Gauche Olympic Fashion: A History

And you thought the 2014 USA uniforms were bad

by Claire Carusillo | January 30, 2014

 

 

photo credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Last week, Ralph Lauren unveiled the Sochi opening ceremony uniforms for Team USA, and the response has not been kind. But while the all-American ugly sweaters deserve the insults, it's worth remembering that Olympic history is littered with goofy, gauche, and unattractive fashion (including this year's German entry). Here are a few of our favorites.   

Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

 

 
Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
At the 1908 games in London, the Danish women's gymnastics team undertook incredible feats of flexibility, considering their team uniforms are straitjackets.

 

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Olympic teams were strictly business in oversized blazers, ankle-length skirts, and sunhats at the 1924 Opening Ceremonies in Paris.

 

Staff/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
For the British women's team, noose-like scarves complemented these skirt suits at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

 

Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
We get it, Team USA. You're cowboys. At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

 

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
The Australian men's team had the opportunity to do a little touristing in white socks and loafers at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

 

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Team South Korea warmed themselves from the bitter cold by the heat of their radioactively neon parkas at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

  

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Team Russia opted for ankle-length seafoam peacoats at the 1992 Winter Olympics.

 

Doug Collier/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Team USA emulated your uncle at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta with a loud polo and a pair of highwaisted khakis.

 

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Not to be outdone by the USA, Team Russia celebrated the 1996 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony louder, brighter, and with more wicker sunhats.

 

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Team Japan was ready to compete, rain or shine, at the Opening Ceremonies in Athens in 2004.

 

William West/AFP/Getty Images
Team Netherlands seemed as shocked as we were that they were wearing these orange and grey get-ups at the Olympics in 2008, not 1988.

 

Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Team Germany forgot to buck the gender binary at the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

 

Lars Baron/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Team Mexico paid homage to traditional garb with this blinding update at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

 

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Last but certainly not least, the Togolese Republic went for the gold in breezy white pants and patchwork tops at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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