Perhaps you’ve caught the reports that living conditions in the Olympic Village of Sochi, Russia are a little less than luxurious. Athletes sharing bathroom stalls, people getting stuck in elevators and questionable drinking water have all raised an international eyebrow, but that hasn’t stopped the Olympic athletes from being the talk of the glamour-hungry fashion world.
If you watched the opening Olympic Ceremonies, you were able to be a witness to what is perhaps the most talked about fashion show in the entire world. Each country’s athletes, waving flags and smiling, paraded proudly through the ceremony arena in matching outfits while being greeted by the adoring public. To the average onlooker, these brightly colored jackets, matching hats and sportswear-esque costumes were designed to make a gallant entrance of optimism; the only thing missing from their necks were gold medals.
It is a high-stakes runway, as the entire world watches from the comfort of their own televisions. Photos of the looks were circulating on the internet weeks before the ceremony began, and reporters were weighing in to create a public opinion. You may have seen the press on the boldly-patterned cardigans worn by our home country. The cardinal, cream and navy wool sweaters were some of the least conservative designs seen trotting across the television coverage in Sochi and were designed by Ralph Lauren and made in the U.S.
The feedback on the U.S. fashion statement has been a mixed bag. Some people said with a little notice their grandma could have knit something similar; others said it was like Times Square in a sweater. This hasn’t stopped the overall success of the sweaters, however, and the numbers are doing the talking; the sweaters are sold out, with re-sales of the $595 cardigans on eBay already in the thousands.
There is an entire collection of Team USA wear that is being sold through Ralph Lauren, and it definitely stays true to the American ideal of tradition. Boxy shapes, traditional polos and clean lines are designed to capture the regal flair of spacious skies and amber waves of grain. Perhaps you would rather pay this term’s tuition for the same cost as one of the coveted sweaters, but it isn’t too late to snag Olympic-worthy looks of your own. If you are looking for some new athletic gear and want to make a gold-medal statement, check out the Nike website. They have an Olympic collection where prices for a T-shirt start at $40 and range up to high-quality running jackets for $450. If you do still have some leftover holiday money and you want the real deal, there are still some available items on the Ralph Lauren website for Team USA, with the lowest priced item a T-shirt for $60.
Being a college kid doesn’t always mean we have the dough to blow on our unfulfilled Olympian fashion fantasies, however, and if you’re living on minimum wage and ramen, there are still style tips to make the crowd go wild. Here are some tips for finding Olympic style in your own wardrobe or on a dime.
Think in color
Naturally red, white and blue are the colors of patriotic pride, and there are ways of getting creative on a limited palette. The Team USA collection is deeper than the electric red, white and blue that we see around Independence Day. Take some liberty with what you can make of what you have. Blue jeans, a maroon sweater and an off-white scarf could be all you need to feel a surge of patriotism in time for the closing ceremonies.
Go with the theme
The Ralph Lauren look is iconic and is hallmarked by chunky sweaters, clean lines and bold colors. Consider pulling out those old khaki corduroys and pairing it with your thickest wool jacket. Stay mindful of the tailored silhouette and benefits of luxury fabric. Whatever you do, don’t dress like an ice skater. Excessive Spandex has no place off the rink.
Search for budget treasure
Give a local thrift store a chance and search for a cheap Team USA statement. Bold colors like blue and red can often end up in the discard pile once spring cleaning comes around, and thick fabrics like wool are safe bets when considering recycled clothes. Steer clear of questionable-looking hats or overly stinky shoes, but do make time for the hunt! You never know; one of those Team USA sweaters may have accidentally ended up in the ugly sweater rack.
Accessories for the win
Details are always a great way to take a look to the next level. Perhaps you don’t have a red, white and blue look you are a fan of, but still want to put your own Olympic flair into the gray Portland days. Star earrings or bangles are a small and sweet feminine way of incorporating pride, and anything local and American-made is about as patriotic as it gets!