Images by Robin Harper.

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Jordan Poole: the Throwback

Jordan Poole is a sweetheart. At any given moment, Jordan Poole would rather be at home, watching Netflix and hanging out with his cats. And Jordan Poole is also clearly about to be one of basketball’s greats. 

On a beautiful day in San Francisco — his home, and where we’ve been taking khaki global since 1986 — we had the pleasure of sitting down and talking to the basketball wunderkind with the lethal shot and unstoppable drive. Life, style and a love of making your greatness look easy: step into the world of this rising star.

Jordan wears his own vintage Dockers® shirt and corduroy khakis. 

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Q: Tell us who Jordan Poole is and what he’s about — in 140 characters or less.

If I had to describe myself, I’m a pretty chill, laid-back, creative, open-minded and relaxed individual. Honestly, I’m just trying to appreciate everything that’s going on while I can.

Q: That’s right — this has obviously been one of the wildest stretches of your life. How’s it been? What does it mean to be a champion, especially as a player who had to really work to achieve glory?

It feels nice. It feels insane. That feeling of being a champion doesn’t come around often, but being able to finally push through and be a part of a select few is definitely awesome. Life has changed fast, and super fast.

Q: Yeah, for starters you’re in the Bay now! It seems like you’re liking it so far.

I mean, between you and me, I didn’t even know anything about San Francisco. I’m like, “This is nuts.” Like — y’all got everything. Y’all got nature, y’all got the city. I don’t like getting in the water, but I love looking at it. I love the heights. I love getting outside, looking at Marin. There’s nothing like California, man. 

Q: Can you talk about that love of nature a little bit? 

You know, stuff’s going on all the time. We’ve got games. Practice. Events. Social stuff. So whenever I get time to relax, I grab some peace. Just try to chill and kind of reset. Go outside and hear the birds. Decompress. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I listen to the trees. Being in the wildlife, where animals live — I think that’s pretty dope.

Q: It sounds like you've always had an affinity for the West Coast way of life.

Yeah — what’s crazy is that if you ask a lot of the people I grew up with, they’ll tell you, “He acts like he’s from California, he dresses like he’s from California, he’s a Cali boy at heart.” I never understood it, but I came out here and I was like, “Ah, it makes sense.” I was wearing laid-back shoes and stuff, short shorts, basics, bright colors. It’s always been really peaceful for me to just walk outside and get some fresh air. Again, there’s nothing like California.

Q: Has being in the Bay influenced your style?

I love the simplicity of West Coast style. I love the ease. I love it. It just makes everything efficient. The Bay Area in particular’s very ‘throw it on and wear what you like.’ Has it changed my style? Not really. But it’s dope to see how the area has its own style. We wear a lot of layers back on the East Coast — you’re doing the whole nine. You come here, you throw a hoodie on, khakis, shorts and you’re free to go. Props to you guys.

Q: Take us through a perfect Jordan Poole outfit. What does that look like?

I’ve never really reduced myself to a specific style and I kinda know what I like to wear. I’ll try new stuff, sure — but I know what works now. It takes me forever to find stuff that I like to wear, and if I find a style I like, I’ll stick to it. 

Q: It feels like you dress a little differently than other players — a little more timeless, a little more classic. Do you feel that?

I’ve always felt like I was in my own box or lane with my style. It’s not like I don't care about what other people wear or what they do— I’m human — but I know that they're them and I'm me. What they wear has nothing to do with what I wear. It’s about how it makes me feel. In professional sports there are a lot of stylists — people dressing other people. Credit to them; I’m not knocking it — I don’t like dressing myself either sometimes. But being able to personally go out there and find it, that’s special. Ultimately, I just always do my own thing, whether it’s short shorts or big cropped khakis. 

Q: Yeah, you’ve been doing that short shorts thing for a minute! 

Short shorts look better than long shorts! But with pants, it really just depends on the look — you can find a vibe in any style. Pants I usually want straight over the shoe. With khakis, I want a skinnier vibe to show off the shoe. Obviously there are times when I like my chinos cropped to show the socks. It’s really whatever look I’m going for that day.

Q: You’re super tall, obviously, so those shorts are gonna look extra short and you’ve gotta work to find stuff that fits. Any tips on getting something that fits well?

Don’t worry about what it says on the label. If a sweater looks good on me in a size 2X, that’s what I’ll get. If a hoodie looks good in a large, that’s what I’m wearing.

The tunnel walk has evolved into such a breeding ground for men’s style. Is it something you ever think about when you're getting dressed?

For me personally, the tunnel walk is like: let’s get in and let’s get to work. They’re cool, they’re fine. Someone will probably take a good picture that will end up somewhere. But most of the time I throw on something really easy, really quickly. 

But here’s the thing: I love the concept — not just for the NBA, but for everybody. I love how everybody’s bringing their specific style and flavor to fashion now. I think the concept is dope and goes beyond the court. It’s showing a lot of people how they can express themselves through their clothes whether or not they’re going out, even when they’re doing what they love.

Q: Yeah, in this day and age it’s so easy to post and put a unique take on style out there.

Yeah, the style of our era is free. You can wear whatever you want. 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago, you might’ve been judged for what you wore, but I think of my generation as accepting of everybody for who they are. 

It’s a big thing for people to be able to speak through what they wear. Not everybody is going to be the most vocal or social, but especially in the age of social media and posting, owning that image of what you want to portray, people can still really express themselves through the colors they wear, the clothes they wear. I think that’s so dope. Style gives so many people — who aren’t necessarily encouraged to speak — a voice. 

Q: What do you think about when you’re getting dressed? 

Since I get clothes and I wear ‘em out through activity, I have a really big appreciation for the materials of the actual pieces. I’m a pretty cozy person — all of the stuff that I wear is soft, light, not too heavy. It’s really hard to find something that you like the looks of but feels right, where the fabric’s comfortable. Whenever I can find something that has both of those, I get it every single time. 

Q:  That combo makes things so easy to wear!

If I can get in and out of it quickly, if I can do whatever I need to do, if I can be prepared to run a mile right away, if i can look good for something, then, to me, it’s easy. My rule is: If I'm ready to do anything, it works.

Q: What makes you reach for something over and over?

I reach for laid-back but quality and comfortable stuff over and over, but it’s really hard to find. You know, there are some clothes where you’re going about your day, you’re moving, and you can’t wait to take them off. But if it’s something that I can wear it and it’s second nature, I don’t have to worry about it and it just flows, that’s perfect.

I like when clothes say something. Let the clothes do the talking while I do the work.

Q: Do you ever shop vintage?

Yes! Getting vintage is like playing a game, having a challenge. The mystery and the possibilities, the communities you can tap into. Stuff you would never imagine being able to wear. The thrill of the chase to find something super low-key not a lot of people have that’s like, “Oh, where did you get it?” I like the this-is-the-only-one-you-can-find type of situation vintage brings.

Q: At Dockers®, it’s in our DNA to pursue a well-lived life. What does that look like to you?

To me, the sign of a well-lived life is that whenever the time comes — whenever I have to fully reflect on the decisions I’ve made or the people in my life — I know it’s what I wanted to do. Knowing that the decisions I made are the ones I wanted to make. That, and having a good attitude.