Monday, 30 July 2012

Clothing Representing Countries at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, 2012

So what's in an athlete's closet, never to be worn again, after the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies? In some cases, I bet it will be the "outfits" worn at those ceremonies; although of course there will be exceptions.

Kristina on life.paperblog,com wrote, "the Olympic opening ceremony was a good look into the styles of all around the world". I so much want to disagree, but it is probably the case. For some countries it was an un-stylish representation. I am not referring to the sport kit - that which the athletes will wear while participating in their particular sport but rather the "outfit" chosen for the introductory and closing parades.

So excuse me while I rant! This is your cue to choose another post if you don't want to bother with my diatribe.

First of all, I am Canadian so in this case, like complaining about my mother - I can complain about her, but I love her dearly and will defend her no matter what I may say about her. My husband suggested that Canada's ensemble of red jacket emblazoned with CANADA and beige trousers looked like "discount tourist" wear. Like him I was disappointed in the look but what can one expect from a "department store" design? The Hudson Bay Company, originally Canadian but now American owned, was responsible for the choice. One might argue that it is a sporting event; however, surely if you are representing your country on the world stage you would choose a more styled effect. The artistic potential of the flag's maple leaf in perhaps an asymmetrical design offset in white and red for the jacket with white knee-length shorts or pants would have at least had some pizzazz. What the Canadian team was wearing just looked plain frumpy - old man jacket and old man pants. A Hudson Bay Company representative claimed the tie that the men were wearing was to show respect for the occasion. Hmmm? In my opinion, the jacket was not one that a tie complements. I'm speculating that most of the athletes would not have chosen this outfit for themselves.

Ireland in its green was not far behind Canada insofar as frumpy goes. At the very least they did not have Ireland in block letters on their chests and it appeared that they had the option of shorts or pants. Was Canada the only one wearing signage announcing where they were from?

The Czech Republic instilled some humour into their outfit with the rubber boots and umbrellas - apparently it's always raining in Prague. Good for them for bringing humour to a world-wide generalization.

The life.paperblog,com writer criticized the United States for their school uniform look. Perhaps France, Italy and the United States may be evaluated as looking too conservative in their blazers, ties and trousers or skirts; however, sport teams traditionally have dressed this way on game days or as visitors. Even in 2012, sport team members at high schools and universities "dress-up" on game days. So at least those countries opted to maintain tradition with the classics.

Flag colours are limited and repetitive. Germany obviously wanted to make a statement with athletic gear in baby blue and pink - boys in blue, girls in pink. I don't even choose baby clothing gifts in that way any more. I wonder if the athletes had a choice of which colour they would wear?

India chose "saffron" from their flag, as their focus colour. The saris looked fabulous but the turbans looked slightly "kitschy" in that colour. Since, they were looking for a match, the tone of the "yellow" perhaps should have been more "saffron".  As well, the flag bearer's headgear was situated slightly askance - like he wasn't used to wearing one.

The African countries always look exotic and stylish but not every country has representational dress that combines ethnic identity with style. The best others can do is choose a designer who will put a spin on the nation's flag. Some do it well, others "need to improve".

I lost interest in the parade soon after I saw Canada and France and so I went to bed. Sorry for the negativity. On a more positive note, what I did see were enthusiastic athletes proud to be in London representing their countries. And that is what was important for the world to see.

Which country do you believe was the most stylishly represented?
Regarding dress at the opening ceremonies, were you pleased with how your country was represented?

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