Why Travis Kelce was a fashion icon even before Taylor Swift: they made headlines with their couple looks – but the NFL star was already well-known for his bold streetwear and sneakers

Kelce travelled to Argentina to see Swift perform – and ended up trending, not just because of their relationship, but because of his fashion. Waiting patiently on the sidelines, the NFL star wore a green, white and blue multi-pattern shirt by designer J. Logan Horne. The designer told Fox News that “the exposure from Travis has been astronomical”, explaining that traffic to his website has “skyrocketed”.

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The shirt is from Horne’s Maison collection. The designer said that each piece in the range is put together using three separate vintage scarves – this particular shirt is created from original Yves Saint Laurent scarves. Horne added that Kelce’s style is daring and that the athlete doesn’t’ shy away from bright colours and bold patterns. “He definitely isn’t afraid to take any risks when it comes to fashion,” said Horne.

The fashion lead-up

Donna Kelce (left), mother of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, watched his game with pop superstar Taylor Swift on September 24. Photo: Tribune News Service

But that wasn’t the first time Kelce’s style caught the attention of Swifties and the fashion world alike.

Relationship rumours around the couple intensified in September, when Swift showed up at the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Chicago Bears. After the match, Kelce and Swift were spotted together, with Kelce wearing a light blue and white denim jacket and pants set from KidSuper titled “Bedroom Painting”.

Per The New York Times, KidSuper renamed its “Bedroom Painting” products on its website to “1989 Bedroom Painting” as an ode to Swift’s 1989 album and to the couple.

American designer Colm Dillane began releasing clothes under the KidSuper label in 2010. He decided to rename certain items after seeing Kelce wear the outfit, he told The New York Times. The marketing move worked – the jacket completely sold out, with the pants only being available in certain sizes at the time, revealed Dillane.

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Couple looks, from SNL to date night

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift leaving the Saturday Night Live after-party on October 15, in New York. Photo: GC Images

In October, the couple made waves after being spotted at Nobu in New York before performing on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. Kelce made an appearance at the end of the skit, cementing their relationship status.

Later, they attended the SNL after-party, with Kelce donning brown trousers, white trainers and a Jil Sander jersey printed with birds.

Travis Kelce toned down his typically bold looks for his dinner date with Taylor Swift at New York’s Waverly Inn on October 15. Photo: GC Images

The couple were seen again the day after the Saturday Night Live after-party at the West Village’s Waverly Inn. Swift wore a rose-printed, semi-sheer Jean Paul Gaultier top and a black leather mini skirt, while Kelce toned it down with a beige jacket and matching pants. He had a black shirt under the jacket and finished the look with white Nikes. Although the ensemble was not as bold as his other fashion choices, the outfit received lots of buzz online from fans and fashionistas.

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His pre-Taylor fashion game

Travis Kelce sees himself as a “self-stylist”. Photo @killatrav/Instagram

Some might assume that Kelce only upped his fashion game after beginning to date Swift – but they’d be wrong. The sports star has always been stylish. In an interview with Complex in 2021, he spoke about how NFL players focus more on their fashion these days. He described game day as being like a “red carpet every single week”. At the time, he said he didn’t have a stylist and often selected his pregame looks on the day of the game.

Kelce described himself as a “self-stylist” and a firm fan of streetwear, admitting to owning around 300 pairs of trainers at the time.
Travis Kelce was into fashion even as a child. Photo: @killatrav/Instagram

His love of fashion has clearly accelerated since, with the NFL star telling WSJ that he is an impulse shopper who can spend three hours picking his pregame outfit. He added that his love of fashion developed as a child in Ohio. He said he always “wanted to wear a headband” and he “always wanted to have a certain pair of shoes”.

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Getting roasted for his choices

Travis Kelce doesn’t let criticism of his fashion sense get him down. Photo: @killatrav/Instagram

In his WSJ interview, Kelce acknowledged that not everybody is a fan of his style. Remarking on the criticism of his KidSuper outfit, he said he was not “offended if somebody says I look like a clown if I got a fun hat on and some wacky jeans. It is what it is, I’m gonna have fun with it”.

Not one to let the haters get him down, Kelce told People magazine that on his off days, he indulges in online shopping: “I’ll jump online and grab a whole bunch of new stuff that I could throw around the house or throw in my closet.”

NFL and Tru Kolors

Travis Kelce’s style leans toward athleisure and streetwear. Photo: @trukolorsbrand/Instagram

Combining his two great loves – the NFL and fashion – Kelce even released a new clothing line in collaboration with the Chiefs and his brand, Tru Kolors. Per Parade, the brand currently offers athleisure and street-style clothing.

The Chiefs posted on Instagram about the limited-edition capsule on November 19, saying it was inspired by the “electric energy of KC and the iconic style of the 90s”. Pieces include a grey hoodie and sweatpants at US$120 and US$125 respectively, a black mesh button-down shirt for US$90, and an AFC Archive T-shirt at US$50.


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