Olympic Fashion Roundup: Judging the Team Uniforms

The Olympics kicked off this weekend with the Opening Ceremonies, an endearingly British mash-up of dancing nurses, a Lord Voldemort puppet, the Queen refusing to crack a smile, David Beckham riding in on a speedboat, and an artistic re-creation of the Industrial Revolution. While my favorite moment of all was J.K. Rowling reading Peter Pan, the Parade of Nations was a close second. Of course, the most exciting part of watching each team enter the arena was critiquing their various outfits. Here’s who won my own Fashion Olympics (along with assorted other awards for good measure).

Gold Medal: Paraguay

I loved that Paraguay went with distinct yet complementary ensembles for its men and women; too many other countries make their uniforms too uniform, thus saddling the women with unattractively fitted clothing. Paraguay’s ladies looked cute and its gentlemen dapper.

Silver Medal: Turkey

Turkey’s uniforms were understated and chic, two adjectives in short supply during the Opening Ceremonies. I liked the subtle color combination and the outfits were well-tailored. I also liked that Turkey’s uniforms coordinated with its flag but didn’t go overboard trying to match it.

Bronze Medal: Sweden

Sweden’s uniforms were love them or hate them, and I fell on the side of loving them. One, basically all Swedish people are pretty, so if anyone can pull off a brightly striped polo shirt, it’s probably them. Two, I think the bright blue and yellow combination is fun. Three, they have matching shoes – very cute.

Best Pattern: Cameroon

There were lots of bold prints on display during the Opening Ceremonies, but Cameroon’s was my favorite by far. The design was interesting and putting the bright colors against black fabric really made these uniforms pop.

Best Use of Color: Brazil

Some countries used bright colors for the entirety of their uniforms, which was too much. Brazil, however, was smart and opted for bright bottoms with subdued tops. The bright yellows and greens didn’t overpower the Brazilians but rather looked striking and fun.

Most Underwhelming: Italy and France

Nothing horrifying here, but nothing to write home about either. I expected more from France and Italy, two fashion capitals of the world. Cute purses for the French ladies, though.

Most Simple Yet Effective: Ireland and Canada

While neither country wins a prize for inventiveness, I liked both Ireland and Canada’s uniforms an awful lot. I loved the particular shade of green the Irish were wearing and thought Canada’s red jackets looked sharp.

Most in Need of a Uniform Swap: Australia and Germany

Anyone else do a double take when they saw Germany’s uniforms? The bubblegum pink and blue would have been bad enough, but somehow it seemed even more out of place on Germans. The more I thought about it, the more I felt the Australian and German teams should have just switched uniforms to allow for a better personality match on both sides.

Most Fabulous Headgear: Kiribati and Kazakhstan

I’m not sure if I like their overall uniforms, but Kiribati and Kazakhstan were sporting awesome headgear. Kiribati’s flowered wreaths were beautiful and Kazakhstan’s unique hats were just awesome.

Best Shoes: Romania

I liked Romania’s overall uniform, but I thought their bright yellow shoes were particularly fun. Look at that snazzy conga line of Romanian studs!

Most Picnic-Ready: Angola

The title of this award sums it up, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Angolans are wearing checkered tablecloths rather than actual uniforms.

Best Dressed Ferry Boat Captains: Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic’s uniforms looked very old-timey to me. In fact, I strongly suspect that some of these men captain those tourist ferry boat rides you can take down, like, the Mississippi River.

Most Likely to Have Been Stolen from Ugly Betty’s Closet: Mexico

I kind of love Mexico for being completely unafraid to rock a crazy jumble of bright colors and prints. However, these don’t really look like uniforms but rather like something you see all your crazy drunk uncles wear to a party.

Most Overconfident: Great Britain

Gold-collared jackets, Great Britain? I know the host country always does well at the Olympics, but you might want to take it down a notch – you haven’t won anything yet.

Most Ready to Brave the Rain: Czech Republic

I will say this for the Czech Republic: they thought about the fact that London tends to be rainy and dressed accordingly. Unfortunately for them, the pattern they’re sporting on their rain boots, umbrellas, and – most perplexing of all – their leggings is quite garish.

Most Prep-tastic: Denmark and Serbia

I loved both Denmark and Serbia for being unabashedly preppy. The Danish ladies were totally owning the cute cardigan and skirt combo, while Serbia’s men looked particularly sharp in their collared-shirt-under-a-sweater combination.

Chicest: San Marino

San Marino’s athletes look like they’re going to a wedding, which might seem out of place at the Opening Ceremonies but actually worked here for some reason. The ladies’ dresses looked smart and the guys’ suits were spiffy.

The “Why Do You Hate Your Female Athletes?” Award: Spain

The uniforms for the Spanish men? Solid – fun hats, cool red and yellow belts, nice (albeit bright) blazers. The uniforms for the Spanish women? Atrocious. The skirts were way too shiny, the fan-purses were questionable, and the scarves were over-the-top. Cute shoes though, ladies.

Worst Skirts: Poland and USA

Team Poland’s skirts had odd circular blob thing-ys going on, while Team USA’s skirts were an odd and unflattering length. Overall, I didn’t hate Team USA’s uniforms as much as everyone else, but it is disappointing that Ralph Lauren couldn’t do any better.

Most Unfortunate Jackets: Estonia

What is going on with Estonia’s jackets? Burning question: did they recycle these uniforms from the winter Olympics? Because these jackets don’t seem appropriate for summer.

Best Ties: Gabon and Tonga

I was impressed by how many countries were sporting truly awesome ties. My favorites? Tonga’s striped number and Gabon’s monochromatic red plaid.

Most Aggressive Prints: Malaysia and Togo

In a stadium filled with aggressive prints, Malaysia’s and Togo’s managed to stand out as particularly in-your-face. Malaysia’s skirts reminded me of a tiger and Togo’s shirts were just plain crazy.

Best Color-Blocking: Belgium

A close contender for one of my coveted medals, the Belgian team’s uniforms were fantastic. They did a nice job of incorporating their flag’s colors while also looking classy and sharp. My one complaint: what’s with the two mismatched ladies in front? Why did they get to wear red pants and a red skirt? Throws the whole aesthetic off.

Best Blue Blazers: Tajikistan and Bahamas

The cardinal rule of opening ceremony uniforms? Give your team some spiffy blazers. Two of my favorites were the beautiful blue tones that Team Bahamas and Team Tajikistan were sporting.

Disqualified (Worst Dressed): Burkina Faso

The pants look like scrubs, am I right? And the tops clash with the pants terribly, further contributing to the outfit’s downfall. On a night with many questionable get-ups, Burkina Faso takes the gold medal in awfulness.

Did you watch the opening ceremonies? Who were your personal best dressed?

Image Credits:

  • Czech Republic, Denmark, Paraguay, Romania, San Marino, Serbia via NBC
  • Angola, Bahamas, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, France, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, and USA via Yahoo
  • Dominican Republic, Estonia, Poland, and Sweden via Bleacher Report
  • Brazil via Zimbio
  • Australia, Great Britain, and Italy via New York Times
  • Kazakhstan and Kiribati via Styleite
  • Malaysia via New Straits Times

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