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Monday, October 17, 2011

In the ’90s, I lived with a roommate in a nice-enough apartment building. We had a doorman, a marble lobby and the location was decent — not too far from the subway — but it definitely wasn’t Park Avenue. One day, I saw a tall, elegant man in the elevator. He was wearing the most expensive-looking pair of men’s shoes that I had seen in my life. I was transfixed by the shoes. The years might have affected my memory, but in my recollection, the shoes were a caramel-colored alligator with a high shine and an ombre effect. I know nothing about sports but, considering the man’s height and his extraordinary shoes, I thought, “This must be a professional basketball player!” Then I considered my merely okayish building and thought, “Well, he can’t be a very successful one if he’s living here.”

Not long after that, I saw the man in the elevator again. He was signing a boy’s basketball, and I peeked at the autograph. It was retired Knicks legend and Hall-of-Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Yeah, I was a little off about the success thing. I still don’t know what he was doing in that mediocre building though. You can do better, Clyde!

Clyde does color commentary for Knicks games. When I’m at the gym, I occasionally see him on one of the televisions tuned to games. He’s still an amazing dresser. This year, I saw him wearing a lavender ensemble that was so beautiful I almost cried. The man isn’t afraid to make a statement. Here are a few of Clyde’s eye-popping looks. Click the photos to go to the sources.

Cheetah print jacket in 2011. Photo courtesy Newsday, via the Huffington Post.

Cowprint in 2011. From Dan Goodman. Click to see some more great Clyde looks.

Tiger print in 2011 from Something Burning.

Minty fresh in 2006. The tie! The pocket square! I die. From Slam.

Just stunning. At a book signing this summer.

Is this a leather suit?! February 2011. From Newsday.

A three-piece suit from another book signing. Click for a fun interview with New York Magazine.

Back in the day, Clyde wore hats with panache.

Vintage, pimptastic Clyde. From GQ. Click for an interview about Clyde's style.

Damn! From Kicks Addict.

If I ever see Clyde again, I will ask him to sign the most fashionable thing on my person at that moment.  He’s an All-Star in the style stakes! He shouldn’t be signing basketballs. He should be signing Prada shoes.

UPDATED TO ADD: Thanks to Elena of Fabulous Finds for pointing out a fantastic April New York Times story about Clyde’s style (the animal-print suits were custom-made, as are most of his clothes). It mentions an Upper East Side apartment that he’s been in for 30 years. It must be the same building I used to live in! To my relief, the article says he was about to move to Harlem, where he acquired three penthouse apartments. That sounds more glamorous and appropriate to me. Everything about Clyde needs to be glamorous. The story also says Clyde is opening a sports bar at the end of this year. I’m going to be hanging out there, stalking him. I NEED to speak to the man who told the Times, “If your suit is popping, your tie can’t.” That’s my new favorite fashion-related quote. Anna Wintour’s “Ask someone else” has been replaced in my heart after a mere 10 days.

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27 Responses to “Style Icon: Walt “Clyde” Frazier”

  1. Lara says:

    Love when men take risks with fashion! He’s still in a suit so why not make it fun? The hats kill me!

    • WendyB says:

      I wish I were his best friend. We would hang out in his giant walk-in closet and he would try on all his outfits so I could vote on them and it would turn into a fun musical montage just like in the movies. No, I haven’t thought about this a lot — why do you ask?

  2. elena daciuk says:

    i have been in awe of this man as well…did you happen to catch the ny times article on him? there is a link for it in my blog post about him…

    “However absurd, it fits in a menagerie of 100 or so suits that hang on five racks and with patterns of tiger stripes and leopard spots; designs of bold plaids and checks; and colors of yellow, red, salmon and orange.”

    gotta admire a man who is not afraid of prints AND color!

  3. Cameron says:

    I’m now hearing the theme from Shaft… damn that man’s a snappy dresser! I say you should wear as much animal print as you can when you hit up his bar to meet Walt!

  4. you know that at a dinner party, he’s the one you’d want to sit next to … even if you didn’t swoon at the presence of a major basketball legend

    he wears it right and happily


  5. What a cool cat he is!!!! Love his fashion sense:)

  6. Megan Mae says:

    I lost it at the cowprint suit. A++ Would see again. I love it.

  7. The Styley says:

    This is one of my favorite posts so far! Amazing style.

  8. Sheila says:

    Now that is one stylin’ man! I love his suits – especially that leather one!

  9. StefM says:

    Love this! Forget “ask someone else.” It should be, “Ask Clyde!”

  10. Mardel says:

    Gotta love a man who’s not afraid of color.

  11. Maybe Clyde was frugal with his living arrangements so that he could afford more fabulous clothes!! I love his bold, out-there statements in style! Also, I have one of your rings featured on my front page! It is the coolest ring…just love it!

  12. Susan Tiner says:

    Fashionister! The cheeta print jacket is to die for.

  13. Franca says:

    I’ve never heard of him but he looks amazing! We need more men like this!

  14. Miss Conduct says:

    Suit-wise, he’s sort of the American Don Cherry. However, if his commentary were as provocative and offensive as Don’s I’d surely have heard of him despite not being a basketball fan. You wanna see some SUITS, go poodle Don Cherry.

  15. Stephanie says:

    first off, thanks for your comment ^_^

    that man is too much for me. his suits are ridiculous!

  16. This man knows how to wear a hat! And every other piece of clothing that he decides to make shine. Waiting for your post from his sports bar.

  17. JustMe says:

    A leather suit??!

    That takes a lot of balls. And also a lot of deodorant.

  18. Terri Berry says:

    Clyde did what more people should do. Live below their means. So he’s not some moron celebrity that had a closet full of money and is now in foreclosure (at least I hope not). That’s why he lived in your apartment building (maybe he had the penthouse?) and was able to buy expensive shoes.