Growing up, WNBA all-star and 2022 SI Swimsuit model Sue Bird never worried about fashion when putting on her uniform to play basketball. Off the court, it was a different story. “It’s been a struggle because I feel like there was what I knew I felt comfortable in, but I knew that didn’t match up with, I guess, what society was telling a girl, a woman was beautiful,” Bird says. Even in the beginning of her career, she faced similar issues when people on photo shoot sets would point her in the direction of dresses to wear when her eyes went to the sportier outfits.
Over the last several years, the Seattle Storm guard has really come into her own in regards to beauty and fashion, and she knows what looks fly. “What’s been really fun for me is just really finding myself from a fashion sense,” the 41-year-old shares. “I would much rather wear some dope suit and some sneakers, hair done and whatnot. I like that juxtaposition. Something like that versus a dress, and yet in the suit, I’ve never felt more feminine. And I feel like I’ve never felt younger because I’ve been able to figure myself out a little bit and find out what works for me. You get to exhale a little bit and just kind of enjoy.”
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When she does opt to wear a dress, it’s on her terms. “If there’s a certain event or a wedding, now it’s like there are times where I do wear dresses, but it’s my choice,” she says. “And so I’m excited to wear it. I don’t feel forced. It just has changed the whole dynamic on how I view gender rules within clothing, and it’s been so much fun.”
Regardless of what people see appearance-wise, the most important thing for Bird is what is on the inside. “Beauty to me is really feeling good about yourself,” she notes. “It’s not necessarily what appears on the outside. If what you wanted to look like on the outside and you achieved that goal, then yeah, that’s part of beauty as well, but I think there’s that inner beauty. It’s really important to work on that. It has nothing to do with the outside.”