‘Sometimes a hurricane, sometimes simple’: Megan Rapinoe’s unpredictable fashion instincts | Megan Rapinoe

JThe United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) got off to a good start in defending their World Cup title, winning their opening game against Vietnam 3-0 before drawing the Nations – Low Thursday. This year, the team is looking to give their talismanic striker Megan Rapinoe one last piece of silverware before she retires.

Over the past decade, Rapinoe has established herself as a global superstar. At the 2019 World Cup, she won both the Golden Boot (for most goals scored in the tournament) and the Golden Ball (best player). She is a two-time Olympic medalist and recipient of the game’s most prestigious award, the Ballon d’Or. Last year, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

But there’s another thing Rapinoe has become famous for: her winning style. It may have been her pink-purple cropped haircut that first caught the eye – she currently wears a turquoise version, and in the past it’s been a peroxide blonde – but her standout looks aren’t just limited to her locks, nor, for that matter, her impeccably groomed eyebrows.

Megan Rapinoe in Vivienne Westwood for The Guardian.
Megan Rapinoe in Vivienne Westwood for The Guardian. Photograph: Dylan Coulter/The Guardian

Vogue said Rapinoe had “the arrogance and attitude of a style icon,” and the athlete graced the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, GQ and more. In 2019, her photoshoot for Sports Illustrated’s swimwear issue, in which she showed off rock-hard abs in a Haus of PinkLemonAid gold mesh bikini, went viral.

Rapinoe’s diverse approach to clothing reflects her on-court flair. She is an expert in mix and match: there is her androgynous approach that characterizes her, combining masculine cuts and décolleté or glamorous earrings. Or the way she combines designer and department store. His trouser suits – often in bright colors and bold patterns – are coveted.

One signature outfit was the sheer shirt unbuttoned to the navel that she wore under a crystal-encrusted wide-lapel blazer and paired with ESPY-priced satin tuxedo pants. Appearing at the 2021 Met Gala, Rapinoe nailed the In America: A Lexicon of Fashion theme, in a flared stars and stripes themed silk suit – bright red and designed by Sergio Hudson – with a blue and silver shirt with star accents. (Hudson is black, and Rapinoe often wears black designers as part of her support for racial justice.)

Working with her stylist, Karla Welch, Rapinoe is refreshing and unpredictable, describing her own style instincts as “sometimes a hurricane, sometimes simple.” She’s not averse to wearing black leather shorts on the red carpet. But she also loves a classic stealth-wealth staple: a luxe camel coat, for example; and Gucci and Louboutin loafers are part of the wardrobe. She shares a purple and red striped mohair Marni sweater with her partner, basketball star Sue Bird, and the two elevated Britney and Justin’s couple outfit from those dark days in head-to-toe denim.

Megan Rapinoe at the Met Gala in 2019
Megan Rapinoe at the Met Gala in 2019. Photography: Matt Baron/Rex/Shutterstock

While sharp, masculine tailoring is her signature, Rapinoe also dazzles in dresses. This men’s three-piece suit from Gucci is a distinctive look, as is the custom crushed velvet dress – from the same brand – in which she won Glamor Woman of the Year.

Rapinoe can be casual as well as stylish, whether wearing an Acne leather jacket or pairing a vintage David Bowie t-shirt with a bomber jacket and trainers. Rapinoe said getting her first pair of Air Jordans 11 was “one of the best days of my life,” and her Off-White x Air Jordan 1 Chicago, customized by her hero and their designer, the late Virgil Abloh, are “a piece of art”.

In 2022, Rapinoe took their fashion status to the next level, creating their own logo and launching a capsule collection called Victory Redefined in tandem with sportswear giant (and sponsor), Nike. There were roomy puffer jackets, tricolor hoodies and monochrome knee-length zipper coats. “There’s nothing better than putting something on it just matches”, she said at the time. “Your confidence goes up 10 levels when you feel good about something.” Sometimes she feels like sportswear just “settled in”; she is about to change it. “How can we constantly modify it to make it better?”

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