Cam Newton is becoming a trendsetter with his clothes as well as his play

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If you think Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is unique on the field, with his ability to beat teams with his arm and his legs, you should see him during his postgame interviews.

From his fitted tuxedo jackets and carnations to the sometimes sequin-studded slippers to the occasional foxtail key chain, Newton's outfits make just as big of a statement as his spectacular moves.

Let Mark Anthony Green, the "Style Guy" from GQ Magazine, explain.

"Cam's style is a lot like his style of play," Green told ESPN.com. "I know that seems a little cliché, but it really, really is. It's brash. It's a little peacocky. It's boastful, especially when he does his very preppy Southern thing as a Southern guy.

"But for the most part it's pretty good. Everything fits good. He wears a suit better than any football player in the league."

The only players close, in Green's opinion, are New England quarterback Tom Brady and San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Brady gets Green's vote for the long haul because, like his game on the field, he's consistent. He rarely misses. But for this season the vote goes to Newton, who dares to be different. He's not afraid to take chances.

Newton chose not to be interviewed for this article because his focus is on helping the Panthers (15-1) win a Super Bowl, starting with Sunday's divisional playoff game against Seattle. But Newton admitted earlier in the season that he wants NFL players to get recognition for their clothing, like NBA stars do.

That has been Newton's goal since he signed a 2012 deal with Belk to design his own line of clothes, known as MADE Cam Newton.

"He wants to be a trendsetter," said John Thomas, Belk's executive vice president for private brands and brand management. "We've talked with Cam about how the NBA has this reputation, especially in the playoffs, where there are websites that's sole purpose is to report what is worn to the game.

"He wondered why the NFL hasn't picked up on that."

By being bold with his postgame looks, Newton is on the path to changing that.

"Cam is going to be really brash and cut a path for the other trademark players and teammates, and eventually some of them are really going to nail it," Green said. "And then the culture of the league will start to become better dressed.

"That's important, and it only starts with people that are extreme."

Newton turned more than a few heads by wearing a pair of Under Armour cleats with an image of him dabbin' on the side for a Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas.

Even more heads turned when Newton arrived at his news conference wearing a pair of slippers with more sequins than a pageant dress.

"That is exactly what he wanted you to do," Green said. "The rest of the outfit, if you cut the shoes out, to Cam and people looking from a style angle it is really boring. But what it does is it helps the shoes be the star of the show.

"That, as an editor of a men's fashion magazine, shows me that he is being extremely intentional about his entire outfit. He is deliberately putting together every piece."

Newton chose Belk to represent him because he wanted to make clothes that the average man on the street could afford. And, for the most part, he wears something from his Belk line to postgame interviews and other big functions.

The sequined shoes are an exception.

"He wore those shoes at his foundation event this summer," Thomas said with a laugh. "He had on a MADE tuxedo, but those shoes were definitely not every-man shoes."

Thomas has been inside Newton's closet. It's big -- somewhere between the size of a one-bedroom apartment and a large storage shed. It's very organized. But what stood out most for Thomas were the shoes.

"I probably have 140 pair of shoes in my closet," he said. "He has more."

Many of the shoes are sneakers that Newton gets from sponsor Under Armour. But more are the like of the loafers and slippers he wears after games.

"He wears a lot of velvet slippers. That is a very old-world, old-money thing, which I think is maybe his coolest trademark," Green said. "It's extremely suave and sophisticated.

"He's been in the league for a while now, so I think it's cool for him to wear such a dainty, smoking slipper for his press conferences. He pulls it off. He's young and he makes it look really cool."

And it's a look that wouldn't work for just anybody.

"Would I recommend some guy off the street wearing it?" Green said. "No, I wouldn't recommend any guy wearing sequin smoking slippers.

"I wouldn't recommend any guy wearing a brightly colored camouflage dinner jacket, either. But Cam Newton pulls it off in the same way he pulls off his dabbin' touchdown celebration. It's the kind of thing only he can do in the game of football."

Newton arrived at his news conference following a Week 3 win over New Orleans wearing a blue, camouflage-print tuxedo jacket and a blue bow tie.

"This is a black-tie look," Green said. "Should he be wearing this after a game? Absolutely not. But again, this is a reminder to let everyone know he is Cam Newton and you can break the rules on and off the field."

Newton often goes with the tuxedo look. What stands is how well Newton wears the jacket. You can tell it didn't come off the store rack.

"It states that he really, really is trying to look his best," Green said. "To use that Deion Sanders quote, 'If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, you pay good.'

"Cam is the embodiment of that. He's thinking, 'What's the fanciest thing I can wear after the game because I believe I'm going to win? I believe I'm going to have a great game and all eyes are going to be on me and I'm going to give this press conference and I want to look like a billion bucks."

Green said Newton, particularly for a man his size (6-foot-5, 260 pounds), looks as good in clothes as any runway model.

"It's not an easy thing to do to get a GQ fit and you're a professional athlete," he said. "He deserves a lot more kudos and congratulatory sentiment for his style than criticism, for sure."

No style moment drew more criticism than Newton's decision to wear extremely short men's capri-style pants after a loss to Pittsburgh last season.

"There's a right way to do that and a wrong way to do that," Green said. "When you're [6-foot-5] there are certain fashion trends you have to leave on the table. Cam did not accept that.

"He cut his pants super short, which is the trend. He might have cut them a few inches higher than the trend … so they looked really, really exaggerated. I would want to have a conversation with his tailor and talk that out with him."

Thomas laughed as soon as the capris-like pants were mentioned.

"The man capris were very controversial," he said. "We got a lot of phone calls on those, saying, 'I can't believe you made those.'

"That's something he did on his own. I'm not sure where he got those."

"I hope he felt like they didn't work … and he moves on," Green said. "But him being daring, he has to take risks."

Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was asked last week if he could wear anything that Newton does. "If I'm dressing up for Halloween, I can," he said jokingly after referencing the foxtail.

Other Panthers are paying attention and trying to upgrade their own style. Left tackle Michael Oher admits he has purchased some shoes that "really shine" and credits Newton for giving him the confidence to wear them.

"You see the NBA guys with all that stuff," Oher said. "He's opening guys' eyes and making them pick it up. … You've got to be confident to do that. He's a confident guy on and off the field."

Confident is perhaps the best way to describe Newton's style.

"I've been in the fashion business my whole life," Thomas said. "I would say his style is very pulled together, very unique. He is a guy who is a very confident dresser."

One can only imagine where that confidence will take Newton if the Panthers reach the Super Bowl.

"Cam is doing something that is extreme," Green said. "But that's the only way that the style culture of the league is going to change. It starts with a few people that are extreme and that trickles off to other franchise players and teammates, and eventually some of them are really going to nail it and you get these style icons."

Brady's style, as solid as it is, hasn't become iconic.

"I think it's because he doesn't dress brash and colorful enough," Green said. "He doesn't catch enough people's eyes. He might wear the perfect navy blazer, but at the end of the day it's just a navy blazer.

"Whereas Cam has on like a three-piece plaid suit, more guys are going to take notice of that and try to do their own version of it. … He's not perfect, but he's good by GQ."