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Olympic apparel to keep Team USA 'on-trend'

Nike, Ralph Lauren outfit American athletes with fashion forward styles
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(L-R): Evan Lysacek, women's ice hockey Oympian Julie Chu, Meryl Davis and Charlie White model Ralph Lauren's Closing Ceremony outfits at the USOC's "100 Days Out" celebration. -Getty Images

Nike unveiled Friday the uniforms that the athletes of Team USA will wear for podium ceremonies at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The U.S. medalists will wear sleek silver jackets over black pants or leggings, and black athletic shoes with day-glo yellow soles.

The jackets sport a space-age look, with horizontal quilting and a round red "United States Olympic Team" logo. Hidden inside each pocket flap are the words "Land of the Free" and "Home of the Brave." (The phrases also appear inside the shoes.) Women will pair the jacket with black leggings, and men will wear straight-cut warm-up pants.

The medalists in figure skating will participate in a flower ceremony on the ice immediately following the competition. The next evening, they will receive their medals outdoors on the Medal Plaza, for which they will wear the official podium garb. Speed skaters will also wear the apparel for their medal ceremonies.

"I just checked out the Nike podium outfits for Sochi," Ashley Wagner said. "I knew they would come up with something fantastic, and they did. I wear a lot of Nike, but what a dream come true if I can accept a medal for my county in that Nike outfit."

"The Nike podium outfits look amazing," Adam Rippon said. "Nike did a great job with them. I think any athlete would be honored to wear them."

"I thought it was modern, futuristic, a bit astronaut," said designer and Project Runway alum Nick Verreos, who will be starring in the new Under the Gunn TV design competition next month. "If Stanley Kubrick filmed 2001: A Space Odyssey, I could see those being the flight attendants. I thought the fit of the puffy jackets were great, very on-trend. I like the leggings on the women. The sneakers are very on-trend too - the neon was very big this summer. I'm kind of glad they didn't go matchy-matchy.

"Besides the sneakers, I loved the Aeroflot 800 neon vest. And they paired it with the half-thumb top -- I thought it was very 'Catching Fire.'"

Verreos also liked the fleece cape jacket with an exaggerated drop back.

"That is super fashionable, super cool," he said. "I would have expected it from the France contingent, so it's nice to see it from the U.S. It has combined the trend of the high-low cut. I thought it was innovative and fun. It adds a nod to what's going on in fashion."

Other Nike Olympic wear includes a heather-gray warm-up jacket with an interesting zipper detail, a navy-blue puffy jacket in the same style as the silver podium uniform, a lightweight puffy vest and terrific U.S. flag gloves.

"I love how Nike put the little emblems in the soles of the sneakers and hidden in the pockets," Verreos added. "They're little secret details, and it's not screaming, 'Here we are, we're American!' Instead of shouting, it's nice to whisper it."

Gracie Gold, who is also sponsored by Nike, said, "I love the details of the Nike podium clothes, especially the 'Land of the Free' stitched inside the jacket. It's subtle, but the athletes will proudly know what they are wearing and what they are representing." 

Ralph Lauren showed off the Closing Ceremony outfits and village wear in late October, at a TODAY show event in New York City featuring Meryl Davis, Charlie White and Evan Lysacek, along with winter athletes Julie Chu, Hannah Kearney and Alex Schlopie. The Opening Ceremony apparel is usually a closely guarded secret until soon before the Games begin.

Team USA will be warmly dressed when it marches into the Olympic stadium for the Closing Ceremony, in knit hats patterned with "USA," flags and stylized moose; white turtleneck Polo sweaters with snowflake patterns and more moose; navy pea coats with a broad red stripe; white pants with "2014" on the side of the leg; and black hiking boots with red laces.

Evan Lysacek modeled the Closing Ceremony uniform on the TODAY show.

"I love it," he said. "The apparel has become such a large component of the Olympics, you guys are going to have to start asking the athletes, 'Who are you wearing?' when we go out. I know for my first couple of Olympic cycles, it really became real when I put the clothing on."

The village wear collection includes white and navy warm-up jackets; Davis and White looked chic modeling them.

"I love the Ralph Lauren style and am so excited that Charlie and I get a chance to work with the brand," Davis said. "I think the vintage and sometimes unexpected touches mixed with classic chic is the perfect way to outfit Team USA.

"My favorite piece in the collection is the closing ceremonies sweater. It's very versatile, and I'll totally try to rock it with jeans and/or a black mini and opaques after the Games."

"It's so awesome to wear this new collection because of the way it celebrates the rich history of the United States Olympic team and embodies the spirit of American athleticism and sportsmanship," White added. "It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'll have to go with the closing."

The Polo Ralph Lauren Olympic uniforms were produced in the U.S. David Lauren, executive vice president of the company, said in a statement, "It really gave us at Ralph Lauren an opportunity to lead the charge to help bring the apparel industry back to America. ... The complication is still producing the quality and the craftsmanship and the quantity that's needed."

"When I saw the Ralph Lauren, all I could think of was Swiss ski instructor, circa 1960," Verreos said. "I love the boots; I think they're great. The pea coat is fun. I like the tasseled knit hat, too; I think it's very cute. The star is that sweater, with the moose on it -- I want to go to my family Christmas dinner in that. And it's great that it's made in America."