Every other year, I lose all sense of reality and give up my social life to obsess over the Olympics. It’s not just the unscripted human drama (easily trumping any run-of-the-mill reality show) that captures my black-as-coffee heart…it’s the apparel, as well. Without further ado, here are some of the kits on display for the 2014 Winter Olympics, along with links to where you can buy the outfits (click on the country)!
Hello, Team Ugly Sweater, did you come from Bridget Jones’s mum’s jumper collection?
This mish-mash of styles is what happens when there are too many ideas together in a room. There’s something going on in every quadrant of the jacket. Wouldn’t it have been better to have one or two patterns and leave the rest of the sweater RL’s trademark blue? Ralph Lauren designed understated New England-inspired wear for the 2012 summer games, but here he’s ski-jumped over the top.
There’s some great subtle shading on the jacket pattern, but it starts to get a wee bit too busy against the wraparound graphic. Or, you may dismiss it by thinking it looks artfully smoke-damaged.
Oh those clever Teutons like to be playful at Olympic time! They went for an Easter egg hunt-inspired look at the summer games in London, and here they go for a rainbow that some think is a subtle protest against Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.
I think they look less like Pride flags and more like what I imagine the cast members of The Electric Company wore for promotional appearances. Like with Team USA, there are too many colors and patterns begging for attention all at once. And did they borrow those pants from the Pretty Little Liars wardrobe department?
Then again, there’s the sin of doing just one solid color. These aren’t outfits, these are Hazmat suits that defected en masse.
Sadly, they wore the only thing they ever, ever wear at any Olympic parade of nations — their namesake shorts. In WINTER. Next time, maybe they can shake thigns up with some Wicked Witch of the West-type socks?
Fun fact: In addition to being an Olympian, the flag bearer is also a Rhodes Scholar. Slacker.
It’s the Dutch, so it’s just plenty of orange (EXCEPT FOR THE GUY ON THE RIGHT WTF WITH YOUR GREEN SHOES DO YOU THINK YOU’RE SPECIAL?)
I’m guessing given the tension between the Dutch and the Russians over human rights, the Dutch ditched their traditional green-and-orange festive gear from Vancouver 2010 and went for something more funereal. Sort of like wearing black to your bitch cousin’s afternoon garden party wedding.
It’s Team USA, circa 1981! This would have worked better if they had used red in the coat and blue on the pants. The men look like the most dour hipsters to ever come out (hee hee) of Portland…whereas the women are dressed like Father Christmas. I was hoping for some very high ushankas, but since temps in Sochi are in the high 30s, there’s no need for them. Pout.
Side note: Look at what the name carrier is wearing! The ornate headgear appears to be an oversized garden trellis, and she’s wearing what seems to be an upper-body defense shield, repurposed from one of those water walking balls. It’s all positively Gaga-esque. (Or, since they’re in Russia, Gaga’s doppelganger Olya Polyakova. Find her on YouTube. You won’t be sorry.)
Who was best dressed? Here is our podium:
Bronze Medal: Sweden
This outfit is all about the scarves. Is it Art Deco? Is it a 70s geometric wallpaper pattern? No, it’s team Sweden! Guess who designed their outfits? H&M, who will also design the Swedish kits for the 2016 summer games.
Silver Medal: Canada
I wasn’t over the moon about their “Best Buy” look from London 2012, but LOOK at these blazing coats!
The patches on the shoulders subtly show the team affiliation and corporate logos without being ostentatious, and the contrasting wine-stained bands break up a sea of red. The toggled enclosures set this off for an elegant winter look. It’s tough to find pea coats that work outside of the black/navy spectrum, and this pulls out all the stops. Oh, and you can’t see it, but there’s a hood to give you that full fairy tale effect without being nauseating. Must. Buy.
Gold Medal: France
Vive la France! Oui, oui!!! Lacoste delivers a sophisticated, elegant, modern yet classic look. It’s all about the sexy silhouette combined with the utility of the padded jacket that sets this off. I especially enjoy the way the woman’s version has an elegant belt that pulls off at the side as a surprise. Felicitations France, et bien fait.
For those of you who aren’t watching the games due to Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, you can still send a message with this new line from American Apparel, echoing Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter.
By the way, with references to Tchaikovsky, ballet, and Eisenstein, the opening ceremony was plenty gay.
But what about the outfits that weren’t worn in the opening ceremony? They’re worthy of mention as well, like NORWAY:
You know how they say “this is everything” and “I feel all the feelings”? Well, the sheer audacity of these suits is so deliberately insane, and yet STILL captures the essence and colors of their national flag, that they make me feel absolutely everything and all the feelings at once. Someone buy this for me. (Their opening ceremony outfit was some white coat with baby blue slacks. Yawn.)
And finally, Mexico’s sole competitor, Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe (gesundheit), in his competition outfit:
Three words that will make my life forever: MATADOR SKI SUIT. I hope if he doesn’t get a medal, he gets to work with Karl Lagerfeld in a specially collection for Rossignol. In the meantime, Prince Hubertus’ Wikipedia page will make you want to be as awesome as he is, when you grow up.
Or as awesome as Johnny Weir:
Let the games begin!