A Day with Dwyane Wade’s Stylist

June 27, 2012 | by —LIANA LOZADA | Homepage


Barnett scrolls through Valentino's spring/summer 2013 collection at The Webster

As Miami Heat fans anxiously awaited Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Calyann Barnett was busy pulling post-game looks for Dwyane Wade. Standing barely five-feet tall with rouge pink locks, Barnett is Wade’s personal stylist, and she’s on a mission to topple his reputation as the best-dressed man in sports. "They call him the best-dressed athlete, but I would love to get to a point where he's just the best-dressed male, period. I want to drop the 'athlete' part altogether."

Wade's style choices have prompted the fashion world to take note. Anna Wintour tapped him to appear in the June issue of Vogue for a “Top Male Olympians” fashion feature—shot by Annie Leibovitz and featuring super runway model Karlie Kloss. (Afterward, Wade tweeted what an honor it was to shot by Leibovitz and thanked his “good friend Anna Wintour.”)

Still, Wade has his critics, mostly hard-core sports fans who see fashion as fluff. However, Barnett makes sure to note that critics are never a factor in Wade’s wardrobe, reiterating that fashion is supposed to be fun. "If he wants to go out in ripped jeans and boots one day and a sleek suit the next, who has the right to say he shouldn't?" There is one area of Wade’s closet that is off limits: his Michael Jordan sneaker collection. "That's all him," exclaims Barnett. "I don't touch those!"

And what of Wade’s four-eyed fashion statements? "The nerd specs are done. We're putting it to rest," she insists. "He started wearing them three years ago and this year everyone jumped on it and it blew up. The flip-ups were the grand finale."

After almost four years of working together (Wade was Barnett's first client), Barnett can rattle off Wade’s measurements, shoe size, and weight fluctuations without pause. Her expertise extends to Wade’s press conferences, photo shoots, and even court dates. At times the pair respectfully disagree, but Barnett has her methods. "If I really love something and he's on the fence about it, I'll try to slip it into his bag, just in case he warms up to it the second time he sees it. But normally we're pretty in-sync." 

So why style an athlete when Miami is chock-full of high-fashion editorial styling gigs? Barnett admits she occasionally itches to work more with womenswear, but hesitates at the risk of "ruining a good thing." She was trained by Rachel Thompson, who styles fellow Heat stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh. "There's definitely a playful competition there," she laughs, "but it's all love."

On Thursday, June 21, Barnett set out to style the look that Wade would wear to be crowned a two-time NBA champ. We tagged along to see how the most fashionable man in sports gets dressed for a big night.

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