By Nicole Barley
When Hines Ward walks out of the dressing room during this photo shoot, decked out in his freshly pressed, new custom-made suit, all heads snap in his direction. Of course, when Hines Ward walks into any room, people pay attention, but Ward’s confidence in his bespoke attire was absolutely magnetic. We’re firm believers in the adage that when you look good, you feel good, and it was clear that Ward was feeling fantastic.
The suit, tie, shirt, and pocket square were dreamt up for the former Pittsburgh Steeler, now sports broadcaster on NBC, by Master Clothier Amy Baron Brourman, founder of Samuel Baron Clothiers. After a closet consult and fitting with Ward at his Atlanta home, Baron Brourman took stock of the athlete’s style, noting that his suits, in particular in the shoulder and through the leg, were not as fitted as they could be. Ward admits that he typically gravitates toward wide-leg pants with cuffs and loose-fitting jackets; however Baron Brourman decided to guide him to a more streamlined style. “He felt uncomfortable in something that was more fitted through the thigh, and I felt it would be more complementary to take him from a pleated trouser to a flat-front trouser. I said that I wanted to design a more complementary look for his style, and I asked if I could use my own judgement, and he said, ‘OK, I’ll put this in your hands.’”
The resulting design is definitely a different look for Ward. “When I wear a suit, I always think about being comfortable — sitting on a plane ride and being able to just hang loose when I travel, but, [I’ve learned that] you still can be comfortable and fitted at the same time.”
All of Baron Brourman’s consultations include a 34-point measurement profile to ensure the fit is impeccable, and when working with Ward, it was important for the pair to review videos of his NBC broadcasts to determine what is appropriate for TV. It’s a gig that requires a more conservative look. Says Ward, “In broadcast, it’s all about the suit. Playing for the Steelers, when we got on the plane to go on our road games, it was a fashion show. Everybody critiqued you, from your cufflinks, to your belt, to your watch, to your shoes. Now that I’m on television, working with NBC, I can’t go bold and wild. A lot of color doesn’t work.” Instead, he opts for a look that’s “conservative, but still clean and classy.”
Though it’s a sartorial change for Ward, based on his happy, trademark grin in these photos, Baron Brourman’s collaboration with the athlete was clearly a successful one. “This is style, this is fashion. This is something that’s new for me, but I like it,” says Ward. “Who knows? This may be an opening day suit on Sunday Night Football.” Stay tuned!
in the details
» The fabric, an eight-ounce Australian wool by Zegna, “is the cornerstone of the Ermenegildo Zegna Trofeo collection. The branded crème de la crème fabric has a high finish, resulting in more luster.”
» The custom-lined interior also matches the pocket square, and inside, Ward’s name is embroidered.
» Contrast stitching is featured on the lapel and first button hole. There are four functional button holes, and all of the seams are hand pick-stitched. In fact, the entire suit is hand-sewn, not fused, and is created from a hand-cut paper pattern. Nothing is digitally drawn, “which is how we set ourselves apart from other custom clothiers,” says Baron Brourman. “I keep a paper pattern of every client. Right now, that suit fits Hines perfectly. I won’t have to make any adjustments to it, but if he loses weight, for example, I might want to take in the waist or the seat, and I have the ability to adjust the pattern. Now, we will just make the next suits based off of this one!”
» Adding darts in the front and back waistband were necessary to accommodate Ward’s athletic build.
» Inside the jacket is a piece of floating canvas made of horsehair and wool that, with time and wear, will conform to the shape of Ward’s body, thereby becoming a better fit the more he wears it. “The drape of the fabric will also be better than that of a non-canvassed suit, and it will show off his killer shape,” says Baron Brourman.
» The handmade shirt’s French cuffs are bedecked with Fabergé men’s cufflinks, featuring 18K yellow gold with blue enamel, and round, brilliant cut, bezel-set diamonds, weighing 0.12 carats, price upon request, from Chapel Hills Jewelers.
» A stylish timepiece option with a suit this shade is the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Squelette shown above, price upon request, from Chapel Hills Jewelers.
Ward is keeping busy these days, staying in shape, hosting The Hines Ward Show on WPXI-TV, planning a wedding with his fiancé, Lindsey Georgalas, and promoting Positive Athlete, a local organization that encourages high-character high school athletes to do their best. “Right now, I’m just excited, living life. Of course, I miss the city of Pittsburgh. It always brings a smile to my face as I fly in and land at Pittsburgh International,” he says. “Even though I don’t live here, Pittsburgh’s always home away from home, and I cherish every minute coming back.”
Want to know where Ward loves to go when he visits Pittsburgh? Click here.