For a basketball player, the walk to the locker room was once just a quotidian part of the job, an uneventful shuffle toward prep time.
In recent years, the walk to the locker room has become a full fashion show, a chance for basketball players—the sports world’s flashiest style adherents—to fully flex their sartorial might. From more-is-more Gucci embroideries to oversized Vetements hoodies, it’s a short stroll packed with more fashion credits than the latest issue of GQ.
But it’s not just about flash and flexing. It’s in the tunnel that we can track, with some degree of certainty, which trends will live, and which will die. Because NBA players are the bellwethers of the style world: they’ll take crazy risks, some of which will work, and some of those will then trickle down to the rest of us. And these days, there’s one item that’s become a go-to for the NBA set: the dopp kit. Alongside their Thom Browne suits or Balenciaga Triple S trainers, their Saint Laurent varsity jackets or Fear of God track pants, the once-humble toiletry bag has moved from utilitarian yet hidden bag-inside-bag status to the go-to accessory du jour for basketball players. Which means it’s about to have a big moment everywhere else, too.
One of the best parts of the trend is that there’s a million ways you can spin it. Carmelo Anthony paired his traffic cone orange Valentino jacket with a black-and-orange dopp kit from Burberry, while DeAndre Hopkins paired a sartorial look with a casual Prada nylon shaving kit. Kevin Love opted for a flashy damier-print Louis Vuitton while Russell Westbrook went with a classic Tumi. The options are endless.
Call it what you want—dopp kit, shaving kit, toiletry bag—but this is a trend that has some serious power. Consider it the guy’s version of a clutch, only most of these types of bags have a built-in handle so you can easily grab it and go. And as bags get smaller—for proof see the man purse, the fanny pack, and the crossbody bag—the dopp kit seems like the natural endpoint to this trend, a small package to hold your most valued essentials. Burberry even sent models down the runway with plaid dopp kits earlier this year, truly sealing the deal.
The reason behind the trend is easy: it’s practical. As our devices get smaller, we have less stuff to fill up a voluminous tote or a cumbersome messenger. Some days we may just have a phone and our keys. There’s no need for a huge carryall for the little personal items you bring along on your day’s journey. And with the dizzying array of different styles out there, from low-key to luxurious, there’s something to suit anyone’s taste and needs. And that’s true if you’re putting up triple-doubles, or just TPS reports.