Style

J.J. Watt's Go-To Fashion Item and Favorite QB to Sack

Chatting with the NFL Superstar About His Brand New Shirting Collection

By Sam Eichner ·
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Photo: MIzzen + Main
In a rather matter-of-fact way, three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and genuine physical specimen J.J. Watt confesses that he has trouble finding clothes to suit his build.

“Obviously being an athlete, you try to work on your body.”

Uh-huh.

“For me, I have a very hard time finding clothes that fit properly, especially things like jeans.”

Makes sense. If I were a broad-shouldered 6’5” 290 pounds, I might have trouble finding clothes that fit properly, too. (Thankfully for this specific situation and really no other situation at all, I’m a manageable 5’8” 140.)

A while back, however, Watt discovered Mizzen + Main—a dressy-casual American clothier whose moisture-wicking shirts fit him right off the rack. A solid colors man through and through, the Pro Bowler liked them so much he called up the owner, became a brand ambassador and, more recently, designed his own collection.

The results—two polos and six button-ups—became available Tuesday on Mizzen + Main’s website. As UD’s resident Wisconsin alum (Watt played college ball at UW), I volunteered to chat with the defensive end about his new shirts, the most stylish Houston Texan and his favorite QB to sack.

How involved were you in the design process?
I was very involved, although obviously I listened to a lot of advice from the people at Mizzen + Main, because they’re so well-versed in what they’re doing. It’s surprising how many things go into making a shirt—from the buttons, to the colors, to how you want it to fit, to where you want the collar to fall. There were all these things I’d never really thought about much before, but once we got into it I really enjoyed diving in.

How would you describe what you were going for with the line?
I wanted to design shirts that could be worn with a suit to the office (or, for me, on game day), but that you could also dress down and wear with jeans. Something clean and classy that could be worn on a date night with your wife or at the boardroom for a meeting. 

Do you have a favorite?
My favorite one is the darker red-and-blue checker shirt. It’s something outside of what Mizzen has done before, and something that I really think can go with just about anything. It’s definitely going to be a big staple for me going forward.

What’s your biggest go-to fashion item (that isn’t one of these shirts)?
I have this black David Yurman bracelet that my girlfriend got me. I wear that all the time.

Of your teammates, who’s the most jealous that you’re a designer now?
[Cornerback] Kareem Jackson is the most stylish player on our team. He’s done some dabbling into things like this, but he’s a guy I go to when I want an opinion on something because he’s very fashionable, and he knows a lot about the industry.

Do you plan on making any more forays into the fashion world or any more lines with Mizzen + Main?
Yeah, I think we’ll probably do it again, as long as Kevin [Lavelle, who owns Mizzen + Main] hands me the reins again. I also design my own clothing line with Reebok. That’s what’s cool about it. Mizzen is like the dress up, date night, game day clothing, and Reebok is my athletic, lifestyle clothing. So it was really cool to be able to do both of those things. It’s wild—I’m a kid from Wisconsin, and now I can go a full day wearing only the clothes I had a hand in designing.

If you had to pick one of your teammates to model this line other than you, who would you pick?
Oh, that’s a great question. I don’t know. They all wear it. It’s such a hard question. At my charity softball games I give my guys a whole bunch of clothes, and now that I have my own line I’m going to give them a bunch of these. I can give you a much better answer after our first couple games, after I see them in person wearing the shirts. [Ed. Note: We plan on holding J.J. to this.]

Which shirt from the line would you choose to do your infamous sack dance in?
I think I would choose one of the polos, they obviously give you just a little bit more freedom. I’ve actually done stunts in these clothes before. I had someone throw me a football as I was jumping into the football [while I was wearing one]. Our quarterback Tom Savage was saying he could wear it underneath his jersey, that’s how comfortable it is.

Who’s your favorite QB to sack?
Whoever’s next.

How many sacks will you have this year?
Haha. No chance. But good try, I like it. 

Sam Eichner likes literature, reality television and his twin cats equally. He has consistently been told he needs a shave since he started growing facial hair.

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