20 Years of Winter Olympic Fashion: Team USA from 1994 – 2014

  • By Kim
  • 6 February, 2014
  • Comments Off

sochi-olympic-uniforms TheGloss

I’m not a fashion person, so I’m highly unqualified to do any kind of post on clothing. However, I am qualified to tell you about what the average person finds silly. OMG. How did we get here, you guys?

A few weeks ago, photos of the Sochi 2014 opening ceremony outfit were released. The nation collectively said, “Nope. Gross,” and we moved on. But with the Olympics only a few hours away, we’ll be forced to renew our contempt of the outfits and hang our heads in shame as the other nations point and laugh. So how did we get here? Let’s take a look back at the past 20 years of Winter Olympic outfit history to see if we can discern any kind of indication that we were moving towards the 4th of July Ugly Sweater Olympics.

Photo from Seattlepi

Photo from Seattlepi

Lillehammer, Norway 1994 – Aw! Look at us! We’re a rag tag bunch brought together in the spirit of athletic competition! It was a different time. No stylists, no guidelines. It looks like Team USA has the choice between two jackets and two hats. No uniformity in the pants, so you see jeans, khakis and ski pants. We didn’t care about things like fashion! We were too wrapped up in the Nancy Kerrigan / Tonya Harding fiasco. Who has time to coordinate? Still, we do look a little unkempt. We can do better. Ranking/Medal Count: 6th/13  Grade: B-


From Seattle PI

From Seattle PI

Nagano, Japan 1998 – Oh dear. Well, we look warm anyway. Someone noticed that we were rather mismatched in 1994 and put together a dress code. Here we are looking like a hybrid police / park ranger. A police ranger. We look Canadian, that’s it. The long blue parkas and cowboy hat look give us a rather austere law enforcement look. I can’t tell if the collars are fleece or fur-lined, but overall, we look very Western and coordinated. It’s just not a very strong, sporty or even memorable look. Anyway, we were still concerned about figure skating drama and how Michelle Kwan should have won gold. Rankings / Medal Count: 5th/13 Grade: C


From Beaumont Enterprise

From Beaumont Enterprise

Salt Lake City, USA 2002 – Here we go! This is moving more along the lines of modern Olympic wear. Team USA is looking snazzy in their warmup suits with turtleneck combination. Why berets though? I know we’ve done them several times, but I’m not sure why. I mean, they look cute and all, but why berets? We look pretty decent here if not a little boring and mailman-esque, but it is a perfectly respectably outfit for Team USA. Is this the Olympics Mitt Romney saved or whatever? Dunno. I was too busy being mad that Michelle Kwan didn’t win AGAIN. Rankings / Medal Count: 3rd / 34 Grade: A-



Torino, Italy 2006 – Oh, we’re REAL cute here. Look at us! We’re coordinated, sporty-looking with our fleece caps and gloves that look like something from The North Face. The jackets are a slimmer fit, but with nice detailing in the contrasting black and white sleeves. People basically still wear this look as it’s straight out of the Nike webpage or something. You know, nothing is particularly standing out for me in this Olympics. I usually have a specific memory of the games, but I got nothing. Was it that boring? I recall Turin looking really nice on TV, so maybe there was that. It looked real good, Italy. Rankings / Medal Count: 2nd / 25 Grade: A


From Seattle PI

Vancouver, Canada 2010 – Ralph Lauren has been the designer for Team USA since 2008 (Beijing). This is very Ralph Lauren-esque to me. While it looks like something out of a RL catalog, it also looks like fashion, as in not necessarily functional. It’s also a heavily styled look with the snappy Doc Martens style boots and … are those elastic pant cuffs? I can’t tell. They sure look like it though. The puffy jackets and thick white turtlenecks are nice and ready to be bought by rich people who have ski vacations and stay at places called Chateau Fromage. These are not embarrassing outfits, just sort of bourgeoisie. Anyway, I’m willing to give this one a pass since I felt bad that the torch lighting ceremony was botched. Remember that? So awkward for everyone. Yeesh. Rankings / Medal Count: 3rd / 37 Grade: A-


From LA Times

Sochi, Russia 2014 – *sigh* I can’t even you guys. I don’t know what to say about this. House of Lauren has decided that our athletes should like our embarrassing Aunt Martha who is 62 and likes cats and knitting not in that order! Look, after that kerfuffle about the Summer 2012 Olympics uniforms being made in China, I know the company wanted to bring “Made in the USA” back in a big way. Yes, the sweater is made all in America with yarn spun in Pennsylvania and manufactured in Los Angeles. That’s nice. It really is. But it’s still hideously ugly. It looks like Betsy Ross started embroidering it, but got tired and handed it off to the IOC who slapped on a branded patch, but then it was snatched up by a bald eagle that shat out some stars on it. Remember when we thought the outfits were going to look like this? And we said, “Oh, that’s alright I guess.” WE WERE NAIVE. It hurts to look at this. The sweatpants are blinding me. Sorry, world. Rankings / Medal Count: If previous years are indicators, the uglier the outfit, the less well we do. Grade: D

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