London Fashion: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the 2012 Olympics

Editor’s Note:  Not being of the fashion sensibility myself, I decided to outsource the commentary on Team USA’s Olympic fashion sense to someone who at least claims to have a good read on it. So she says. Kelli Eason is an LSU alumna and public relations professional living in Memphis, Tenn. For the record, she is known to wear hot pink shorts often, and I personally liked the Opening Ceremony uniforms.

Let me start by saying I love the Olympics. I love the sports, I love the camaraderie and I love that the entire world almost seems to get along for two weeks. I love these games, but sometimes I get a little distracted by what the athletes are wearing. So let’s take a break in talking about the athletes’ performance for a second and talk about…their outfits.

The Good (And the Interesting)

1.    The Medals

Example of the gold medals awarded at the 2012 London Olympics

As an LSU fan, of course I’m a little biased, but I love those royal purple straps, especially when paired with a shiny gold medal. If I won one, I’d definitely sing the home of the TIGERS with my new bling.

2.    Water Polo Robes and American Flag Speedos

Team USA water polo

Team USA looks like a bunch of Rocky Balboas when they come out. They even wear the robes open, AND they are ‘Merica colors. I don’t think I’d last 10 seconds playing water polo, but if I could, these guys would be intimidating. Also their flag speedos are patriotic, and I’ll admit that I enjoy them.

3.    The Olympic rings tattoos

Olympic Rings tattoo craze
Oy, Matt Grevers’ smile is as golden as his medals…oh, and he has those tattoos…

I’m not sure if this really counts as fashion, but it’s something unique that only happens at the Olympics, so it gets a mention. Has anyone else noticed the Olympic rings tattoos? I have noticed them on the male swimmers this year, but I know lots of other Olympians have them. It’s the placement on the USA male swimmers’ right biceps that intrigued me. It works for me.

4.    Black and white swim caps

Team USA white swim caps (day swims)Team USA black swim cap (night swims)

Not that this is some huge fashion statement, but I thought it was cool. The USA swimmers wear white caps during their day events and black caps during night events. They’re just so clever.

The Bad

1.    Gymnastics leotards that aren’t red, white and/or blue during competitions

To be fair, the USA women’s gymnastics team wore some great red leotards during one of their competitions. They also wore purple and pink in others. Of course they always look great, but come on, people. ‘Merica!


You tell me which one looks a little snazzier competing for her country.

2.    T-shirts in beach volleyball. And how they should go away.

Beach volleyball with T-shirts

This goes for both men and women. I understand they’re in London and it’s a little chilly there (about 55 degrees at night, to be exact). Seems as though London could utilize some of those nifty heat lamps every restaurant with a patio employs in the winter, no? At least Team USA is doing it right, though. Nothing looks more awkward to me than the athletes that put their t-shirts UNDER their bathing suit tops. That’s just not even functional, what if they get hot and want to take it off?

Beach Volleyball without t-shirts

3.    The Hair

Danell Leyva's Dad's hair Kohei Uchimara's hair

I’m actually totally neutral on most of the hair in this Olympiad. But let’s be honest, when I’m talking about bad hair, I’m talking about two people: Danell Leyva’s dad and his salty mohawk and that Japanese gymnast, Kohei Uchimura, that I’m confident was an anime character before he was an Olympian. It’s almost creepy…his hair doesn’t move!

The Ugly

1.    Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms

I know I’m not alone in feeling some disappointment in Team USA’s opening ceremony attire. With all the hype leading up to these uniforms – being designed by Ralph Lauren and made in China – I thought they might at least be exciting. Unfortunately, my opinion is that they made our athletes look like snobby sailors, rigid private school children or in the case of Lebron, big guy in a little coat. I loved India’s uniforms, as they were traditional and flowed really beautifully. My advice for next time would be to get something that might call to our heritage a bit, or at least look nice.

Team USA Opening Ceremony Uniforms

All in all, the fashion statements being made at the 2012 Olympic Games are not going to make or break them. That said, it is pretty interesting to watch and talk about. Well, fashion statements and China’s antics, anyway.

Editor’s Honorable Mention – Parker Wishik

Okay so I HAVE made a handful of observations Kelli has neglected.

1.  Team USA Women’s Soccer Uniforms

Reminds you somewhat of the nautical theme? I personally am warming to them. They channel the flag and feature the stripe patterns familiar to European soccer – though with the stripes horizontal, they’re more akin to rugby unis.

Team USA women's soccer uniforms
Personally, Alex Morgan could sell any uniform to me.

2.  Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser’s Beach Volleyball Wardrobe

Rogers and Dalhausser

The defending gold medalists from Beijing may have just been bounced in the Round of 16 (tear), but they had been rocking some awesome Americana on the beach, with different uniform on each match.

3.  Team USA Nike lime green kicks

Team USA Nike Sneakers

Boy, these are EVERYWHERE. Our athletes have been wearing them at all stages of the Olympics, from actual competition in events like fencing and track and field to standing on the medal podium (Gabby Douglas and Kayla Harrison) to on-air TV interviews.

What are your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “London Fashion: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the 2012 Olympics

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