At long last, Ralph Lauren‘s Team USA Opening Ceremony outfits for the Sochi Winter Olympics have been revealed (see photo, above) — and they’re just about as gaudy and overwrought as it gets. But they’re also very American. So that is neat?
The uniform, which reminds me a little of the pajamas I wear when my radiator breaks mid-Polar Vortex, features a cream cotton turtleneck sweater, slim-fitting white fleece athletic pants emblazoned with the Team USA logo, sporty black leather boots with red laces, a knit reindeer hat and a cotton belt accented with “patriotic” jacquard tape. The pièce de résistance? A “meticulously knit” patchwork cardigan featuring stars — SO many stars! — and “spirited graphics” (read: American flags, the Olympic rings, and the numeral 2014). It’s a far cry from those snappy colorblock pea coats unveiled back in October.
A release explains that the sweater’s schizophrenic nature represents “a ‘patchwork’ in the true sense of the word to make a collage that represents the American athletes who each have their own unique story to tell.” No wonder it’s confused, this poor thing grew up all over the place: According to Today, the wool, originally from Oregon, was spun in Pennsylvania, yarned in North Carolina and finally, knitted in California by a husband and wife duo known as “Ball of Cotton.” (It’s all a bit Portlandia, no?)
In addition to fulfilling America’s wishes for a domestically-produced Team USA outfit (as you’ll recall, Lauren was harshly criticized in 2012 for manufacturing the team’s outfits in China), full proceeds of the $595 cardigan will, for the first time, benefit the U.S. Olympic Committee. Which is nice.
Bonus? You’ll never have to stop by Salvation Army on your way to an Ugly Sweater party again.