The U.S. Olympic Uniforms Stir Up Serious Controversy

07/12/2012 at 03:00 PM ET

Olympics 2012
Courtesy Ralph Lauren

It’s going to be a fashionable 2012 Olympics! Ralph Lauren designed the U.S.A. Opening Ceremony Parade Uniforms, as well as a collection of village wear apparel, and debuted the looks this week.

The classic Opening Ceremony designs (left) — topped off with berets — are reminiscent of Lauren’s signature aesthetic, described by the brand as “classic silhouettes in a timeless palette of navy and white with pops of red.”

However, not everyone is pleased with the navy blazers, white bottoms and hats: Steve Doocy, host of of Fox & Friends, felt that the berets are too French — not American enough — even posing the question, “Why not a baseball cap?” Other news outlets, like the New York Post, found the outfits “too preppy.”

Adding more fuel to the fire, ABC News reported the uniforms were made in China. That prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to go as far as to say the clothing should be burned. “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet saying USA on it painted by hand, that’s what they should do,” he said at a press conference.

So far Ralph Lauren’s reps have declined to comment on the situation, but the U.S. Olympic Committee did release a statement to the Wall Street Journal: “Unlike most Olympic teams around the world, the U.S. Olympic Team is privately funded and we’re grateful for the support of our sponsors. We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company, and excited to watch America’s finest athletes compete at the upcoming Games in London.”

Tell us: Do you think it’s a big deal that the Olympic uniforms are made in China? Are the uniforms are too European? Or are they just embodying the classic style of Ralph Lauren? Vote below!

–Jennifer Cress


FILED UNDER: Athletes , Designers , Fashion
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Showing 108 comments

murray on

They are Ralph Lauren it is clearly his stile. He is American he is promoting his brand. It is privately funded. Get over it.

Mimi on

The worst part is they are MADE IN CHINA.

Ari on

“Why not a baseball cap?” How about because they aren’t running to the grocery store on a Saturday morning? This is the Olympics, they look classy, tailored and together. Not American enough? Has Fox News taken over this website?

JAK on

The uniforms are preppy, classic Ralph Lauren, a celebrated American brand. Big deal if they are made in China, most things are! I do find the berets unnecessary to the uniform though, especially since they are typically associated with the French.

KatR on

Oh God. I’m sure if it was up to Fox News, our athletes would be marching into the stadium wearing ripped jeans showing plenty of butt crack.

christa on

American, would be saggy pants and T shirts. This is classy American.

runnergal on

why are we putting such great emphasis on the clothes when all that matters are the gold medals that the Americans will be taking home. :)

Sheri on

Countries usually wear attire to represent their country – not too many people able to afford $1000 to purchase this outfit. At a time when so many Americans are hurting, modesty may have been a better choice. Secondly, having the uniforms made by an American Company is only common sense considering it is the Olympics Before we go beating up on FOX again – Senator Harry Reid (D) is calling for the uniforms to be burned, but People didn’t add that to the article.Hoping that their writers just didn’t adequately research the story.

Cassie on

@jak u said it all! Totally agree

mepdp on

It is summer time and the athletes will be wearing blazers and berets…when was the last time you saw Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant,and Lebron James dressed like this…

Anne on

Folks, these thing were made in CHINA!!!! Can you even think of the USA Olympic Committee getting these things made in CHINA???

This isn’t about STYLE, it’s about American JOBS!!!

amanda on


KIM on

Are they “too sophisticated”??? That truly is not even a question that should be asked when discussing these foreign made garments.

I’m embarrassed.

LocalLucy on

Berets always look ridiculous. Always. Then there is the question of the bobby socks & skirt…

Jeremy on

The people who are fond of the beret, poseurs, probably also wear black turtlenecks when they “want to be serious.” Likewise, baseball caps are juvenile; the athletes do not have newspaper routes.

Marti Schmidt on

These uniforms are classy and typical of Ralph Lauren’s style. I know our athletes will look fabulous in whatever he designs for them. The berets add a nice touch. We should be proud to have these youngsters representing the USA no matter what they are wearing!!!

guest on

Does Mr. Doocy forget that our Special Forces units in the military wear berets? Tell an Army Ranger that you’d rather he wore a baseball hat, because he looks too European to defend you.

As far as made in China goes…please someone tell me what American clothing company is going to be able to make that many clothes (not just for athletes, but for retail sales, as well). I remember in 2004 and 2008, for the Winter Olympics, Roots made the clothes for our athletes…a Canadian company. Are we angry about that, or just China???

Sandra on

I think they are fabulous. The preppy look IS American to me. Love them.

ap on

I’m screaming liberal American who lives in Europe, and I have to say, they look like stewards and stewardesses for Air France. And why the horse? I hope Ralph is paying the USOC a lot of money.

kkim on

i wonder if he’d tell the green barets they look too european in their uniforms

dpedro on

What about the fact they are manufactured in China?!

Toc on

Very neat, classy and a great representation of the USA!

egni knov on

What is wrong with looking like a European?
American people always want to buy something European.very understandable because the Europeans are so much more stylish and so much ahead in fashion.

Rob on

I think the Ring Wingers at Fox News are Un-American.

Kathie Behm on

The US Olympic team’s uniforms should be “Made in America”. I’m sure some American manufacturer would have loved the work considering our economic state and unemployment status.

Danielle on

The problem is ….that they are made in China….it’s not the style that we are discussing here…….China owed U.S. and that’s unacceptable…and shameful…..that every peace of clothing now is made in China…..our forefathers are turning in their graves……wee sold our souls to China a communist country.

m on

I like the color scheme but they look like flight attendants. Welcome aboard Olympic airlines, please take your seat.

lorelei51h on

They look tacky.I know Ralph Lauren has made and makes better designs than this. I’m already rolling on the floor picturing the Basketball team and the heavyweight wrestlers in those tailored little jackets.

Jon on

Eh, they’re ok!

Eugene Webber on

American! You cannot afford to stick your heads in the sand, China sure does not. NO OTHER COUNTRY, out-sourced their Uniforms. To RALPH LAUREN: REALLY? YOU SHIPPED OUR JOBS TO CHINA, AND NOW YOU WANT PROPS? GO THE F&$^K TO CHINA YOU FREACKIN TRAITOR. This hould have never happened. Ralph decided to have them made in China, not the USOC..

DS on

The outfit looks french with the barret. Also the flag is smaller then the Polo logo. I’m sorry but I feel this does not represent the teams for USA properly. And being made in China, that’s a shame. Ralph Lauren made this his outfit and not an outfit for the American Athletes to show their American Pride. If I was flipping through the channels and didn’t know of these outfits, I would not think it was the American Team unless I saw them holding the American Flag.

MT on

Is anyone going to tell the Green Berets that their hat is not American enough? Talk about nitpicking.

Eli on

You know who else wears berets? Members of the American military. Is this Fox News loser going to tell them they look too French? Please.

It's Insane! on

They are okay. Kind of more prep school/navy cadet school for me, but at least it’s classy. It’s showing respect for the Olympics and that is Ralph Lauren’s style.

BFD on

My only issue with the uniforms is that they’re made in China.

For shame.

sheila on

I think red jackets would have been better with this…more pop. But, I like the look.

meena on

The uniforms look dignified and are Olympic-worthy. For the people who mock berets- would they then argue that the Statue of Liberty is too French? After all it was a gift from France to the United States, and it has since become an iconic American symbol. Would these same insipid fools consider Louisana less than American because of its salient French character? The uniforms achieve their goal which is to put your country’s athletes in the best light on the world stage. They are American enough because they celebrate your country’s athletes with your country’s colours. It is possible to be influenced by many countries’ styles and then make a melting pot look.

Eve on

How about the fact that they are MADE IN CHINA!!!!! What an insult.

Regina B on

Umm, the most elite fighting force in the USA wears berets. Green Berets, anyone?

BBB on

Ick, a baseball cap? Who suggested that??? Just because it’s American doesn’t mean it should be worn to something official/formal. I’d rather they had no headgear than a baseball cap. And too preppy, uh if that was an initial concern then Ralph Lauren shouldn’t have been commissioned–preppy is his signature style! Gees, people like to complain about everything.

Marie on

The berets are a bit much especially since they are so closely associated with the French but other than that I think they look very classy. God forbid the U.S. actually look tasteful.

LB on

Classy? They look like they are serving in the Marines — without the pride. Are they going to the Olympics, or out for a row today? White pants/skirts for the women? Obviously, designed by a man. And, MADE IN CHINA? Good grief.

Amanda on

Too European? Because America is the only country in the world…

Jenn on

They are very Ralph Lauren. What is more American, elegant and classic than Ralph Lauren?

Mandy on

So, now to be classy it MUST be too Euro? Get some pride America! We have style! And I’m not so sure that anything which reminds me SO much of the US Navy could really be THAT Euro.

Colleen on

How is a beret “too French”? Don’t our Armed Forces wear berets??

And if Fox wants this to truly “represent average Americans” more than half the athletes should be obese.

e on

It is America, I say if they want to look like Americans they won’t “uniform” unless they want to but instead outfits that celebrate their love for their country and the freedom of choice it gives you. If their choice is to wear it, great if not htey should pick something else appropriate for the occassion

Chimanian on

“Too European”? I take offense.
The uniforms have a Ralph Lauren American classic look. Crisp. Love it.

Sam on

Too European? What was Ralph Lauren thinking? Make it American. For the boys — have the baggy pants belted below their butt so we can see the boxers. For the girls — have the pants so tight they can barely move and when they do move we get the view of the thong. Now that’s the American style we all know and love! NOT!

Ginny on

The Army wears berets; it’s part of the uniform. Are they too European as well?

Kim on

I think they’re fine. Classic and stylish.

Guest on

The uniforms are very BLAH and stuffy, need something young, trendy and cool. AND THEY ARE MADE IN CHINA!!! What gives, America??

Tracey on

I hate the uniforms. Way to go Olympic committee. We are marching in the opening ceremony wearing outfits made in China. BY the way why are there 3 men and one woman in the picture? Shame on you olympic committee and Ralph Lauren.

Melissa on

Forget how they look, why are they made in China?!?

shannon on

I think the picture w the models are somewhat deceiving. Athletes are going to be wearing them and they are going to be moving and walking and talking, not standing there “at attention” w such stoic faces. It’ll look plenty American.

Tabitha on

For those voters who think this classic, in-good-taste outfit is too European (btw, where fine clothing design began and still reigns), just what do you suggest as true American style? Obese people in tacky t-shirts, white tennis shoes and leggings?

jwdaz on

Oh for pete’s sake….how about our ‘Green Berets’ the elite of the elitist! The uniforms are classy, something that is foreign to Fox News. Actually Fox has lots of class…unfortunatly it’s all low!!!

Roy Platt on

They should definitely not have been made in China. They should not have a logo to promote Ralph Lauren or anyone else except the USA, and they should not have berets…too European! Other than that, they are fabulous!!

Mazda on

Heard the uniforms are being made in CHINA – why is that? Shouldn’t the Olympic Uniforms be MADE IN AMERICA, the athletes are, why not the clothing.

Lily on

The uniforms are MADE IN CHINA
They should burn them

Jenny on

The uniforms are a bit on the “stiff” side. The color scheme is good, but the berets are a bit much. And I would have loved it if someone would have checked Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi’s labels and shoes to see where they were made. I can’t see Nancy shopping at American Apparel! Let it go, it’s done, but they should be more aware next time.

inspiredbykittens on

They are preppy for sure, in an Ivy-League-Frat-Boy-that vacations-in Martha’s Vineyard-kind of way, but that’s Ralph Lauren’s style.
However it’s not the European feel of the uniforms that I don’t like but the fact that, at least in that picture, they have a sort of “eau d’Hitler youth” feel to them.

Kevin Dohn on

This says more about Fox news than it does RL or our olympic teams. And berets not American? Is our military not American?

RL was right on target.

ERolfe on

Not the worst I’ve ever seen, but they look more like boarding school uniforms. I think the winter athletes always get the better deal when it comes to their outfits for the opening/closing ceremonies.

frenchie on

Why 3 men/1 woman on the picture when there are actually more women than men in competition?

Romney on

Last I looked we weren’t european. We are Americans. Remember we left Europe and formed our own country to escape tyranny? Why do we have to copy someone else? Looks like just another step in the ongoing Europeanization of the United States. What a shame…

Eve on

Our Military wears Berets are they also Trying to be “too” French?? The Designer could have gone with a Cowboy hat, but than it would have been a racial debate.

Zaboo on

Now we even LOOK like SOCIALISTS.

Lau on

The poll says
What do you think of the Olympic uniforms?
They’re classic and sophisticated.
They’re too-European.

They can be European, classic and sophisticated at the same time.
But for sure, they are horrible.

Kelli on

Because all Americans wear berets….

Jeanne Mullen on

Better to be tacky Yankee Doodles than European Dandies! Ditch the uniforms, go as individuals all carrying small US flags… that’s who we are!

USA all the way on

For those of you trying to make this political and blasting Fox News for comments made by Steve Doocy, note that DEMOCRAT Harry Reid called for the uniforms to be burned. Uniforms made in China should be the very last choice for the US Olympics team. Seriously ridiculous and I hope that there’s enough backlash that the decision is made to have the uniforms made in the US.

lww on

Forget the “european” fashion . . . they were made in fricking CHINA!!!! Way to go OC. “Made in America” is a hot topic in our country, and our Olympians are going to be trotted out in clothes made in China. Really?!?!?!?!

Dee on

They want us to make donations to the Olympic committee and they can’t have uniforms made in the USA to help create jobs? Right now, every bit helps!

Missy on

For those who are so worried about things being “American enough” — just be happy that it’s an American company and move on. If you don’t like it, sponsor an Olympian and pay for their uniforms yourself. Otherwise just say “thank you” to Ralph Lauren for helping out. PS – does no one remember that a Canadian company called Roots outfitted our Olympic team for not one but TWO Olympic games? The teams looked fabulous then and the team outfits look fabulous now.

elizabeth on

You don’t find with the economy the way it is that Made in China is a big deal? The US doesn’t manufacture anything anymore. That gig could have given alot of jobs to Americans. Task ordered and temporary but at least a job for awhile. It is a big deal! It is HUGE. Our economy is in the toilet and our own Olympic Committee can’t even contract out to an American company that actually employees Americans. HUGE!
Where is….of the people, by the people, for the people

BeachBum on

I am not implying that I could have created anything better, but these “uniforms” do not look like the uniforms of strong, competitive American men and women. The uniforms remind me of something that the Von Trapp family would have worn; they are not sophisticated or cool (IMHO) and they do not represent the rebellious and valiant culture of America.

Sassy on

Aren’t the U.S.of A. mostly of European heritage? English, Irish, Italian, German, etc? What’s the buzz?

elizabeth on

The Buzz is MADE IN CHINA.

I agree with an earier post, let them wear what they want and carry an American flag.

lulu on

Why? Money.

It all comes down to money. It always has and it always will.

$$$ is the answer here folks, it’s all these guys care about.

Molly on

Love Ralph Lauren, he is American! Made in China I am not so impressed with.

Susan Smith on

Too bad Ralph Lauren people didn’t think to have a US textile mill make the uniforms in the USA. What about a baseball hat – cooler and the heat in London will engult the blazers and long sleeve shirts into mush….It’s SUMMER, a very classic sheeting jacket and smart tee would have been much better.

Guest on

I don’t think they’re too European, it’s very on par with Ralph Lauren’s STYLE but the fact that they were made in China is a real turn off.

sheila on

People who use the word tacky to describe this look are obviously lacking any taste. Since when is a well tailored sport coat/jacket tacky? Go back to your Wal-Mart style!

A.S. Carr on

If the US Government actually provided financial support the the Olympians, like all other countries do, they could buy their uniforms from American manufacturers. Since they don’t and cost is a definite consideration, they get what they can afford – in this course, it’s outsourced. Pay up or shut up!

Kitty on

I did a google search for clothing “Made in the USA.” It was all small businesses. I can’t imagine any of them having the ability to donate the amount of clothing that the athletes would require. So while it burns my tush that the athletes are wearing clothing manufatured in China – I don’t see where there was a choice. I can’t imagine RL opening up a manufacturing plant to make one event’s worth of clothing.

A.S. Carr on

… in this case it’s outsourced.

Alyssa Watson on

It is bad that the outfits are made in China (if they are). The outfits are classic, but I don’t like the (FRENCH) berets.

Alicia on

They are made in China :(

brenna1958 on

Quintessentially American! Dump the beret, make in USA.

brenna1958 on

Quintessentially American! Dump the beret, make in the USA.

mark on

Boycott Ralph Lauren. How dimwitted can you be to clothe the athletes representing your country in garments made in another country? While people are losing homes in the USA, we send our young people to England in Chinese clothes.

staceyhead84 on

I think they’re kinda cute myself!

patriotson on

The uniforms are to Chinese. What is wrong with making clothing from the USA? It is time for us to demonstrate our exceptionalism inspite of Obama and his view of a diminished America tied to a world governemnt.

MC on

i agree dump the beret and display a baseball cap… especially since our national past-time sports baseball & softball was kicked out of the olympics this year by the IOC for rugby & golf. it would be a nice symbol of American pride

Alana on

Another beautiful job by Mr. Lauren. What’s the problem with them? Afraid your Team U.S.A. is going to look too put together, too classy? It’s going to be the first time, my memory, that they’re not going to look like a bunch of punk kids off of the street.

Alana on

Forgot to mention…To those who call the hats “berets”, they’re not. Berets have body to them and they slouch to one side. These are brimless caps that fit tightly to the head. Team U.S.A. doesn’t need to wear a baseball cap to be identified as Americans, especially when they are wearing a classy uniform.

EVA on

hat definitely looks like the Polish flag!! So , definitely looks like a Polish uniform

Susan on

Duh! Yes, BIG DEAL if they’re made in China! I try NEVER to buy anything made in China, and here in Hawaii, that’s not easy, since they’re catering to the Chinese. First it was the Japanese, but they’ve been here so much already, that Hawaii is looking for another source to help the economy. Also, don’t know about anyone else, but I’m from Hawaii, and I NEVER dress casually with ripped jeans, etc. That is NOT American, and neither are berets! We had better wise up, America!


Remember when Mao was in charge of China, they had millions of men and women in the army, threatening us.
Then Mao died, and we persuaded his successors to make China a market economy and now there are fewer people in the Chinese army. If we take their jobs away now, all those workers are likely to be back in the army tomorrow. You can guess what they will be training for!!!

Tinamarie Bruns on

Before they were produced,he must have submitted a sample for approval!I totally agree the RL label on the jacket should have been the flag or USA.RL was totally out of line with his company logo there,but that’s how he makes his brand.They look crisp and clean.I don’t think it represents American.You get what you pay!

Sophia on

Manufacturing the U.S. Olympic team ceremonial uniforms in China is so wrong, particularly during such a down economy here in the US as this is yet another example of jobs that could, and frankly, should belong to Americans are being shipped offshore. All things USA Olympic should be manufactured in the USA — show some TEAM USA spirit and unity. As far as the design of the uniforms, Ralph Lauren, I believe is a good choice, classic American style. The beret, however, does remind one of either the French, or a military special forces (Green Beret)uniform piece. I suggest he do a bit more research on classic American sport toppers and bring his interpretation to same. Crisp and classic, overall though, and a refreshing change from the sloppy and slouchy inspired stuff we see so much of these days.

Sophia on

Not a Democrat or Republican issue. We’re all entitled to our opinion in this country and must do better respecting those with whom we differ.

The USA Olympic Team is AMERICAN: Red, White, and Blue. Not just red. Not just blue.

Marsha on

It looks like team Ralph Lauren

PeterPan on

Are they insane? These outfits were classy and sophisticated! I was proud to see my country looking so well put together out there! “Why not wear baseball caps?” Uh, no. While it is an American symbol.. not for the Olympics. Wear baseball caps on the fourth of July. While being presented in front of several different nations, you want to look your best.

Karli on

Με αφορμή το σχόλιο σας πώς δεν πετάς έτσι ανθρώπους που έχεις εκπαιδεύσει τόσο σκληρά έχω να προσθέσω το εξής, το ζήτημα των ανθρώπων που απολύονται από τις ειδικές δυνάμεις δεν είναι μόνο βιοποριστικό αλλά και ψυχολογικό, τι θέλω να πω με αυτό, πρόκειται για ανθρώπους οι οποίοι συνήθως προέρχονται από λαϊκά στρώματα οι οποίοι μέσα στο Στρατό βρίσκονται στην ελίτ, δεν είναι κάποιοι που απλά υπηρετούν τη θητεία τους, είναι οι καλύτεροι, αποτελούν το καμάρι των ενόπλων δυνάμεων και αυτό το συναίσθημα μάλλον δεν θα το ξανανιώσουν στη ζωή τους, απολυόμενοι ξαναμπαίνουν στο . Προς συμπλήρωση των παραπάνω, όσο και αν η συγκεκριμένη ταινία δεν αποτελεί κινηματογραφικό αριστούργημα να σας θυμίσω τη σκηνή από την ταινία ”ΡΑΜΠΟ ΤΟ ΠΡΩΤΟ ΑΙΜΑ” στην οποία ο βετεράνος commando συναντά τον διοικητή του μετά τα όσα έχει διαπράξει και το ξέσπασμα που ακολουθεί.Με σεβασμό Καταδρομέας.

Yody on

WoW! This is really too close to call. Every time I would ddciee on the worst’, I would then scroll to the next picture and there would be a new worst’. Tell your students that your mom is impressed with their creativity in displaying their unique ideas of fashion disasters’. I do hate to tell them though that some of their ideas of fashion disasters actually pass as fashion’ here. Sad but true. Love you and love seeing your students. kisses and hugsmom

Amanda on

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