Tag Archives: Olympics

Olympic Uniforms, 2014

Photo copyright Ralph Lauren Media LLC

You’ve got to hand it to him.  Ralph Lauren did exactly as he promised and followed through with his pledge to have the Team USA ceremonial Olympic uniforms made entirely in the USA.  Not only were they made here, but all the materials were sourced domestically as well.  It was not an easy task, but earlier this week the results were unveiled.

The media focus seems to be entirely on one piece – the schoolteacher Christmas sweater gone wild as seen above.  I mean really, was Lauren just trying to get even with all the complainers of 2012?  “They want Made in the USA?  I’ll give them Made in the USA they’ll never forget!”  could possibly have been his thought process.

Photo copyright Ralph Lauren Media LLC

But once he got that out of his system, the design team came up with some really great looking sportswear.  I think the pea coat is really sharp.  Yes, it does have the Polo Logo prominently displayed, but even that is toned down from the past few Olympics.  Could it be that Ralph Lauren actually listens to his critics?

Photo copyright Ralph Lauren Media LLC

As bad as the cardigan is, this sweater is really great.  It says all it needs to say:  winter sports, Olympics, Team USA.  And there is a similar one with reindeer on the front, and this design on the back.

You can see (and buy) most of the collection at RalphLauren.com.  The stuff is not cheap.  The pea coat is $795.  Unfortunately, you can’t buy the tacky patchwork sweater as it is sold out.  Things are selling quickly, so act fast!

Polo does not make the active apparel for competition.  Each sports contracts with a manufacturer to develop and make their clothing.

Photo copyright Burton Snowboards

This, believe it or not, is the gear for the USA snowboarding team.  It was made by snowboarding company Burton.  The backstory of the parka design is interesting, and is worth reading.  It is based on an actual antique patchwork quilt, reinterpreted in high-tech performance fabrics.   It seems a bit understated for snowboarders, but I do think it is a great adaptation of an antique textile design.

Fashion Magazine did a feature on their favorite Olympic uniforms from around the world.  There is a slideshow, so click through to see if you agree with their favorites.  Personally, I love the Polish team’s look.  Really.

I also liked Canada’s uniforms, which were made by the Hudson’s Bay Company.  The red duffle coat is nice and is for sale on their website.  Unlike Polo, they outsourced their uniforms, and consequently they are half the price of the Polo ones.  They do, to my eye, look cheaper.

Photo copyright Sports Illustrated

And speaking of duffles, here is a Sports Illustrated cover from 1956, showing figure skaters Hayes Jenkins and Tenley Albright in their official USA Olympic coats.   An old episode of Pawn Stars was on yesterday in which a woman took into the pawn shop an identical coat.  It had an official Olympic Committee label inside, and the patch.  They paid her $850 for it.  (She found it in a thrift store for $15.)


Filed under Made in the USA, Sportswear, Viewpoint

Winter, 1910

Yes, it is winter, even here in the South.  We had snow on Thursday and flurries again today, so I’m in the mood for something warm and fashionable.  This sheet music cover from 1910 fits the bill quite nicely!

By 1910, women were getting into sports in a very big way, but for the most part they were still expected to wear long skirts while participating.  I can’t help but think how many ripped hems, not to mention twisted ankles, resulted.

The first woman to compete in the Ice Skating World Championship was Great Britain’s Madge Syers, who in 1902 entered the competition against men.  There was no mention of gender in the rulebook, but that was due to the fact that women had never competed in such events, and it just did not occur to the judges that a woman might enter.  She came in second, but after the contest, women were barred.   The committee stated that it was unsafe for women to compete due to the long skirts.

Three years later women got their own World Championship competition, an event won by Ms. Syers for the first tw years.  And in 1908 she won the first women’s figure skating gold metal, and at age 27, she remains the oldest winner of the gold in Olympic history.

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Filed under Proper Clothing, Winter Sports