Most Americans probably know by now that when U.S. Olympic athletes first take the field Friday during opening ceremonies, the uniforms they will be wearing were made in China.
While that won’t add much to the way-overloaded balance of trade we already have with China, it does rankle. That’s because designer Ralph Lauren made them awful looking. They look like they were designed in Belgium to be used by ushers at the headquarters of the European Common Market.
They consist of double-breasted blazers cut too short, white trousers and blue berets that bear no resemblance to what an American might wear.
The fact they were made in China just makes them worse.
Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal, describes the uniforms this way:
“They look like some European bureaucrat’s idea of a secret militia, like Brussels’ idea of a chic new army. They’re like the international community Steven Spielberg lined up to put on the spaceship at the end of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ ...
“The failure of the uniforms is that they don’t communicate: ‘Here comes America.’
“They communicate: ‘Chic global Martians coming your way.’”
To make matters worse, Lauren embroidered a big Polo logo on each blazer.
The uniform for women is tailored along the lines of what girl students at some private schools have to wear. They’re designed to hide the fact the wearers are women and athletes. To add insult to the injury of the awful skirts, the women have to wear white anklets and what appear to be white buck shoes.
The U.S. Olympic Committee and the Lauren fashion house promise the next batch of American Olympic uniforms, in 2014, will be made in the USA. Let’s hope so.