To be clear, I award all countries in attendance an A+ for effort on their Olympic uniforms for the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics – notably in light of tough economic times. But in fashion, as in the Olympic games themselves, there are winners and losers. While the frocks certainly did not take centre stage over the past two weeks, let us take a moment to celebrate another achievement: The Best Dressed List.
Between Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell walking through the closing ceremonies in McQueen, and the number of designers who partook in the creation of the national garbs, you would think these summer games were Fashion Week. Stella McCartney did a phenomenal job on the demure union jack for the host teams’ athletic gear, Ferregamo pulled through with well tailored and clean looks for San Marino, Armani and Prada created sleek designs for Italy, luxury brand Hermes did what they do best for the French equestrian team, and even the Americans looked dashing in their controversial Ralph Lauren ensembles.
London Olympics Best Dressed – Bronze for Azerbaijan
Italian designer Ermanno Scervino did a marvelous job taking the classic blue and white combo, and updating it with a burst of national colour. The pattern used on the women’s scarves and the men’s ties was a bold print that emulated the flag. To polish off the look, the women’s blazers were cinched in at the waist with a red-patent belt. The kit made the team look smart and put together, without hampering creativity. A bold accessory – be it a tie, a bag, jewelry, or even socks – is a great way to show some individuality without going overboard.
London Olympics Best Dressed – Jamaica Takes Silver
Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella did a phenomenal job on her collaboration with Puma for the Jamaican kit. Whimsical prints, bright neon hues, military-inspired jackets, sporty colour blocking, and skinny ties – what’s not to like? In my opinion, this look embodies the spirit behind national uniforms. It represents the Jamaicans’ playful nature and national pride in a tasteful way. Though chartreuse is slightly jarring in most professional settings, not to mention a little bright for fall casual wear, it is a lovely way to brighten up athletic apparel.
London Olympics Best Dressed – And the Gold Goes to the Netherlands
As the Dutch would say, this outfit is certainly “gezellig”. It’s no wonder the kit Suit Supply created for the team from the Netherlands has been so well received. The colours were on trend, the cuts impeccable for both sexes, and the tone playful yet professional. Immaculate details, right down to the orange tulip corsage. The dark blazers with white piping, the knitted tie, the bold use of colour, the cable knit sweaters, and the perfectly executed layering, all made for an effortlessly-preppy ensemble straight from the runway. The orange and cobalt blue hues aren’t for everyone – indeed, I think it takes Dutch courage to pull off those bright trousers – but muted tangerine and navy are very suitable alternatives. Whether you choose to colour block, or simply brighten up an outfit with a bold accessory, you can’t go wrong with inspiration from this outfit.
How to Get The Look of the Dutch
London Olympics: The Best Dressed Runner-ups
Denmark was winning with sleek Scandinavian cuts, but missed medal contention because of their un-tucked shirts; Belize stood out in a bright blue blazer with white piping, but the look was a little too “Gatsby” for the games; France took a very modern approach, but lost points for the unflattering boxy cuts; Paraguay succeeded in bringing some flair to the opening ceremonies with a low cut red dress, but the men failed to stand up to their female counterparts.
Final Say on London Olympics Best Dressed
I thought it would be entertaining to write my first fashion article on the Olympics because my father competed in bobsledding in Calgary 88′. If its any consolation, the outfit he wore as the flag bearer in the opening ceremonies for Portugal was horrendous – and yes, I do own an original Jamaican bobsled team sweater, I love Cool Runnings. Prehaps that is why I am so dedicated to watching the opening ceremonies – with no athletic talent whatsoever, it seems I am fated to watch the games from the sidelines, repenting my family’s past fashion sins.
That and the fact that I think its so wonderful to see the excitement felt on behalf of the entire world as we celebrate our greatest athletic achievements – I have such respect for good sportsmanship. And for those of you who, like me, cringed when they saw their country’s uniforms, there is still hope. Just like the athletes, those countries who didn’t make the cut this year will have a chance at redemption at Rio 2016.
Let the preparations begin!