Olympics Fashion Watch: Elegant French Polos, Green Aussie Jackets, and Hideous Spanish Fanny Packs

A Blog About the Olympic Games
July 26 2012 4:00 PM

Olympics Fashion Watch: Elegant French Polos, Green Aussie Jackets, and Hideous Spanish Fanny Packs

The Australian Olympic team
Australian Olympians in the team's green Olympic jackets.

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

Tomorrow evening, national delegations will march into London’s Olympic Stadium in freshly pressed opening ceremony uniforms, many featuring jaunty headgear. But until the teams show off their Friday best, fashion-conscious gawkers and rubberneckers must make do with critiquing the athletes’ informal travel gear.

June Thomas June Thomas

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

As is to be expected, the French earned plaudits for what Britain’s Telegraph described as “elegant” aquamarine polo shirts.

Julien Bahain
France's Julien Bahain of the Olympic rowing team shows off the elegant French polo.

Photo by MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/GettyImages

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The home team’s uniform, designed by Stella McCartney, upset British traditionalists by minimizing the red of the Union Jack in the flag-inspired design.

Jessica Ennis
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis models the Olympic uniform.

Photo by adidas via Getty Images.

The Italians—so chic they called on two of the world’s great design houses, Prada for the sailors and Armani for the rest—ignored flag colors and instead chose a dark blue and white palette.

The oddest trend this year is placing words inside the clothes: The Italian opening ceremony jacket features lines from the national anthem stitched into the lining, and the Australians’ stylish jacket has the names of all the Aussies who have competed in previous Olympics sewn on the inside.

Valentina Vezzali
Team Italy's jackets have lines from the national anthem stitched into the lining.

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images.

Thus far, though, the prize for ugliest uniform goes to Spain. Beijing gold-medal sprint canoer Saúl Craviotto tweeted a photo of himself looking utterly miserable in a polo shirt that looks like a cross between a matador’s traje de luces and a Moorish ceiling, proving that two beautiful things can combine to make one hideous item.

Saúl Craviotto
Saúl Craviotto posted a photo of Spain's new uniforms on Twitter.

Photo via Twitter.

A Spanish website described the public response to the uniforms as “anger and shame,” and said that “if the Olympic Village turns into a parade, the Spaniards aren’t going to be invited.” To be fair, Craviotto does seem to have modeled one of the most unattractive designs in the collection—athletes interviewed by El País as they departed Madrid for London were wearing less garish polos.

Spanish Olympic team fanny pack.
Spanish Olympic team fanny pack.

Screengrab via El País.

There is one item in the Spanish kit that is even more heinous in form and function, however: At the three-minute mark on the El País video, a journalist asks trap shooter Jesús Serrano why he’s the only team member using the official Spain fanny pack. One look at his waist should answer that question.

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