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Q&A: Tim Wright, Patriots Style MVP
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During football season, away games are business trips and the Patriots are expected to dress the part. Some players keep it simple with classic suits, but others do fashion with flair. Tim Wright is one of those guys.
With colorful custom suits and perfectly matched accessories, the New Jersey-born tight end often looks like he’s stepped straight off the catwalk. But, as he told us, his bold outfits are nothing new; Tim has dressed to impress since he was in high school. Here, he talks about his personal style, how he hunts for bargains and why he’s the go-to barber in the Patriots locker room.
So, Tim, have you always been into fashion?
Yeah, I’ve always been into dressing myself. It dates back to high school. Every time we had events or ceremonies or banquets, I always got a lot of compliments [on my outfit]. But going into college, money wasn’t something that we had at our disposal, so I had to find a way to improvise.
How did you do that?
I used to go into a store, for instance PacSun - that was one of my favorites - and I’d go right to the sales rack. They’d have deals like buy two, get three free. So I’d buy two pieces of clothing, like $15 or $20 a piece, and I’d get three free items. I started looking at the whole thing as a concept. It’s not about buying one outfit; it’s about accumulating different pieces of clothing. Then when you look up after six months, you’ve got all these different items you can choose from and put together. That’s what I really focus on when I try to dress.
Did you have any memorable outfits in high school, when you first started experimenting with fashion?
There was this one particular suit. It was a spring-colored suit that I wore for a banquet. It was a purple-violet color. It was very bold [laughs]. I had a black suit that I liked, and I took the purple pants and put them to the side, and I put the black pants with the purple jacket with a black tie and pocket square. That just killed everybody. They kept complimenting me on it and it took off from there.
We still see you in bold suits on team travel days.
This past year I did get four different colored suits. I don’t just have the typical blues and grays. I’ve got a black, a burgundy, a nice green, a nice blue and an orange one that I wore for the Super Bowl. So I’ve got some things to play with and, like I said, you can always switch out the pants and make it into another outfit. When I picked my colors [for the suits], I chose ones that could go with each other.
Do you work with a stylist to create these looks?
I work with a couple stylists who make my suits. They usually put a design together but then the first suit that I wore, I took the shirt out, I took the pocket square and the tie out, and I put my own little flair to it. They provided the fabrics, but conceptually I put the whole thing together.
Who do you think is the best dressed among your teammates?
I liked [former teammate] Shane Vereen’s style when it came to suits. His designer did a good job putting it together. Jo [Brandon] LaFell dresses pretty nice too. But it’s not a competition; I just like dressing for myself. I don’t dress up to compare myself to somebody else. I don’t look at it like that.
When you first got into the NFL, what was your big splurge?
I’m a family guy so I really don’t splurge that often, but I do like particular pieces and I treat myself from time to time: a Louis Vuitton duffle bag, a Gucci or a Louis belt, you know, a nice pair of shoes.
The only time that I did shop for a whole outfit was my wedding. I got a white wedding suit. It was an eggshell color and then I found these perfect Gucci shoes that went with it. They had the colors of our wedding, which were coral and turquoise, with brown trim, and the bow tie was brown to match the trim on the shoes. It was perfect.
I think a lot of women struggle to get their fiancé to dress up for the wedding.
The funny thing is, dating back to high school and especially when I got into college, me and my wife, we’ve always shopped together.
So you pick out clothes for your wife?
Yes, I help her. And when I was in school, all my boys would be like, “Yo, when we going shopping?” And I’d tell them that all you need is about $50 to $100 and you’ll come out with some good stuff. People think you’ve got to spend $80 or $100 on a shirt or pair of pants, but it’s not really like that.
Do you still go hunting for deals?
Yes I do. Honestly [laughs]. Outside of buying custom stuff – that’s a little more expensive, but you’ll have that forever – I still go to the sales rack. Recently, I went straight back to PacSun and I found a two-for-three deal and my wife, knowing me best, was like, “You work hard, you can treat yourself to a $60 shirt.” I said to her, “I know, but it just doesn’t always feel right to me.” If I find a shirt for $30 or $35 on the sales rack and can make it look better than a shirt that costs $70, that’s my goal.
You have a two-year-old son, Major. Do you have fun picking out clothes for him too?
I do. We traveled a lot this offseason and as soon as we put our luggage together, my wife would be like, “Tim, come help me pick out Major’s clothes!” He’s got the same type of thing going on – all the staple pieces that you’ve got to have and all different colored shirts – the blues, the grays, the blacks – and then his shoes. We put it together and make a nice outfit for him.
Any mini pocket squares yet?
He’s got three bow ties and a couple ties, but he’s got to get a little bigger to get the pocket square thing going [laughs].
You also have a talent for cutting hair. Do you cut your teammates’ hair?
Yeah, I actually cut Devin McCourty and Darius Fleming and LeGarrette Blount the other day. McCourty had a photo shoot, so he hit me the night before for a little emergency cut. It’s something I’ve been doing going on 13 years now.
How’d you get started with that?
The barber messed up my hair one time, so my dad bought a pair of clippers and start cutting my hair. He wasn’t always able to cut it when I wanted, so I decided to try it myself. I took the clippers, cut my hair and it came out good. I surprised myself. Then I started cutting friends’ hair, then people from school and my neighborhood started coming to me. And when I got to college, it just took off: the coaches, the trainers, the equipment staff, their kids, the players, regular students. I definitely want to open a barber shop called The Wright Cut. … I think the whole image goes together; it’s not just the clothes but you’ve got to be neatly groomed and look good from head to toe.
Besides fashion and cutting hair, you’re also passionate about giving back and launched your own foundation last month. What can you tell us about that?
It’s called The Wright Way Academy. It’s a bridge between academics, athletics and quality of life for underprivileged children. Not only is it athletics, which is right down my alley, but also academics; together, those two make the concept. …In my situation, I was undrafted. I had to have a lot of people in my corner and resources and different things to help me get to where I am today. I want be able to reach out to my community and provide those resources to help kids get to where they ultimately want to go.
Is that based back home in New Jersey?
That’s where I’m going to start, but what really opened my eyes is when I got [to New England] and saw how active the guys were with their foundations. That really inspired me.