The W in Designer | Playoff style match: Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney –

Study the styles of two league guards who share similar accomplishments off the field.

This weekend brings another exciting round of the 2022 WNBA Playoffs presented by Google between the Chicago Sky guard Kahleah Copper and the guard of the New York Liberty Betnijah Laney. Copper strikes with his skill on the court in a spirited and unapologetic style, which creates a strong contrast with his discreet arrivals at games. On the other hand, Laney signals her presence at games with a dazzling smile before moving around the court so deftly it looks like she’s dancing with the ball. Driven by the league’s core value of inclusiveness, both guards represent the wide range of expressions that are unique to WNBA player personalities.

Besides their aggressive display of athletic skills, Cooper and Laney are unique in the way they play with other team members. Both players stand out for how they suddenly provide in-game support at any position and bring a discerning eye when watching their team play. Copper even bolstered her coaching skills by becoming an assistant coach at Purdue Northwest for the 2020-21 season. With Copper as a sly and subtle player who is always ready to strike and Laney as an aggressive player with a graceful presence, they express fierce attitudes on the court in very different ways. But, these two guards also share similar backgrounds as notable Rutgers alumni and current Adidas roster athletes. Recently, both players wore Adidas during their All-Star Weekend appearances.

Comparing Copper’s in-game behavior with Laney’s, their pre-game outfit choices and uniform performances contain a mix of similar and different traits. Though they wear comfy sweatshirts, Copper has streetwear-inspired cuts while Laney opts for a city-ready “baddie” style. These two guards also have similar neutral color palettes sometimes interrupted by Copper’s bold neon yellow clothes and Laney’s hot pink outfits. As both players introduce contemporary twists to classic player fashion, this playoff-style matchup breaks down their various approaches to style:

Iced Out Chains vs. Baddie Hoop Earrings

If Copper had a signature pregame outfit accessory, it would be an Iced Out Jewel. Throughout the season, Copper has worn a heavy Cuban chain covered in diamonds, a bling-out “K”-shaped pendant or a circular photo pendant surrounded by small square-cut stones. Sometimes she even stacks different combinations of chains to bring extraordinary shine to simple graphic tees and jeans. Although Copper and Laney are both Adidas athletes, Copper pairs his affinity for icy pieces with rap-worthy designer brands like Rick Owens, Gallery Department, Fear of God ESSENTIALS, Balenciaga, and more.

Since Laney plays for the New York Liberty, it’s no surprise that her most frequently worn accessory is a pair of gold hoop earrings. Her wardrobe combines preppy and hip-hop villain pieces, and Laney has worn hoop earrings of different sizes to match each look. Her larger pair of hoops could step out in an outfit with bold leather pants and Yeezy sneakers, while her smaller pair rock sportier outfits with a pleated skirt and classic bomber jacket. Unlike other more style-consistent players, Laney dresses in a versatile range of aesthetics.

Cozy and comfortable silhouettes vs tracksuits with sexy cuts

Sweatshirts are one of the most popular garments for athletes, providing comfort when traveling or preparing for a game. With a fiery demeanor on the court, Copper maximizes his pre-game comfort with oversized hoodies paired with matching bottoms or printed basketball shorts. Copper understands the art of wearing multiple oversized pieces – she’ll wear a strategically-length t-shirt that hangs below her sweatshirt or create strong coordination between her hoodie and shorts. Copper’s laid-back approach to fashion also includes canvas tote bags from streetwear brands for a practical yet stylish bag option.

Laney has also worn tracksuits in her pre-game outfits, but gravitates towards form-fitting pieces and sexy cropped cuts. Even when she’s wearing a sporty set of honor the gift, the clothing brand of Russell Westbrook, Laney will choose slimmer silhouettes rather than typical sweatpants with a looser shape. Although Laney dresses in streetwear-inspired elements like denim, camouflage, and bold prints, she sometimes incorporates pops of bright color that make her stand out. Seeing Laney in eye-catching hot pink outfits primes fans for her impressive in-game performance that balances graceful movement with flashy footwork.

Unconventional Color Pairings vs. Chic Color Coordinating

Cooper constructs outfits with surprising color-matching moments, leaving his opponents guessing his next move. She’ll pair an all-black leather ensemble with contrasting white leather boots and an unexpected “PIXBURGH all over print” from John Geiger. Although she has an overall neutral color palette, Copper builds outfits around clothing in striking colors like highlighter yellow, forest green, and bright orange. Even when she’s wearing a striking outfit, Copper looks away from the cameras in most of her pre-game photos. She carries an interesting mix of wanting to be seen and wanting to keep a low profile until it’s time to strike.

Laney creates her high athlete style with highly color-coordinated outfits that feature sharp pieces like oversized blazers. She is more likely to be seen in a matching ensemble with interesting patterns than working around a single unconventional piece of clothing. As Laney was still recovering from knee surgery in early June, she showed up for her team in impressive on-court outfits with heels and ripped silhouettes. Whether watching a game or getting ready to play, Laney establishes her presence with her dazzling smile and her model posture.

Assassin Energy on the Court vs. Queen of the Court Energy

Copper is a deadly on-the-field assassin who bonds with Candace Parker through her irresistible sense of competitiveness. It’s only fitting that Copper’s essential in-game accessory is a black WNBA headband that she wears in almost every game, with her hair in a long ponytail. Copper wears more performance accessories than other players by wearing leg sleeves, arm sleeves and, occasionally, shin guards. Judging by the way she dresses in her uniform, Cooper is always ready to dive after loose balls, take daunting positions and set new career highs in her matches.

Known as “Queen B” to her teammates, Laney has a regal energy on the court that shows in the way she dresses for games. Her long hair is tied back in ponytails, with no added distractions. Laney has strong, arched eyebrows which give her a focused and ready for anything facial expression that comes out during games. She also doesn’t make too many additions to her team’s standard uniform, other than the occasional one leg sleeve or a pair of compression shorts. Each player pays close attention to the minor details of their in-game outfits. Studying their shoes, Laney also wears shorter socks than most other players.

WNBA reporter Kirsten Chen writes a lifestyle and fashion column for throughout the season and can be reached on Twitter via @hotgothwriter. The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the WNBA or its clubs.

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