Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms have been revealed, and the critical reaction is.... shrug. “They’re fine, I guess,” said the collective hive-mind of the Internet, because what else did we expect from all-American Ralph Lauren, beyond some preppy gold-buttoned blazers and plenty of Hamptons white?
The product image reveals something for everyone to nitpick, whether it’s the gauche oversize pony logo or the schoolmarmish length of the skirts with those anachronistic bobby socks.
• “There’s something that Ralph does that often times can look costume-y. . .It was a combination of things to me: rich, British private school kids. . .and Mr. Howell from ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ I wasn’t sure if they were really chic crossing guards or Olympians.” — celebrity stylist Robert Verdi, to the New York Daily News.
• “Of course, the iconic Ralph Lauren logo is featured almost as promimently[sic] as the Olympic patch, and what could be more American than branding and product placement?” — Molly Eichel, Philly.com
• “While the guys look fairly dashing in a country club sort of way, I wish the ladies’ were a bit more flattering and form-fitting. When an athlete looks a little lumpy and matronly in an outfit, that concerns me.” — Cheryl Wischhover, Fashionista
And then there’s the berets. Many amateur fashion critics on Twitter shared Fox’s glee in mocking the decision to top off the uniform with a beret — a stereotypical French hat. Harking back to the era of “Freedom” fries, the Francophobia began in earnest, with network France 24 stirring the pot with a smug tweet pointing out Lauren’s choice of headgear.
Except the berets seem to have a militaristic, rather than Gallic, inspiration. American troops wear berets as part of their uniforms, too. Berets have been a part of Team USA Olympic attire before — they were a best-seller in 2002 at Salt Lake City.
If you’d like to look like an Olympian (or an overgrown prep-schooler, a flight attendant, or a dowdy headmistress), all of this can be yours if you’re willing to shell out: The full uniform costs more than $1,500. At $10, you’re better off just going for the Team USA pin.
Also subject to sartorial scorn: The reptilian Nike track & field uniforms, which are said to shave off fractions of a second from an athlete’s time. CBS disliked the white panels on the arms and legs, and the two shades of red on top. Wrote Jerry Hinnen: “Here's wishing Nike had kept things just a little on the simpler side.”