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Secrets to Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith's fashion game, from a Bruce Lee build to hidden zippers

Receiver DeVonta Smith, center, wore his favorite suit of the season ahead of the Eagles' Week 5 game against the Chiefs and had a career-high 122 yards.. Courtesy of Brian Alexander Lunsford

PHILADELPHIA -- Fashion designer Brian Alexander Lunsford started cracking up at the thought of the "special trick" he and Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith use to get the cut of his suits to match his very specific standard.

If you watched Smith accept the 2020 Heisman Trophy, saw him on draft day in April when he was selected 10th overall by Philadelphia, or caught footage of him walking into the stadium on Sundays during his rookie season, you know he takes his suit game seriously. It's a passion that was lit at an early age when his mom made him dress up for church, was stoked in high school when the football team was required to wear dress shirts and ties on game days and has developed to the point where Smith has a degree of fashion expertise that has helped him gain the respect of teammates and experts alike.

"His style is next level," said Tom Marchitelli, who has designed suits for several NFL players, including Smith, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski and most recently, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow for his Super Bowl debut. "There are guys that are wearing perfectly-tailored suits, and then there is DeVonta, who is taking it to another level that most guys aspire to be at.”

Getting to the next level requires some ingenuity. Smith, aptly nicknamed the Slim Reaper, doesn't just like a slim cut -- he wants the suit painted on. But how do you slip your body into such a tight outfit? That's where Lunsford comes in.

"[Smith] is like, 'I want ‘em skinnier!’ I’m like, 'Dude, what?! I don’t think we can go any skinnier. Your foot will barely fit in it,’” said Lunsford, haberdasher and owner of Brian Alexander Bespoke, with a laugh.

"We were running into problems of me getting my foot into the bottom of the pant legs," Smith added, "so we ended up having to put a zipper at the bottom of them so I could put my foot in.”

While the design work might be challenging, Smith's unique frame makes for an ideal canvass. Standing at 6-foot, 170 pounds, Marchitelli likened his build to a "mannequin with extra-long arms and legs." Where the drop from chest to waist size might typically be around four inches, Smith has a 42-inch chest compared to a 32-inch waist, creating the "perfect V-shape."

“He’s about the same size as me," Lunsford said. "Some people would probably say that we’re skinny. I always say that we’re Bruce Lee ripped. I said, ‘Don’t let the suits fool you. We’re cut up underneath.' We can pull off the skinny look, the slim fit. Smitty definitely loves it as slim as it comes.”

Smith, who had a team-high 64 catches for 916 yards with five touchdowns as a rookie, said his favorite suit from this season was the raspberry one he wore against the Kansas City Chiefs in early October. Pink is his favorite color, and it pushed him out of his comfort zone.

"I’m not afraid to take risks. If it’s something that’s crazy, I’m going to wear it,” he said.

It also showed off his keen sense of detail, with everything exquisitely matched, right down to the bag he was carrying.

"If you’re going to wear a suit and you’re going to have a bag, you’ve gotta have a bag to match with it," he said. "That’s just how it is. You can’t half step.”

Smith happened to have arguably his best performance of the season that day, catching seven balls for a career-high 122 yards, marking his first 100-plus yard receiving game in the NFL. Coincidence?

"I had my Spike Lee moment. I said, 'Was it the suit?'" said Lunsford, referencing Nike's "It's gotta be the shoes" ad campaign with Lee and NBA legend Michael Jordan. "He’s already prepared, man. He’s already a professional. The suit just enhances that moment. You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good. So he probably felt really good that day.”

Asked about the similarities between how he approaches the game and fashion, Smith said it's all about business. "Every game day is a business day, so I’m going to put my suit and tie on," he said.

Smith already holds the crown of best-dressed Eagle, a title cornerback Darius Slay decided to give him unprompted at the start of one of his news conferences late in the season. Smith believes it extends beyond his own team.

“I kind of feel I’m already, with the suit and tie, best dressed," he said. "But you’ve got to hold onto it. Keep it consistent. That’s why I do it every game.”

Added Lunsford: “I think he’s literally competing with himself.”