The 2018 Winter Olympic outfits are out, and they are the most unique outfits to date. For the sixth time in a row, Polo Ralph Lauren has been chosen to design the Winter Olympic outfits. The multibillion-dollar American fashion brand, founded by Ralph Lifshitz, has designed every set of Olympic outfits since the 2008 Beijing Games.
This year, Polo Ralph Lauren has ditched the preppy characteristics that it is usually known for, moving towards a more athletic vibe for its 2018 outfit designs. Based on past Polo Ralph Lauren Olympic outfits, the brand has been moving towards a more athletic vibe since the 2014 Sochi Games, with a different take on the traditional Olympic preppy blazers. Preppy or not, there is one thing that Ralph Lauren and all other brands who have ever designed Olympic outfits constantly keep in mind: the goal to represent the American people by showing American pride. As noted in a StyleCaster overview of Olympic uniforms across the years, “When it comes to team uniforms, everyone wants to stand out and represent their country with pride”. In America’s case, all of the uniforms designed in past years include the U.S. flag, a spread-winged eagle, a scattering of stars, and, of course, the Olympic rings. The U.S. uniforms are red, white, and blue, in keeping with the patriotic spirit.
Why is a uniform so important when it comes to the Olympics? This question ties back to who we are as a society. Materialism has been embedded in our society by the media and manufacturing companies, so that if we like a specific article of clothing that someone famous is wearing, we, as consumers, will go out and buy it. Clothes are a means for expression; Olympian attire is so important because the Olympics are being watched by millions of people. Whatever Olympians choose to wear will not only represent themselves as individuals, but will also represent the country they are competing for. The shift from preppy Olympic outfits to an “athleisure” style reflects changes in United States culture. In today’s society, people are no longer expected to show up to work in preppy business clothes. We are now in a new era where there is no longer a “work dress code.” Many people are showing up to work in more casual attire; a blazer and jeans have now become acceptable office-wear. This new trend in American office attire requires representation in the wider world of fashion. What better way to do this, than to display casualwear in public in the Olympic Games, where millions of people are watching what Olympians are doing and wearing?