Colgate Couture: Olympic Fashion

Rachel Eisen

If you’re a fan of winter sports or a fan of winter frat parties, you know that the Sochi Winter Olympics have begun. While most commentators on the Sochi games speak about technique, speed and general athletic ability, the Olympic games have also been a great opportunity for fashion commentary. While I could comment on the tiny little outfits of the figure skaters or the hairstyles of the snowboarders, the opening ceremony outfits truly are the best material.

This year, the USA Olympic team’s outfits were designed once again by the all-American label Ralph Lauren. In the London 2012 Olympics, the fashion house was greatly criticized for their Made in China apparel for the USA Olympic Team. This year there is no mistaking that the Sochi outfits are truly All-American. In fact, you could say that this year’s opening ceremony outfits scream USA with an obnoxious patchwork sweater complete with an American flag, Olympic rings and some more stars and stripes to pull it all together.

The adjective “obnoxious” might seem slightly harsh, but I am not alone with this critique. When Ralph Lauren unveiled the Olympic duds, critics described them as “excessive,” “crazy,” “garish,” “a jumble” and “an eyesore.” But despite the general consensus that these Olympic sweaters are ugly, they do still have a certain appeal. Perhaps it is the same festive appeal of the ugly Christmas sweater. Maybe comfy sweaters that represent times when friends and family come together are meant to be ugly? Maybe the ugly hipster look is becoming even more mainstream than we thought?

No matter the reason, these hideous sweaters have been fully embraced. As I watched the Opening Ceremony with my roommates, the initial reaction was laughter that then turned to inquiries on how to buy one. My roommates were apparently not alone. Not only are the Olympic patchwork sweaters completely sold out from the Ralph Lauren site, but now they can be found on eBay for some outrageous prices. Last weekend, one coveted sweater was sold for $3,000 and a current auction is already priced at $1,250 – quite a price hike from the

original $375.

Now before you go crying about how you can’t afford an Olympic sweater or before I judge you for still contemplating that outrageous purchase, you have some alternatives for attaining USA Olympian level style. Ralph Lauren has an entire collection of Olympic-inspired clothing. And while most of the collection was sold out before the games even began, there’s still a $148 scarf and $98 gloves available on the site. What a steal, right?

And for you cheap-o’s who are still scoffing at those prices, I have one final opportunity for you to embrace your Olympic patriotic spirit. The Official Team USA team is also selling Go USA Mittens for only $14. Need an explanation for price difference? They’re Made in China. Well, hey, at least they aren’t Made in Russia!