occasions. Eubank is credited with raising the profile of British boxing to its peak in the 1990s combining his skills in the ring with his eccentric personality and famous poetic statements which the media devoured. There was a period when he reigned as the world champion for over five years that Eubank was one of the most recognisable celebrities in the UK, if not most of the world. Eubank’s style has rarely been casual. He is known to dress for the occasion even it means just an outing in the high streets for a cup of coffee. He was a style setter and even if outlandish and over-the-top were words that some people used to describe his clothes, he would pull it off time and again. There were times when he broke the norm tucking pinstripe trousers into leather boots and wore waistcoats without a shirt. A Louis Vuitton clutch bag would become his trademark accessory together with the custom made walking cane. However, for all his snazzy clothes Eubank will always be remembered for his feisty performances in the ring and his fights against fellow Britons Nigel Benn and Michael Watson.
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Robbie Fowler: For the most part golf has been a game steeped in traditional values, with golfers donning classic T-shirts which are tucked into their trousers. It was the norm. Step in Rickie Fowler and the flamboyant American would soon divide opinion among the older generation of golfers and the emerging fearless rookies. Fowler once made a lot of traditionalists see red when he turned up at a golf tournament wearing a Hawaiian shirt which, he did not tuck into his pants. The American would defend his choice of shirt by commenting that he wanted to modernise a game that had too long been shackled by old values and so many dos and don’ts. He would continue to stir up the rapidly changing golf world with his choice of bright fluorescent shirts and trousers and once in Abu Dhabi donned high-top basketball style shoes and jogging bottoms which may not have pleased the sport’s governing body one bit. Soon he would become one of the most identifiable golfers in the world, but one who had yet to win a major. He was identified by many as a player with a bright future in the game, but it’s his outfits that were calling the tune and not his golf clubs.
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Frankie Dettori: Most jockeys around the world are known to wear proper suits to the races before swapping them for their riding silks. However, one man has stood out, both in his entrances and abilities on the world’s famous race tracks — Frankie Dettori, the 5ft 4in Italian with a giant reputation. He is perhaps best known for his trademark ‘flying dismount’ and for cleaning out the bookmakers in 1996 when achieved the feat of riding the winners of all seven races on British Champion Day at Ascot. Be it Armani, Gucci or Prada, Dettori wears it well and has set a high standard for his fellow jockeys when it comes to dressing for the races. He says that dressing up and grooming his hair make him feel that he’s doing something important even if it’s not related to his sport. Dettori has frequently admitted that he has a very flamboyant style, both in the saddle or at the after party events where he is known for his white or mustard suits. Should he win a race at Royal Ascot, Dettori will don a traditional grey suit just in case he gets to shake hands with the Queen.
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Danica Patrick: Patrick blazed the trail for women and proved that they could compete alongside their male counterparts on the racetrack. An outstanding athlete who competed at the Indianapolis 500, Patrick is one of the world’s most successful female endorsers of famous brands. All of this thanks to her interests in fashion and staying fit and at the top of her game. Famous for her ad campaigns for the Super Bowl she has become a fashion force to reckon with and has attracted all the top designer labels to partner with her in a bid to raise their value. Having retired from racing Patrick has turned her attention totally towards her style and uses every inch of space on the streets or the red carpets to trumpet her image. Colours are no bar, Patrick likes to pursue the extremities of the fashion world with neon greens while staying with her motor roots in black racing jumpsuits, her all-time favourite.
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Virat Kohli: India’s favourite cricketer and the world’s top batsman is the country’s leading trendsetter. And not just because millions of his fans sport his famous ‘mid-high fade haircut and manicured beard. On the cricket pitch the rival bowlers give him total respect and over the years his sense of style has made the leading designers and A-listers look up to the Delhite who has scored in excess of 7,200 runs at international level. When Kohli tweaks his famous hair a bit, millions of men in India rush to their hairdressers to get the new Kohli look. Having established his presence as a trend setter Kohli turned to his attire and began to experiment with colours and styles which was an immediate hit. Even an unconventional polka dot suit was given the thumbs up by Indian fashion gurus. It appears that Kohli can do no wrong, except play the wrong shot at times. As a fashionista he is adored and revered by both men and women in equal measure.
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