We’re wriggling in our seats with excitement and counting down the days until the London Olympics start (July 27! Mark your calendars!), and little blips of insider information about the opening ceremonies are only fueling the fire.
And while everyone is getting their panties in a bunch about whether or not Ralph Lauren should have manufactured the 2012 uniforms in America or not, we decided to take a look back at the evolution of Team USA’s kit from the games’ inception. What we found was at times surprising (turns out those much-maligned Ralph Lauren-designed berets are actually nothing new) and at other times funny (um, what’s with America’s obsession with white cowboy hats?). It also brings to light the fact that in 2004, Canadian brand Roots actually designed and produced the team’s outfits–which kind of puts all the hubbub about this year’s China-manufactured Ralph Lauren uniforms into perspective.
But fashion criticism aside, Team USA’s get-ups have come a long way. After all, when the games were first hosted in 1896, there wasn’t a cohesive uniform for our athletes. Then came short shorts, snazzy zip front track suits, and some really inexplicably ugly cobalt turtlenecks and red blazers.
Click through to see the evolution.
Photos: Getty / Nike