Think cowboy boots, sweat shorts, and mesh.
Welcome to Style Diaries, a new series where we research the physical manifestations of our closet tours IRL. We're asking friends and tastemakers to show us what they're *actually* wearing during the week and to provide a little insight into their thoughts on the current state of fashion. This week we are speaking with former NFL player and musician Antone Exum and his fiancé, florist Chelsea Dacosta, both of whom are based in Richmond, Virginia. The stylish duo favor a relaxed approach to getting dressed but harbor a deep respect for fashion—you'll see this especially reflected in Exum's regard for Dries Van Noten and Rick Owens.
What does your style *actually* look like right now?
Antone Exum: "Bare. Effortless. It's pretty warm in Richmond [Virginia] right now, so I'm trying my best to stay cool (literally). This is honestly a very easy version of my style right now—grab and go. It's like fast food, if your favorite restaurant had a drive-thru window."
Chelsea Dacosta: "My style right now is very throw-together-what-I-can-find. I have a lot of clothes packed up and I'm in a weird transition period, so all of my outfits really consist of whatever I can find. It's cool because it forces me to be creative and use what I actually have in my closet."
AE: "I knew I didn't want to put on much, but I wanted to kill 'em kindly. Everything I had on was super comfy, which was very important that day because I went on some long walks to the market and with my dogs. These accessories have become a staple of mine for the time being. They all mean a lot to me. Chelsea and I purchased a vintage Fendi suitcase from What Goes Around Comes Around in L.A. It came with a lock for security, so Chelsea took the lock and made a necklace for me. It's now a very special one-of-a-kind piece that's close to my heart. The Jordan 1s we believe are from '94, so of course I felt '90s, but the rest of the 'fit made me feel like a greaser from the '50s. I felt sexy as fuck, too. I wanted to quench."
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CD: "This outfit is comfortable and light—the colors and the way everything fits. There's peace in that, and it was a peaceful day. I'm a floral designer when wedding season is heavy, and that's what I did that day—which is a lot of work but also methodical and peaceful for me. This is Antone's t-shirt, which I wear a lot of. I love that they smell like him and are super soft (most of the time)!"
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Do you have a go-to outfit formula, or do you prefer to switch it up when getting dressed?
AE: "I definitely prefer to switch it up. I could be in an experimental mood where the outfit takes 30 minutes to concoct and finalize—going through multiple looks, different shoe choices, accessories, et cetera. Or it could take all of 30 seconds. Or I could literally have picked out my outfit the night before like the first day of school. I pretty much approach all of my art this way—there's no strict recipe or checkbox."
CD: "I would say I switch it up. It really just depends on my mood and where I'm going. Since it's summertime, I really like big t-shirts and things that are loose!"
AE: "Rick Owens everything—top, bottoms, and slips. He's one of my favorite designers. If we all dressed in sustainable Rick, the world would be a better place. I feel like he has put together such a cohesive aesthetic throughout his collections that his clothes are at their best worn together. You can try to mix and match, and it can be cool—I've seen it done well before—but there's nothing like a top-to-bottom Rick Owens 'fitty. It just lies in a world of its own. Brutalist, essential, interesting (to say the least), daring cult clothes. I didn't do shit that day that you'd want to hear about—played the piano, worked on some performance stuff, hung out with some new people I met outside my building, had amazing sex—I mean, what do you want from me? I'm a snow globe all year round.
"I'll give you another accessory story here, too! When Chelsea and I started dating again, I was in the NFL. I believe it was Christmas, and she put a hefty charge on her credit card just to impress me. She felt like she had to purchase something designer because I was in the league. This was not the case. She could have kissed me for Christmas, and I would have melted. But long story long, I ended up with a legendary Maison Margiela wrist piece from my lover. (Thanks, Chelsea.) These clothes made me feel sharp and clean. I felt like I could take Chelsea for fine cuisine (maybe even keep my shades on if I'm up for it), then leave and make a universally huge business decision. All while selling sex."
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CD: "Artistic, sexy, laid-back—this outfit is awesome. I specifically remember saying to Antone that I love this shirt because of how sexy it makes me feel—it is so sheer. Again, I'm learning to be confident with myself, and part of that is speaking my truth on how and why an outfit can make me feel sexy! Also, it felt like my artistic, laid-back self. Again, floral arranging was happening that day and those creative juices flowed into my outfits."
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What energy are you bringing to your ensembles this summer? What are you looking forward to wearing?
AE: "Big d*** energy, to be frank. White tanks, stainless-steel chains, Fendi locks, black nugget pinky rings, Gucci sunglasses, no socks (sometimes), et cetera. I'm bringing everything to the table that could interest your mom."
CD: "I've been in this really big growing phase where I'm trying to feel the most comfortable in my skin. I stopped drinking and I'm in therapy. I'm really trying to be confident—not in a way that is comparable to others, but just comparable to me! So my clothing choices are all about being comfortable and also just not caring what anyone else thinks. So I'll wear whatever. This summer I'm really looking forward to finally wearing a thong bikini and not giving a shit!"
AE: "This is a look I've worn similarly before. Very throw-on, very get-what-you-see, very I-don't-give-a-fuck. I threw the cowboy boots on as an irregular decision. I love when I can keep an element of surprise in my 'fittys. Every day we took pictures when the sun was out, and I have a love/frustrated relationship with sunglasses. I love what they do for me stylewise and I have a face/head shaped for them, but I'm also a naturist, so I enjoy seeing how the sunlight is blessing the planet with my bare eyes.
"My last accessory story is in regard to a David Yurman bracelet gifted to me from my mother herself. Extremely solid piece—I love it! Where I was accessory-wise at the moment, she hit it right on the head—good choice, Barbara. I've also met David Yurman before at a jewelry store near my childhood home—he was lovely. I remember impressing him with some jewelry sketches I had designed. One day I'll be designing dresses with Dries Van Noten. I have mock-ups in my notebook right now. I envision discussing silhouettes in a garden over tea. All in all, I thought this was one of my more basic looks—I've done it with socks and flip-flops before, too. I felt very true to the season with this ensemble on. I felt like this was too easy to be glorified, but that's the beauty."
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CD: "I love this outfit because it's boyish and cute. These jeans are amazing. An old friend of mine gave them to me, who had probably had them since the '90s, and I repurposed them. I got the holes stitched, waist fitted, and got them hemmed. Then they got ripped, which I love and probably won't fix. It's hot here, but I'm not too into the shorts vibe too much. I really prefer loose pants with a tank. A lot of my clothes I've had for a long time and either found at a boutique or vintage store, especially my shirts. I barely wear these sneakers, but I just re-organized my shoes and decided I'm gonna start wearing them again. My accessories stay the same for the most part. I love my gold hoops. They are a staple in my clothes, and those Versace shades just do it for me every time—so classic and cool!"
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Photos: Courtesy of Antone Exum
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