Category Archives: Winter

US Olympic OC Fashion: Political or Patriotic?

The Olympic games are one of the few events which enlist the participation of 88 nations and garners global spectator-ship. The Olympics are just as much a cultural event as they are a sporting event. And while this is an event for the global community, the competitive nature of the games inspires a great deal of patriotism and nationalism. Each team has a responsibility to represent its country’s values and culture from the moment they touch down in Sochi to the moment they leave, whether medal-clad or not. Most people assume that by winning medals in their respective events that the athletes have proven the success of their country’s government, culture, and fundamental values and mores. But unless the athlete is someone like Michael Phelps who boasts 22 medals, the world is more likely to remember your presence and presentation than they are to remember your performance.

This is why the teams’ and individuals’ appearances are so important and this is where fashion comes into play (pun intended). The teams’ styles are debuted and broadcasted to a worldwide audience at the games’ Opening Ceremonies, where the athletes are formally welcomed and introduced. Next to each individual’s event this is the most important moment for the athletes and even more so for their respective countries. Each country’s culture is being assessed through how their is presented and a major component of this is how they look: their physical appearance and how they are dressed.

OpeningCeremonies_RL_Team

This year, as in 2010 and 2012, the United States’ Olympic team will be dressed head to toe in Ralph Lauren designs, but unlike previous years, these designs were produced and manufactured entirely in the United States. It seems like common sense that the America team wear designs that showcase the talent of American designers, and also the capacity of American clothing manufacturers, but this apparently wasn’t so apparent to the USOC and Ralph Lauren. It was not until political backlash over US team uniforms and attire being produced in China that the decision was made for this year’s drab to be entirely American from concept to production.

The Ralph Lauren ensembles this year are pretty similar to what we saw in 2010, with the exception of this year’s much talked about vibrantly patriotic cardigans. The cardigan is boldly American with displays of large stars, red and white stripes, two American flags, the letters USA printed once on the chest and again much larger on the back. There was some immediate concern over perceived “flamboyance” of the sweaters as the Russian government has made clear its anti-homosexual views through rhetoric and policy. There was speculation that the sweaters were designed to make a political statement that was less so “pro-gay” and more so “Anti-Russia.” Regardless I find it hard to believe that there was any intention on the part of Ralph Lauren’s design team to make any statement other than, “Go USA!” mainly because these designs were probably in concept before the issue of Russia’s views towards the gay community were broadcast to the Olympic community.

OpeningCeremonies_RL_SweaterAs for the rest of the ensemble, which includes white knit pants, navy and red all-weather boots, a think turtle neck, and a patterned knit hat, I was less than impressed in terms of the creativity of the designs as it is something that we have already seen and they are less than fashionable. To Ralph Lauren’s credit, these outfits have to both gender-neutral and also functional in the Russian climate.

All-in-all the outfit is extremely patriotic and I am so happy to know that everything was made here in the USA.

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JOE NAMATH coat > Joe Namath coin toss

Did anyone even care about who won the coin toss at the start of tonight’s SuperBowl after seeing Joe Namath’s coat… Or that Namath was a little premature on the flip? No, because we were all too busy oohing and ahhing over his fabulous fur coat.
Wearing a heavy mink coat on the 50 yard line at the year’s biggest sporting event is nothing less than badass. Helmets off to the hall-of-famer for this bold fashion choice.

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Color Meets Texture in Bottega Veneta AW 2014

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Screaming Yellow, Forest Green, Bold Blue, Deep Red, Soft White, Rich Brown

The Bottega Veneta AW 2014 Mens Ready-to-Wear collection is one of the most perfectly balanced collections I have seen for 2014. Each piece is unique and yet the collection remains coherent. The garments are bold, sophisticated, and rich, but even with the sense of luxury there is an innate wearability to the clothes because of their familiar materials (like leather, wool, suede, and tweed), classic cuts, and attractive colors(olive tones, reds, browns, creams, and greens).

To view the entire collection, in full, check out Women’s Wear Daily.

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Holiday Party Dress Code

Tis the season for holiday parties which means lots of small talk, Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD, mistletoe, and egg nog hangovers. It also means having to put together an outfit that says “I’m classy, but I’m here to party.”… I’m kidding, but seriously…If you’re just getting out of college, then chances are you’re an HPV- Holiday Party Virgin, because hosting an Ugly Sweater Party at your frat house last year doesn’t count, and showing up to a block party, office party, or family party dressed in an ugly sweater, Elf boxers, and a Santa hat isn’t going to land your name on anybody’s “nice list” this season, let alone next year’s invite list serve.

The look to aim for when it comes to dressing for holiday parties is “comfortable sophistication.” This means putting away the Elf boxers and ugly sweater, because while those things might be comfortable, they are hardly sophisticated. However, unless explicitly stated in some sort of “you are cordially invited…” invitation, there is really no need to break out the expensive suit or tux. It’s a party- you’re there to mingle and have fun, and you should be comfortable doing it.

It’s important to keep the venue and the audience in mind when choosing any outfit, but this is especially true when t comes to a party. However, there are a few pretty safe bet items that are sure to suit any party’s style. Try a pair of corduroys or chinos in a dark color like Navy, Burgundy, or Brown, or a pair of slim fit dark wash jeans on the bottom. On top, try a sport or dress shirt in a lighter color like chambray, white, or even salmon. Couple this with a nice navy, burgundy, or grey sports coat in a tweed, wool, or cashmere. If that’s too much, opt for a sweater vest or cardigan in place of the blazer. Either way, top it off with a classic skinny tie and you are good to go.

Remember that it’s a party. Add an accent item to your outfit, like a saturated sweater in a deep color, a velvet blazer, a bright patterned tie, or really nice suede wingtips or boots in a fun, complimentary color!

holidaywear

Don’t be afraid to mix fabric materials and patterns. Have fun with it!

Remember that the holiday season is all about giving, so don’t come empty handed. Greet the host or hostess with a bottle of wine, seasonal candle, or festive food like holiday popcorn or cookies.

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Snow Day Style

In honor of today’s “Snow Day!” statuses crowding my timeline, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to write a post dedicated to snow day gear. A few days ago I posted “Warm Rugged and Manly (Winter) Accessories”  to lead men in the direction of stylish and sophisticated winter weather accessories like cashmere scarves and hand-stitched leather gloves. These items paired with a great wool peacoat or trench are perfect for a walk through the city to work or spending a couple hours at a sporting event, but they aren’t exactly suited for rolling around in the snow with a girlfriend, sledding down a hill on a plastic saucer, or channeling your inner kid with a snow ball fight.

The trick is to add warmth by adding layers. Wearing a sweat shirt and just a big puffer coat will have you looking like a burnt marshmallow and worse will leave you feeling trapped…After moving around outside for more than ten minutes your body will start overheating in the puffer, but taking it off and wearing just a sweat shirt will have you freezing again. Instead opt for a multipurpose coat that has built in layers with a fleece or soft shell inner jacket, and a flexible, durable (WATERPROOF) outer shell. With a jacket like this you can add and remove sections as needed, and many are equipped with things like ventilation pockets to keep your body cool during activity. Try one of these from The North Face and Patagonia:

NFPata

If you’re like me, and don’t really want to wear a 3-in-1 jacket like the ones above and would rather pick and choose the layers as you desire, then I recommend a slim-cut quarter zip fleece as a base layer (over a cotton shirt or if you’re feeling fancy an Under Armour cold gear top) topped with a full zip waterproof soft shell in mild  conditions, or a heavier insulated shell for more moderate winter weather conditions.

Try these from Under Armour and Helly Hansen

UAHH

Now for the perfect winter weather boots. I personally love Sorel:

sorelboots

Some fun additionals….

snowaccessories

Stay warm, and stay stylish, my friends.

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