I'm a Professional Athlete—Here Are the 3 Fall Trends I'd Wear Off the Court

Intersections is a feature column that profiles creatives inside and outside the fashion industry. Each story is meant to illuminate how fashion, identity, art, and culture play a critical role in inspiring and informing the work and lives of some of the chicest people we know. 


(Image credit: Jordan Johnson: NBAE via Getty Images; Barry Gossage: NBAE via Getty Images; @skylardigginssmith)

Putting style and sports in the same league may seem like an oxymoron, but upon further inspection, one can see how these industries intersect. Anyone who's been lucky enough to attend a live sporting event in their life can tell you that the energy of the crowd in an arena is electrifying. That same feeling can be found when you're waiting for a fashion show to begin. The anticipation in the room is thick enough to be cut with a knife, your heart is racing, you're on the edge of your seat, and you're focused on witnessing that magical moment—whether it's a slam dunk or a showstopping look. But it's not just the exhilarating feeling of witnessing your favorite player break a record or discovering a hidden gem while shopping that's the same. These two industries intersect on a deeper level.

Some of the biggest fashion trends have been informed by athleisure apparel. Some of the biggest basketball, tennis, and surfing athletes have become the faces of luxury brands and even launched their own labels. These industries have always been intertwined, especially regarding icons like Skylar Diggins-Smith. For those who don't follow women's basketball, you should know that Diggins-Smith is arguably one of the best basketball players. She's a six-time WNBA All-Star, has played in the FIBA World Cup, and has taken home an Olympic gold medal. She's out here scoring, but her wins don't stop at the court. Diggins-Smith's effortless tunnel fits (aka her street style) and recent collaboration with Puma have made her one to watch on and off the court. But you don't have to just take my word for it.

Ahead, you'll hear from the basketball star about her career, her dedication to advocacy, and how she feels the basketball and fashion industries intersect. Plus, she was kind enough to share the three fashion trends she's ready to adopt for the tip-off of fall. 


(Image credit: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

For those who aren't familiar with your story, when did you decide you wanted to pursue basketball as a full-time career? 

It was vital in my family to stay active. My mom made sure we were always involved. I tried volleyball, gymnastics, and a few other activities, but basketball is the sport that clicked. I picked up the ball and didn't put it down.

You've achieved some incredible things in your career since being drafted to the WNBA in 2013. Is there one specific moment that you're most proud of thus far? 

I am most proud of my son, my amazing and supportive husband, and my family. My family is forever. Everything I have achieved and will achieve on the court is a great moment in addition to them.


(Image credit: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Within the larger culture, we've seen a movement to champion women in sports—for you, why do you feel we must continue to strive for inclusion in sports? And how can viewers support systemic change in sports? 

Viewers can continue to view, but they can't even do that when they don't know where to watch us or networks don't carry us. It's an exclusion to deny any sport and any athlete, to not recognize them for their skill and capability. 

You've been an outspoken advocate for equal pay and providing financial-literacy programs for female athletes. How do you feel that leagues can level the playing field for women? And is there anything fans can do to support female athletes more?

Fans can do exactly what they do for every other sport—attend and watch games and buy merch from their favorite players.


(Image credit: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Throughout your career, you've dedicated time and energy off the court to volunteering—why is it important to take time to show up in your community? How do you hope to use your platform to help others? 

We all have a responsibility to support our communities. "It takes a village" is a true phrase. A neighborhood thrives together. I've been blessed to have a platform, and I want to bring awareness to topics that may not get exposure elsewhere. I want to inspire just like I was inspired when growing up. I firmly believe in "you can be it if you see it."

The WNBA has a long history of activism and recently won the ESPYs League Humanitarian Leadership Award—what does it mean to you to be a part of an organization that uses its platform to advocate for people around the world?

The players of the WNBA have always used their voices. Our voices are stronger when used in unison, and it's an honor to be a part of this long tradition. 


(Image credit: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

You can't turn on the news without hearing about everything happening with your fellow teammate Brittney Griner. How do you think sports fans worldwide can come together to support Griner now? 

We don't say Griner's name enough. We need to say her name every day, multiple times, to continue showing our support. 

In addition to basketball players using their platforms to speak out, they've shifted wider pop culture in many ways, specifically with tunnel style. Would you say fashion, culture, and basketball have always intersected and informed each other on a larger scale? 

Basketball is the intersection of culture, fashion, and sports—they go hand in hand. It dictates the kicks on your feet to the colors people wear. It has the power of influencing trends. There was an entire era of the basketball-jersey dress. That throwback is the inspiration for the jersey dress in my Desert Sky collection.


(Image credit: Jordan Johnson:NBAE via Getty Images)

One thing that's wonderful about you is that you have incredible style in addition to being an incredible athlete and activist. What role does fashion play in your personal life?

I love playing with style. I like to be comfortable and express myself through fashion. There are ways to make every trend your own, and that's the beauty of fashion—there are truly no rules.

How has your personal style evolved as you've become a star player and a mother?

The more experience I gain and the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my skin. I don't think it matters if someone is an all-star, a mother, or any other label. The key to style is expressing one's most authentic self.


(Image credit: @skylardigginssmith)

You just did your first-ever collaboration with Puma. Can you tell us how that opportunity came about? And what was it like to create the Desert Sky collection?

I loved every minute of creating the Desert Sky collection. Puma has worked with me to explore designing, and the collection truly represents all of my inspirations—the color of sunsets and the throwback to the jersey dress. Each piece is functional and fashionable, open to each person's interpretation and comfortability.

Shop the collection:


(Image credit: @skylardigginssmith)

We used to hold our very own version of March Madness, but for trends. Of the biggest fall trends, which one is bound to win you over this upcoming season?

I can't pick just one, as there are so many fall trends I'm excited about. But if I had to choose, my top three are…

1. Heavy-Duty Leather


(Image credit: Courtesy of Miu Miu; Courtesy of Diesel; Courtesy of Alexander McQueen)

I can definitely see myself wearing heavy-duty leather. The right leather trench or a black bomber jacket will always be classic, and it's the ideal statement piece to wear inside the tunnel before a game. 

Shop Diggins-Smith's first favorite fall trend:

2. Big-Time Basics


(Image credit: Imaxtree/Max Mara; Courtesy of Bottega Veneta; Courtesy of Prada)

My second favorite trend fresh off the runway is the elevated basics we saw in fall/winter 2022 collections. I always love wearing a classic white tank top styled with an oversize bomber jacket and black pants or a polished button-down with relaxed trousers and sneakers. These staples are the only pieces I want to wear before a game. 

Shop Diggins-Smith's second favorite fall trend:

3. Sportcore


(Image credit: Courtesy of Dior; Courtesy of Telfar; Imaxtree/David Koma)

Lastly, I'll always be a fan of anything athletic inspired, especially when it shows up on the runway. From moto inspired to football inspired, any piece that can fall within the territory of sporty is always a slam dunk in my eyes. 

Shop Diggins-Smith's third favorite fall trend:


(Image credit: @skylardigginssmith)

What do you hope your legacy will be in sports, fashion, and broader culture?

I want every person to be comfortable in their authentic selves and be supported enough to step into their personal power. I hope, at the end of the day, my career can inspire people to say to themselves or others, "You do you."

Next upSustainable Fashion and Surfing Intertwine for These Olympic Athletes

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.