Mystics Guard Ariel Atkins’ Personality Shines Through Fashion
May 1, 2023 @ 2:00pm
The basketball player on how D.C. influenced her style, the design process for her new clothing line and how she customizes her uniform.
We are spotlighting the myriad voices redefining what it means to be stylish in the nation’s capital — from designers and stylists to entrepreneurs and athletes whose unique stories and perspectives shape bold visions. Check out our full Curators of Style roundup in the May issue here.
Is there a better name for a basketball player than Ariel? Sound it out if you need, but know that Ariel Atkins is a consummate baller. The Washington Mystics drafted the 5-foot-8-inch guard out of Texas with the seventh pick in 2018. Since then, she’s racked up wins on multiple continents, including Europe, Asia and Australia, on her way to an Olympic gold medal, two WNBA All-Star selections and a 2019 WNBA championship. As if that wasn’t enough, her own clothing line, designed right here in the heart of D.C., is just taking off. We caught up with Atkins to talk her idea of style and how that translates to her own brand.
District Fray: How do you define “style”?
Ariel Atkins: Style is 100% personal. The biggest thing is to allow yourself to feel what you’re wearing and not be afraid to let your personality speak through your clothing.
What does your style say about you?
My style can really range from sporty chic to business-y, from minimal to more fun. I’m definitely a neutral-palette type of person, but I’m learning that my “neutral” can be colors as well. I wore a powder-blue cropped blazer at the Final Four weekend.
What’s the story behind your brand?
I always wanted to look up into the stands and see my own gear. And honestly, there hasn’t always been access to WNBA jerseys. They’re expensive as well. If you don’t want to buy the $100 jersey, but you want to support one of your favorite players, support women’s basketball. I have different price tags for different shirts, depending on what quality you buy. They’re all good quality, but some of it is great quality.
What’s your design process like?
It’s really just me, drawing away on my iPad, figuring out how to incorporate things that are important to my basketball storyline and how to get them across to the world.
How has D.C. influenced your style?
I’ve never really been in a place with a winter before I stayed in D.C. That was the first time I was keen on playing with different layers and textures. Can I put this blazer under a trench? Can I put this larger jacket over a tighter denim? And literally just walking around D.C. and seeing how people might wear the same clothes differently.
You literally wear a uniform to work. How do you make it yours?
I wear tights because my legs get cold and an undershirt to keep my posture in check. They also work towards my style because I do the “covered up” look. The biggest thing is choosing what shoes I wear. Sometimes I want to be simple, low-key, match-my-uniform. Other times, I’m like, “I’m feeling fluorescent today,” so highlighter-green shoes or pink KDs. And there’s no specific reason — just how I’m feeling.
What’s next for you and your brand?
I have some really cool stuff in the works, like working with other designers and adding more flair. And this season, with me growing into the person that I want to be, you’ll see a more confident style coming from me.
Check out Atkins’ new collection at arielatkins.net and follow her on Instagram @iamarielatkins.
Want insight on the best local guides and creators to follow? Join the District Fray community for exclusive access to content made and curated by some of the coolest D.C. residents. Become a member and support local journalism today.