Australia’s uniform for the 2016 Olympic Games was released to much fanfare on Wednesday, with some describing it as airline uniform-esque and others hailing its classic look.
An outfit of mint green and white striped blazers, yellow ties and white bottoms were unveiled at a Sydney launch, 127 days out from the opening ceremony at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium.
The athletes were unsurprisingly full of praise for the Sportscraft-designed uniform, while Team Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said the uniform was ‘an integral part of being an Olympian’.
“Rio’s going to be a colourful games, a vibrant games, and our uniform will look right in place there,” she said.
Just like the athletes, the social media reaction was predictable – and largely critical.
So we thought we’d ask the experts to sit at The New Daily’s round table and offer their expertise on Australia’s preppy chic look.
The New Daily: Thanks for joining us – you’ve just seen the uniforms. What’s your reaction?
Kirstie Clements – former editor of Vogue Australia and The New Daily style writer: “I know people make fun of that ‘private school’ thing but it’s got that classic blazer and white and the green looks very crisp and Aussie.”
Damien Woolnough – fashion commentator and former deputy editor of Elle: “I thought it could have been a lot worse. That’s not to say that this year’s effort is brilliant – I just think it’s because past efforts have been so bad.”
Brittany Henderson – fashion news editor at InStyle: “They look great. They seem to strike a good balance between being fashionable and functional.”
Lana Wilkinson – celebrity stylist and fashion commentator: “Previously it looked like a flight attendant’s uniform, and while I know there’s got to be a corporate element there, you can make it a bit fashionable.”
Helen Lee – editor of fashion and beauty blog sassybella.com: “I liked the choice of the pale green striped blazer. Otherwise, I thought they were new airline uniforms.”
The New Daily: What do you like the most?
Kirstie Clements: “I like the classicism of it. I do like the blazer … I guess the blazer is like a baggy green. It seems conservative but it’s like this memento and trophy for being an Olympic athlete … I think that’s important.”
Damien Woolnough: “The most positive thing I can say about it is that it would have looked just as great at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, as it will probably look in Rio.”
Brittany Henderson: “My favourite thing is the seersucker fabric. It’s very polished, slightly retro and kind of harks back to when sporting uniforms were at the height of elegance.”
Lana Wilkinson: “I like that nautical vibe and the way they made the gold and green less in your face.”
Helen Lee: “I loved the Tom shoes! Hopefully it brings greater awareness for the brand that does so much good around the world.”
The New Daily: And what didn’t you like?
Kirstie Clements: “Apparently it was flaring on camera. People were saying that. But being there (at the launch), they all just looked so great. If it errs on the side of conservative, I’m okay with that.”
Damien Woolnough: “People might think our colours are green and white – which is fine if you love Victoria Bitter. It looks like our athletes are off with Willy Wonka to travel to the chocolate factory and not to perform on the world stage. I think the Harry Potter series has found its Australian outpost university here.”
Brittany Henderson: “There’s nothing really to dislike. I think they look great.”
Lana Wilkinson: “The women’s silk scarves are a bit of an overkill. And the pencil skirts look more flattering on women when split in the back.”
Helen Lee: “Details like the yellow tie seem like an afterthought – that they had to add yellow somewhere so (they thought) ‘let’s just make the tie yellow, oh, and make that striped, too’. I’m just glad it’s not an Australiana theme.”
The New Daily: How do you think the uniforms present Australia to the world?
Kirstie Clements: “I think it’s going to say that we’re very polished. I still think it looks very fresh with the white and the green. It’s vibrant.”
Damien Woolnough: “Vintage and retro is always popular in fashion but it would be great if we could look to the future a bit more. This is a safe look at the past.”
Brittany Henderson: “We are still quite a young nation but it’s a very polished way of presenting ourselves, while still in keeping with the Australian character. They look comfortable and they aren’t too serious.”
Lana Wilkinson: “The uniform is much better than previous years, especially when it came to combining the gold and green.”
Helen Lee: “We are getting better uniforms. How they will look in a stadium, with the bright lights making the white pants glow, is another thing.”
– with ABC