Democracy Dies in Darkness

Early Lead | Perspective

The Post’s least-fashionable employee reviews the 2018 Winter Olympic uniforms

February 9, 2018 at 3:57 PM

It’s time for another Olympics, which means it’s once again time for the world’s finest athletes to parade about in a bunch of flag-themed outerwear. My boss thought it would be a good idea to give an overview of what these proud Olympians will be wearing in PyeongChang, even though I shop at places that have “Outlet” and “Maxx” in their names and have worn a tie to work approximately once in my 20 years at The Washington Post.

I am, by any measure, deeply unfashionable and thus wholly unsuited for this assignment.

But please, read on.

Related: [The Post’s (serious) Olympic coverage, all in one place]

The United States of America!

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Ralph Lauren unveiled Team USA's 2018 Opening Ceremony uniform on Jan. 22. (Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

Ralph Lauren is back with another round of U.S. Olympic team outfits, and, as usual, they say, “I am a tasteful American who enjoys snow competitions and has at some point used the term ‘après-ski‘ in casual conversation.” The parkas that will be worn in the Opening Ceremonies are equipped with built-in heaters that rely upon some sort of magic ink. This is both classic American innovation and classic American absurdity, as we have taken an object that already was ostensibly warm — a parka — and made it unnecessarily warm. The same impulse spawned stuffed-crust pizza, if you think about it, and no invention is more stupidly American than stuffed-crust pizza.

*eats 15 slices of stuffed-crust pizza*

But there’s one accoutrement that’s drawing a lot of attention. See if you can spot it.

Man, those gloves. I feel like they would work both for advanced falconry and amateur smelting. In any case, Ralph Lauren seems to be taking its cues from a classic of American cinema:

Related: [Winter Olympics TV schedule and highlights]


Bermudans are the heroes we need at these games. They are small (only one athlete), but mighty. They care not for the cold. They are here for their spunky scarves, preppy blazers, oddly long socks and, yes, shorts!

I approve, Bermuda. I absolutely approve.


It wouldn’t be the Winter Olympics without Norway’s extravagantly outfitted curlers, and this year will be no different.

The joke here is that flamboyantly garbed golfer John Daly would be proud, but it’s not really a joke because both Daly and the Norwegian curlers are outfitted by the same company, Loudmouth Golf. The team first garnered attention at the 2010 Vancouver Games and then doubled down in Sochi four years later with a host of crazy-quilt styles, from a look inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian . . .

. . . to another that skewed Peak Norway:

There is a Facebook page devoted to the Norwegian curling team’s pants. It has more than 400,000 followers and includes posts such as this:

“If I’m walking down a main street in Oslo wearing the Loudmouth pants, people say, ‘Oh, that’s the curling guy,’ ” Norway curler Christoffer Svae told Time magazine. Curlers remain the best Olympians.


The asterisk is included here because the Russian athletes competing in PyeongChang aren’t really competing for Russia even though they are totally, 100 percent Russian. Because of that country’s years-long doping operation, the IOC banned Russia’s official delegation from the Games and said only carefully vetted athletes could compete under the “Olympic Athletes From Russia” banner, with no Russian flags or symbols anywhere, even though these people are clearly Russian. And thus we have these drab, gray offerings, which seem like something you might encounter if the world’s prisons decided to hold an Olympics.

The non-Russian Russian in the drawing below appears particularly aggrieved:

These being Russian athletes from Russia, red will be rocked, as well. Just look at these smiling faces!


I have no problems with these, as they are Canadianly understated.

Canada’s winter Olympians used to dress as if they were about to rope cattle.


What’s going on here, Finland?

Forbes attempts to explain: “Icepeak meant to outfit the athletes with decisively Finnish aspects from patterns inspired by the Northern Lights to surface design that emulates the silvery gray of the iconic kelo wood.”

Okay, now explain the hats.


France’s winter Olympians, wearing Lacoste, will attempt to be the first winter Olympians to be completely invisible. They certainly will be stylish, though no one will be able to see them.


Who wants to tell them about the weather?

Related: [Coldest Olympics in history? PyeongChang organizers break out the hats and blankets.]

When the Aussies are not leading campus tours for bright-eyed high school seniors, they’ll look like this:

Matt Bonesteel spent the first 17 years of his Washington Post career writing and editing. In 2014, Bonesteel pivoted from the newspaper to online and now he blogs for the Early Lead and other Web-based products owned by The Post.

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