It was a fun series that took a while to put together, but what we didn’t do was feature any current Ohio State players. After all, most college students aren’t known for their fashion sense, and many football players simply wear team-issued gear as they go through their hectic days of classes, practices and workouts.
And then there’s Joshua Perry.
Decked out in a black jacket, gray pants, white shirt, Johnson & Murphy shoes, no socks and textured black tie, Perry held court on what has become his trademark fashion sense Thursday at Big Ten Media Days.
A self-described GQ magazine discipline who became inspired to put thought into his appearance by his father, Jim, Perry said he first started developing his style in high school. It’s all about effort, Perry said, and a desire to stand out from the T-shirt and jeans crowd.
“I even have different levels of fashion,” Perry said. “I have when I get dressed up, and tomorrow you’ll see a little bit better, but I have some things coming. I have my regular everyday attire, which I do it to it. I have all the combos. Fresh white pair of Air Force 1s, I got two pairs of white sneakers, both high tops because I’m just savage like that. I wear dress shoes all the time, though, which is awesome. I wear boots in the middle of the summer. I wear cut-off jean shorts, and you can judge me. I roll those, too. I have all the Henleys, everything, scoop necks, whatever you want it to be, and then I have my slouch kind of fashion style there where I wear joggers. I haven’t worn a tank top all summer but I’ll wear a white V-neck where I’ll be slouching but looking good at the same time.”
Got it? Maybe not. Maybe you haven’t heard of a few of those things, or just aren’t on board with some others (cut-off jean shorts?). Maybe the GQ look just doesn’t resonate in parts of Buckeye Nation.
But for Perry, it’s the way to go. The Louis Vuitton pouch that earned him notoriety a season ago is just the tip of the iceberg. Every piece of attire is considered, and Perry has opinions on everything from socks (“Cool kids don’t wear socks right now”) to the tie sports information director Jerry Emig sported in Chicago (“I love Jerry Emig’s tie right there. You look at that and here’s the thing is his tie has got some stuff going on. He’s obviously got the paisley print there, and you can see the depth because of the black. The red makes it pop, but you can see the texture without even feeling the tie and I think that’s huge.”)
So yes, it’s pretty clear that Perry’s not the kind of guy who, like some teammates, will just roll out of bed in the morning, throw on the team-issued red sweat suit and head to class.
“The sweat suit? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold the phone now,” he said. “I don’t care if everything I had was dirty and three sizes too small, I’m gonna find a way not to wear the full Teletubby sweat suit to class. There’s no way that’s gonna happen. I’m just not doing that.”
He’s not alone on the team as far as looking good. Perry said he sees eye-to-eye with Braxton Miller on fashion (remember this?) and has helped roommate Camren Williams emerge into a growing force on the team.
“One thing I do as a leader is I try to make the guys around me better, so I do give out fashion advice,” he said. “My roommate, Cam Williams, kind of models his style after me a little bit, even though he wears joggers probably a little too much. He’s in the four to five days a week range. That’s a bit aggressive. He does like to shop in the same places that I shop and off of the same racks that I shop off of. I helped (walk-on safety) Michael Cibene, good ole Beans, we took him to Urban Outfitters and got him a nice short-sleeved Henley. He got all dressed up and his girlfriend was impressed. They took an Instagram together and she tagged me and said to keep dressing him, so that was a great complement right there.”
Then there’s Taylor Decker, who sported a gray three-piece suit in Chicago that turned heads.
“I’m telling you, I was so high on the three-piece when I saw it,” Perry said. “The suit I got when I went to the ESPYs, they didn’t have the three-piece and I wanted it so daggone bad. Great fashion move. Taylor was decked out on the plane. He had boat shoes on, he rolled his jeans and he had a V-neck with a cardigan – completely swagged out. (Adolphus Washington) was lacking on the fashion on the plane, he was wearing a Silver Bullets long-sleeve T-shirt, black shorts. Your boy had to turn it up a little bit so I had the shoes that I always talk about, my favorite pair of shoes, the double monks, I had the slim jeans on, I had my matching belt, my Louis pouch hanging as I always do. I had just a plane white V-neck but I had the sport coat on, too. I had to pull it together like that.”
Perry said he was teased some when he first arrived at OSU for his fashion sense – then-strength coach Anthony Schlegel once put on a pair of Perry’s “faux leather camo joggers” to make fun of him – but he has no plans to stifle his individuality.
When it comes to a favorite everyday look, Perry turned to a mix of everyday cool with a little something special.
“Top of the line swag? And this is for if I’m just milling around, being casual. I might even go to class in it, but I’ll wear blue jeans – blue or black jeans usually – and then I’ll wear a shirt, probably white – I’ll wear a black shirt every once in a while doing this – and then I’ll wear my all-white sneakers or I’ll wear my black boots with the red on the inside.
“And then what I cap it off with is the flannel shirt tied around the waste. That’s a move that everybody is sleeping on. Nobody is on that right now, but I do it with sweat shirts, I do it with button-ups and I do it with jackets. You might catch me in the streets of Columbus wearing that one day.”
So what’s next for Perry? He wouldn’t mind hearing from GQ, of course, but for now he’s going to do what he can to bring back some classic looks.
“I want you all to be on the lookout because my new thing is going to be retro ’90s, so I’m getting light jeans and I’m wearing Tims, I’m getting a big Nautica polo and I’m going to wear overalls,” he said. “You guys can judge me all that you want. I’m gonna get a hat with a propeller and I’m wearing color-blocked polos and doing the whole thing. So boom.”