Toward the end of last week, fashion icon Ralph Lauren unveiled their design for Team USA’s Summer Olympics Closing Ceremonies uniforms. These kits traditionally represent an opportunity for our country to craft a uniquely patriotic look for the entire world to witness.
As for the image of the United States that these unis create... well... how do I put this tactfully?
They look like we just found out the IOC is awarding a gold medal for White Privilege (As you’ve no doubt already guessed, the best way to win a gold in White Privilege is to have a dad who already owns one).
Now, I’m no fashionista by any means. Yet even I can see that it certainly is a bold stylistic choice to dress the entire squad like Team USA just named Judge Smails captain. But hey, at least every Olympian wearing these kits gets a free bowl of soup.
On the bright side, if you squint hard enough, perhaps this is a sign that we’ll soon be replacing “The Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem with Duran Duran’s “Rio.”
Quite frankly, it’s about time.
Yes, I realize that several of these references are hopelessly trapped in the 1980s. But that’s only because the uniforms are too. The whole vibe feels as though Ralph Lauren and the USOC knew the stereotype of Americans traveling abroad and decided, “Screw it, let’s just lean into it.”
The problem is that this kit will make even our most likable athletes come across as insufferable boors who happen to run the decathlon on their break from summering at Martha’s Vineyard. As soon as Megan Rapinoe puts it on, it’s way too easy to imagine her demanding to see the manager in a Tokyo sushi restaurant to complain that they don’t have Philly rolls.
I guess If America can’t grant the USWNT equal pay, at least they can still give them the same, “What if Popeye got a legacy scholarship to Dartmouth?” look as their male counterparts.