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Ralph Lauren unveils Team USA’s Olympic uniforms - but critics say they’re more fitting for Nascar

‘The bottom jacket looks like Ricky Bobby’s racing attire in Talladega Nights,’ says one person

Meredith Clark
New York
Tuesday 18 June 2024 16:09 BST
Related: Ralph Lauren goes with blue denim jeans for Team USA’s Olympic ceremony uniforms

Ralph Lauren has unveiled Team USA’s opening and closing ceremony uniforms for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, France. However, some fans believe the uniforms look more like something Will Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby would wear in Talladega Nights.

On Tuesday, June 18, the American designer debuted its red, white, and blue uniforms for this year’s summer Olympics – marking Ralph Lauren’s ninth time serving as the official outfitter of Team USA. For the opening ceremony, which takes place in the French capital on July 26, the fashion brand has dressed US athletes in a classic tailored ensemble. The look features a navy blue, single-breasted wool blazer with red and white tipping and a striped oxford shirt, paired with denim jeans and a suede buck shoe.

Meanwhile, the uniforms for the closing ceremony features a more sporty style – a white moto jacket emblazoned with “USA” across it, along with white denim jeans and a Polo shirt underneath.

“Ralph Lauren has once again created designs that not only capture the essence of American style but also embody the spirit and pride of Team USA,” said Sarah Hirshland, US Olympic and Paralympic committee CEO, in a press release. “As Team USA athletes prepare to represent the United States at the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, this iconic apparel serves as a symbol of unity and inspiration for both our team and the millions of fans who will be cheering them on.”

Ralph Lauren unveils Team USA opening and closing ceremony uniforms for 2024 Paris Olympics
Ralph Lauren unveils Team USA opening and closing ceremony uniforms for 2024 Paris Olympics (Ralph Lauren)

While Team USA’s uniforms have been known to receive some divided reactions in years past, as Ralph Lauren unveiled the patriotic looks on Tuesday, it seemed that everyone was pretty much in agreement this time around – that the closing ceremony uniforms appear more fitting for a Nascar race than for the fashion capital of the world.

“Nascar is an Olympic sport now?” one critic wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in response to Team USA’s uniforms.

“Top looks great, but why did they go full Nascar on the bottom?” said someone else, referring to the white moto-style jacket. “Gonna be hot as hell.”

Meanwhile on Instagram, one person compared the Ralph Lauren uniforms to Will Ferrell’s outlandish Nascar-driving character, Ricky Bobby, in the 2006 comedy film Talladega Nights.

“The bottom jacket looks like Ricky Bobby’s racing attire in Talladega Nights,” they said, as another user agreed: “That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking.”

However, not everyone believed the uniforms resembled something of a racecar driver. Instead, some people offered up other comparisons, like a Nasa astronaut.

“When you’ve got a business lunch at noon but you’re going to space at three,” one person joked on X.

“Is the plan to go to the moon after the closing ceremony?” another user quipped.

At a preview of the Team USA 2024 collection on Monday, David Lauren – the company’s chief branding and innovation officer and its founder’s son – spoke to The Associated Press about the fashion brand’s “unexpected” yet classic Team USA uniforms.

“We work very closely with Team USA to make the athletes feel at once dressed up, feel like a team, but at the same time comfortable and very distinctively American,” he told the AP. “Nothing says America like blue jeans, especially when we’re in Paris. And it gives the athletes a chance to feel a sense of a culture but also feel like themselves and what is natural.”

Lauren also called the closing ceremony looks “more graphic, more fun, a little more exciting.”

Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell in 2006 comedy film ‘Talladega Nights’
Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell in 2006 comedy film ‘Talladega Nights’

Team USA’s polo shirts are made of 100 percent recycled cotton – the first time Ralph Lauren has achieved that level of sustainability in Olympic gear, Lauren said. Both the opening and closing ceremony uniforms were made and manufactured in the US.

Ralph Lauren’s Team USA opening and closing ceremony uniform apparel, as well as a collection of Team USA apparel and accessories, are available to purchase online. Along with the navy blue blazer ensemble and the white moto-style look, the fashion brand also released a Team USA color-blocked baseball jacket, a Team USA graphic cotton sweater, and several other clothing items.

The 2024 Olympics Games kicks off in Paris on July 26 with an opening ceremony, this time taking place along the river Seine instead of a stadium. Boats for each nation will cross through the center of Paris and finish at the Trocadero – the gardens across from the Eiffel Tower – where the final Olympic traditions will take place. The closing ceremony will be held at the Stade de France.

Additional reporting from AP.

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