The Olympics are Fabulous (Sometimes)

In case my excessive tweeting hadn’t tipped anyone off, I fucking love the Olympics. Love them. I spent the entire afternoon enraptured by fencing. (And looking up lessons, because nothing says “good idea” like me and sharp objects, am I right?) I also love making bitchy, sarcastic commentary on things I probably have no business critiquing, and because I was bored today, I decided what better to do than semi-belatedly (and only on the internet can “24 hours after” be considered “belated”) critique the fashion from the Parade of Nations? That’s right. Nothing could be better. After all, coming together as a world to mock countries that aren’t ours is what the Olympics are really about.

I think Belgium might have been my favorite out of the entire parade. It peaked super early. But they illustrate an excellent point – always go preppy. Not airline-preppy, prep-school preppy. Gosh, you look adorable, Belgium. Snaps.

How quickly you sour, Olympic fashion. A lot of people thought this was a tribute to the Monty Python Gumbys sketch, like this excuses bright blue rain boots and spandex that makes the baby Jesus weep. First of all, if they were doing a tribute, they needed to go whole-hog and have those weird tied kerchiefs on their head. And furthermore, while I understand wanting to pay tribute to your host nation, this is what you chose, Czech Republic? Really? The United Kingdom has a rich cultural history, not to mention fashion history, and you were not inspired by any of that, but a sketch about a group of morons whose catchphrase is “my brain hurts”, that’s where you found your muse!

Look at your life, Czech Republic. Look at your choices.

You know those Hot and Cold thermal bags that look like they’re made of crinkly tinfoil? Apparently, Estonia does, because it looks like their jackets were part of a Project Runway challenge where they had to re-purpose things they found in a Target. Though I do give them props for their clear commitment to recycling.

One of my best friends, Teija, (who, incidentally, is from Finland) is getting married. One day we were discussing how the sudden influx of wedding-related e-mails meant that the sidebar ads were taking a turn for the strange. The ad we spent the most time boggling over was one for this service called Love Is Art, which supplies body paint that you and your partner cover yourself in, then you lay out a canvas, and then you, well. You know. Get down to business.

Because of Teija, I always pay special attention to how Finland does in the Olympics. And literally the first thing I thought was “oh my god, the pattern is from the Love Is Art people! Teija is going to die!” But no, no, it’s apparently some sort of Finnish landscape. The motto of these uniforms seems to be “Finland, where everything is so bleak our landscape gets confused for paint splatters”.

This is by far the outfit that upset my mother the most. Not just because she’s always hated the pink is for girls, blue is for boys thing, either. “Those aren’t Germany’s colors,” she kept repeating. “THOSE AREN’T GERMANY’S COLORS.” And then I had to hold back a really terrible pun about “would you say this is Anarchy in the UK?!” Mostly because I knew she wouldn’t get the reference.

Though we both agreed the scarves were nice.

India’s such a jerk. They have the prettiest native costume and they know it. “I hope your serape comforts you while you suck it, Mexico,” they cackle. They’re the worst. By which I mean they’re the best. They’re like the Chinese gymnastic team in Olympics of ethnic costumes. And they know they’ve got looking the fliest on lockdown until the Japanese get the balls to come out in full-on kimonos.

Goddammit, India.

A lot of countries tried to pull off the hats, and a lot of countries failed. And if you’d polled me about which countries could totally pull off fedoras and white pleated pants, I’m not gonna lie, South Korea would not be on my list. But dudes, they look baller. I like to imagine that they dressed so well because the Olympic opening ceremonies are like going to a wedding when you know your crazy ex is going to be there. “Why yes, North Korea,” these outfits say, “I’m leading a satisfying and fulfilled life without your totalitarian dictatorship. Also, lately I’ve been trying a diet rich in antioxidants, and I feel like it’s really working for me.”

My mom actually clocked out somewhere in the J’s or K’s to check her e-mail and go to bed. She was literally on the first step and going upstairs with her fudgicle when Mexico came on and I screamed for her to come see and mock with me. Look, I can stand by crazy color, and I realize that Mexico is far more liberal with the neons than my staunchly New Englander soul is comfortable with. But for the love of God, at least all wear coordinating color, and do not edge your ponchos with faux fur in neon green or orange. I mean I’m against faux fur in general, but if you’re going to do it, do it for the winter games, and do it in a natural color. Right now it just looks like the entire Mexico contingent raped and pillaged Sesame Street on the way to the ceremony.

Overall, Africa just destroyed everyone in this parade, though. It’s like they had a continent-wide conference where they were like “Guys, I know we lose in literacy rates, infant mortality, and we’re kind of going through some issues with brutal dictatorships and genocides, but dammit, we’re really pretty!” and then decided to run with that as their theme. And man, they served up some gorgeous, fierce women. Look at these delegates from Nigeria, working it like these Olympics owe them rent money.

This look from Oman (fine, technically in Asia) makes me want to be RuPaul so I can comment on in appropriately with phrases like “SERVING UP 1000 ARABIAN NIGHTS OF FIERCENESS” and “GENIE, RUB MY LAMP” and some pun about queens that I’m sure I could make if only I did drag. See? I need help from experts on this. Also, if I’m heterosexual, white, and biologically female can I get away with snapping in Z formation and saying “girl, you betta werk”? If the answer is yes, that’s what I’m doing. If the answer is no, I was asking for a hypothetical friend.

This is not a picture about fashion, by the way, this is taking  break to cheer for the first female athletes repping Saudi Arabia. They could be wearing potato sacks, for all I care. Feminism five! Go get ’em, ladies.

USA, see what Serbia’s doing? See how awesome Serbia looks? This is how you do preppy right. This is how we should have looked. We should not have looked like a French flight attendant who in their spare time maintains a yacht. (Also whoever thought up the double-breasted blazer, I hope you’re burning in hell. Double-breasted looks terrible on everyone.) We should have been all about this level of fine, fresh, and fierce. America, you can make it up to me by getting me an outfit exactly like this in my size.

The entire contingent from Spain seemed extremely drunk. If I had to wear this hot mess, I’d have gotten wasted too. Team Spain could have come out all in $5 matador Halloween costumes like you see at Walmart and it would have looked more chic than this.

I feel like everyone hated Team Sweden’s look but me. But I love these colors! I love rugby shirts! I think it’s cute! Suck it, world, you’re just jealous because the entire nation of Sweden is made up of improbably attractive people. And that’s not even my opinion, it’s just a scientific fact.

I feel like the thought process behind Ukraine’s outfit was the result of locking a bunch of designers in a room with drapes from Crate & Barrel and telling them that they weren’t allowed out until they designed the most stereotypically Ukranian outfit they could possibly design.

Also, I have never been to Ukraine, but I feel like even there it’s not cold enough to warrant wearing fur fezzes in the summer. Actually, I take that back – there is no weather that excuses a fur fez. There less objectionable ways to lose your ears to frostbite, and if it’s either that or wear the fez, frostbite is the more noble option.

“I am so jealous of Great Britain and what a great nation they are, because they have made possible the only thing I have ever wanted in my entire life – for my armpits to be made of gold!” – No one

85 thoughts on “The Olympics are Fabulous (Sometimes)

  1. I just knew Spain would be on this list hahaha! It’s entirely possible many of Team Espana were drunk but I’ve lived in Spain the past two years. Spaniards are naturally that boisterous and loud, with or without alcohol. It was typical Spanish behavior–proud, loud, happy to be there and in your face

    As for the uniforms–the men were fine but the womens’ uniform was not great. Yellow and red are two very difficult colors to coordinate and yellow blazer and red skirt is a hard look to pull off.

    The Queen of Spain managed to do it though–she wore it to a press conference a few days ago but she accessorized accordingly so it didn’t look so bad on her!

  2. Priceless! I loved this. It’s like the Oscars of athletic fashion. Apart from a few countries, you couldn’t really identify the clothing with any one nation. Seems like the designers go all hog-wild with the nations colors when it comes to Olympic threads.
    My question is what do you do with it after? Everyone knows it’s from the Olympics — is it just a good Halloween costume after? Does it hang in your closet beside the once-worn wedding dress? Surely it does not get passed down through generations?

  3. I loved reading your take on all of this. I was also delighted to find that the Love is Art people give you post-“art”-making instructions: “Throw the disposable slippers on and walk to the shower or bath to wash each other.” That’s quite thoughtful of them, no?

  4. Gosh the Ukraine’s outfits….I use to work at IKEA and that looks like one of their crazy fabric patterns. As for Belgium I was thinking more of an office lady fashion. Like I’m about to be sent a color copied fax by all of them.

  5. I laughed and laughed reading your responses to their outfits! There were some crazy, what the hell were you thinking, how did you even think that up, did you tamper with the design to make it worse after they fired you, outfits. And then there were some really decent, cute, and chic ensembles that just made you go, I want to join their country tomorrow! Congrats on being freshly pressed…this post totally deserved it.
    PS: I agree with your mom on the whole pink and blue, Germany thing…*shakes head*…that was bad.

  6. I loved the swedes and yes Germany (I am half German) looked like a Tampax ad … really bad and so uggghhhh … loved the “traditional” costumes, a bit like the Eurovision but done better and I do like a bit of cheese … thanks for the recap

  7. Great post – really enjoyed your comments.
    Agree re Mexico – looked like they were going on a picnic with all the different colours – didn’t look like a “uniform” at all

  8. I randomly came upon this post and I applaud you. LOUDLY.
    You said exactly what I know I was thinking [except better] during the entire international procession.
    Seriously enjoyed this post.

  9. “Right now it just looks like the entire Mexico contingent raped and pillaged Sesame Street on the way to the ceremony.” This, along with the whole Ukranian segment had me laughing out loud. Thank you! And I’d like the Serbian outfit too. Do you think they could send two?

  10. so glad you put this up. i missed the opening ceremony and only got some brief snapshots of the uniform. Especially disappointed by Great Britain’s uniform – thought the host nation could come up with something smarter!

  11. Hahaha my bff Kate (above) and I were totally saying all the same things while we were watching–esp. regarding those HIDEOUS shiny blue boots lol! Thanks for making me laugh even more.

  12. It’s an interesting point of view and extremely hilarious. More than the Indian costumes, the controversy seems to revolving around the lady who gate crashed the opening ceremony with the Indian contingent. I wonder how that happened! Congrats on being FP!

      1. Just read it! I completely agree with the statement if this would have happened in India, the country would have been blacklisted within minutes. At least, in all the confusion, the girl got her 7 minutes of claim to fame…or was it longer than that! 🙂

  13. jajajaja I’m from Mexico and I too think is exaggerated what they did with the costumes, because the color in mexico is present but does not look so ridiculuo as the picture they gave to London.
    well I’m from the city and here all is diferent to the culture of indigenous peoples, but my country is rich in culture and color and that I like, but I don’t know if they ridiculisarlo wanted or show color… but if had to dress better… jajaja

  14. I am huge fan not only if the Olympics but also of the well written/spoken snarky comment. Awesome post!

  15. You must be kidding yourself, there are more educated (university level mind you) women in Nigeria than the entire populations of Canada, Ireland and Australia combined. If you’re gonna joke, joke but know your facts girl!

  16. Ohh, i was hoping Bhutan would feature, I don’t know if you have ever heard of us, but we looked pretty rad up there 🙂

  17. When the GB team came out…. I cringed…. oh dear, oh dear, I thought… We are tacky and vile…. Probably why they chucked some paper shit on them…..

  18. I agree entirely – love the Olympics. Had the misfortune (?) to damage my ankle 3 days ago and HAD to sit in front of the telly with my bandaged foot up on the couch watching non-stop coverage of the games. O woe is me !?!
    Very entertaining post – thank you.

  19. You are hilarious! I loved this post! Did you write one on the opening ceremony (yawn)? (Although it was nice at the end with the fireworks & all)

  20. This post was FABULOUS (I’d snap a z, but I’m a heterosexual white girl and I’m still waiting to see if that would be ok)
    Was there a sale on LEGS in Serbia? Because I’m 6’1 and amazing, but I would sell my mom for some of those legs. And I LOVE my mom.

  21. Oh, I love it!!! I thought the same thing of Germany, too… It was *weird*. And fencing is the greatest idea ever. Trust me, I did it for over 12 years, which means it’s still more than half of my entire lifespan so far, and I would still be doing it if I had a club nearby.
    On a side note – how did you like Hungary? I thought it was an… odd mixture of preppy, flight attendant, flag and folk dress, or something. But definitely odd.

    Congrats on FP!

  22. I loved the Czech costumes because they were making fun. I doubt if any of them knew about Gumby. They were also waving umbrellas in case you missed that – they were sending up both the British obsession with the weather and the recent monsoons. As for the Spanish, they don’t need to be drunk – they just seem to go crazy & shout a lot when they get into groups of more than one. They don’t do quiet.

  23. I’m from Mexico and I felt embarrassed by our uniform (which technically isnt since its not err uniform). Its great we stay in touch with our origins and all but hell, are americans dressed as cowboys or russians as cossacks?
    One of the reasons why we don’t move forward

  24. Very funny blog post. 🙂 I agree with everything your mum thought about the German outfit. I blinked in horror when I saw it. I wonder why the athletes didn’t refuse to wear it. *shudder* It was by far the most ugly outfit (well, for me it was).

  25. I am so glad you didn’t post the USA’s outfits, it was bad enough seeing them once. I wondered if Ralph Lauren had been channeling the early 1900’s when he designed them….PLUS since when does the US wear beret’s we looked like a pretend French group.

  26. Hilarious take on the costumes. Congrats on being Best of July 2012.
    As Pakistanis, we also have as beautiful clothes as India does. I just wish our team had taken the trouble to wear something as great as what we wear on a daily basis, rather than the boring, “Professional” clothes they wore in the Olympics.

  27. LOL your Mum is so right to hate pink (as me too) and the German outfit had been hard discussed here. It looks ridiculous, I find, but otherwise as you point to Anarchy in the UK … Germans are actually not known for any Anarchy but who knows who knows, we might learn 😉

  28. I am so glad you put Germany on worst dressed, I keep seeing them listed on best dressed list and I was beginning to think the world was going blind. Thank you for the awesome comprehensive coverage of Olympic opening ceremony fashion!

  29. Excelente revisión sobre los disparatados uniformes de los atletas de cada país que “Olímpicamente” ignoraron las reglas de la buena presentación, el buen gusto y hasta del clima. Mil perdones por mi país, México, que de acuerdo con la mayoría de los comentarios, fue el grupo pero vestido y si, estoy de acuerdo, al parecer saquearon plaza sésamo. Felicidades

  30. Reading this comment ” Maybe Germany should have come in Dirndl and Lederhosen.” made me wonder if Germany’s choice was as bad as I first thought. After all, Lederhosen and Dirndl are NOT German. they’re Bavarian. At least this way they alienated a whole nation and not just all Germans except the Bavarians. 😉

  31. Hahahaha I´m from Mexico, and believe me when I tell you that in my country we were in shock when we saw the Mexican contingent wearing those clothes. As a Mexican journalist stated: “you could hear a great laugh in all Mexico, from Yucatan to Baja California when the Mexican contingent appeared in those clothes”. I must state that those clothes are not native costumes but an awful interpretation of a Mexican designer.

  32. I am from Spain, and before reading this I knew Spain whould be in the list. And please, look for the track-suit, it’s even worse! Spanish twitter is full of jokes about that since months ago. Now, we think spanish athletes don’t want to win races because they are embarrased, imagine the podium photos with people dressed with that weird thing. (Yes, we prefer to make jokes about us instead of believe we are not good XD).
    About the alcohol, we don’t need alcohol to be so happy and loud, we are from Spain, you should visit our country to checking it. I promise, all of us wear better clothes than our poor olimpic team.
    P.S. Sorry if I’ve made grammar or spelling errors.

  33. I thought it was a good idea that India was wearing saris and turbans, but as an Indian, I was disappointed! Firstly, they chose yellow? Yellow is not an Indian color! They could have made much better, fashionable, designer saris with patriotic, white-orange-green colors! Secondly, it all looked plain when the current trend in India is anything but plain! Plain yellow is certainly not in fashion right now, and modern designers make amazing saris combining different colors and fabrics to create an elegant but happening sari, with at least 3 different colors just on the hem! The blouse is supposed to be more attractive, but it was not, and lately, saris made of net are favored, as the embroidery catches the eye… Also, India is known for its brightness and blend of colors! It just looked outdated and boring to me!

  34. Great blog – really made me laugh. I actually cringed when Team GB walked out. Why the hell did Stella McCartney put them in a white and gold tracksuits?! We could have looked a lot smarter in proper clothing…

  35. Priceless. It’s one of my favourite moments of the Olympics – seeing what everyone is wearing, and of course critiquing! The bonus this time around was that the Brits appeared to be some sort of derranged 70’s mock rock gods, that and the fact we went on Wednesday and cheered on the Saudi girls – loud and proud !!

  36. Great blog. amazing photos. love how you have focussed on the costumes on the opening ceremony whereas ive just been covering the games themselves. But ive been borrowing alot of stuff no wonder your one is freshly pressed good job.

  37. Even I’m from India and was disappointed on seeing the choice they made. Sure, saree is a beautiful dress, but you should learn from the designers how to screw it completely.

    It could have certainly been done in a better manner.

  38. Love the post. I also particularly loved the Czech wellies – I think they got confused by the replica of Glastonbury Tor in the stadium (that hillock they all planted flags on) and thought they were coming to the Glastonbury Festival! Also, did you notice the woman in red top and blue pants who sneaked in at the front of the Indian parade?

  39. I love seeing the Queen in the Olympics. Great comments on the nations, I had fun reading them. Cant wait for Rio Olympics!

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