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Men'sWeek issue 05/29/2014

Matt Kemp is walking off the baseball field into glossy magazines this fall with his debut in a fashion ad campaign. As the first male celebrity fronting the big marketing push for Gap Inc.’s Factory outlet stores, he talks to WWD about his own personal style. For men who want to step up their fashion game (i.e., his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates), he also shares some tips.

WWD: How would you describe your own style?

This story first appeared in the May 29, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Matt Kemp: Distinguished, effortless, classy. I don’t try too hard. I don’t try to outdo anybody. I just try to be myself.

WWD: Have you found any colors that work for you?

M.K.: I don’t discriminate against any color.

WWD: Just not the colors of your archrivals, the San Francisco Giants?

M.K.: (Laughs) I mean, I have no problem with orange, just the Giants. No, I’m just playing.…I think whatever looks good. It’s not that hard to figure out. If a color looks good on you, just keep wearing it. I think everybody likes black and white and earth tones. They’re really not colors, but I keep it supersimple.

WWD: In addition to luxury brands like Lanvin, do you like supporting up-and-coming brands?

M.K.: Just something that a lot of people don’t know about. You can kind of take that chance and somebody you know sees what you’re wearing and they’re like, “Hey, what is that?” I don’t even tell them.

WWD: Why not?

M.K.: You don’t want them to know. You don’t want them to know your secrets.

RELATED STORY: Kemp to Be Face of Gap Outlets >>

WWD: So you don’t give style advice to teammates?

M.K.: They can’t make it look as good as me. (Laughs) No, we play around with styles in the locker room. It’s fun for us. Everybody’s different. Everybody has their own personality. Everybody has their own brands, favorite brands, favorite colors.

WWD: When you had your press conference in 2011 to announce your eight-year, $160 million contract with the Dodgers, you wore a windowpane checked three-piece suit in charcoal gray with a dark bow tie. Do you like to dress up, or are you more casual?

M.K.: I love to dress up. I love to wear suits. When I get a chance to wear suits, I’ll wear one. If my assistant or somebody’s asking me if I want to go somewhere, I ask them what we’re wearing. And if they say a suit, I’ll go because I love wearing suits and I really don’t get a chance to wear suits. Well, we wear suits when we’re traveling, but we’re on a plane, so not a lot of people get to see us wearing suits. So I love to go out, show people I can wear a suit and make it look all right.

WWD: Would you wear a denim suit from Gap?

M.K.: I don’t know. A denim suit? (Laughs) I don’t think they would make it. Denim on denim, yeah, but not a suit.

WWD: Which brands of suits do you like?

M.K.: Calvin Klein, Boss, Tom Ford.…I don’t discriminate because there are a lot of good suit makers out there.…I can go get them off the rack and have them tailored myself.

WWD: Do you have a few style rules that work for you?

M.K.: For me, it’s clothes that fit right. You know, a nice shirt and you can really make a bold statement with your shoes. You can have a lot of fun with your shoes.

WWD: What about tips for other men?

M.K.: You’ve got to be comfortable. You don’t want to be walking around all uncomfortable, because you’re not going to feel secure with yourself. You’re going to think something’s wrong with you if you don’t feel comfortable with what you’re wearing.

WWD: Where do you shop? Do you visit showrooms, or do you actually go to the mall?

M.K.: I do both. I have my stylist [Nchimunya Wulf] pull clothes and I try them on at home. In New York, I got to get out in the streets, walk around and visit those stores. I don’t just want to pull there. I want to go out and experience some of those stores.…She knows all these little hole-in-the-wall, dope places to go, because I don’t want to shop where everybody else shops. I want to shop where nobody knows about or not everybody knows about.

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