When Team USA walks with the world’s athletes at the Paris Olympicsopening ceremony, they’ll be doing so in snappy tailored navy blazers from Ralph Lauren—and blue jeans.

Just regular, everyday, denim blue jeans.

Ralph Lauren, which unveiled Tuesday its ninth turn creating Olympic parade looks for the Americans, is billing the pairing as “unexpected,” yet classic.

David Lauren, the company’s chief branding and innovation officer and its founder’s son, was unbothered by the casualness of blue denim.

“We work very closely with Team USA to make the athletes feel at once dressed up, feel like a team, but at the same time comfortable and very distinctively American,” he told the Associated Press on Monday during a media preview at the company’s posh New York headquarters.

“Nothing says America like blue jeans, especially when we’re in Paris,” Lauren added. “And it gives the athletes a chance to feel a sense of a culture but also feel like themselves and what is natural.”

The single-breasted wool blazers come with red-and-white tipping worn with a blue-and-white striped Oxford shirt and cream suede buck lace-up shoes. The jeans, at least, are tapered. Oh, and there are neck ties, in blue.

For the closing ceremony, the team will wear sharp white moto-style denim jeans with matching jackets designed in, yes, patriotic red, white, and blue.

The company gathered a few Paris-bound athletes to show off the parade uniforms for the Summer Games that begin next month in one of the world’s fashion capitals.

Daniela Moroz, 23, is competing in sailing at her first Olympics. She loved the racing details of the closing look she modeled, down to the shoes. The zip jackets have “USA” splashed across the front in huge letters, with “Team USA” in blue high on the outside seam of one pant leg. Team caps are duck bill: The visor is in white, with red and blue details.

“I’m a racer on the water so that really speaks to me,” said Moroz, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, of the moto touches. “It’s super comfortable.”

Lauren called the closing ceremony looks “more graphic, more fun, a little more exciting.”

The company also designed Team USA gear available for sale starting Tuesday at RalphLauren.com, TeamUSAShop.com and company stores in the U.S. and France. Among the wares on offer are polo shirts made of 100% recycled cotton. It’s the first time Ralph Lauren has achieved that level of sustainability in Olympic gear, David Lauren said.

The customizable polo shirt “feels almost like a performance material that has better wicking, better breathability, better stretch,” he said. “And it’s a test for us to see how we can evolve in the future. The Olympics has always been an amazing place to test newness, to try innovation, and to explore with our athletes what the future could look like.”

Some proceeds of retail sales go to help support U.S. athletes training for their Olympic moments. Lauren wouldn’t be more specific on how much money the company sends their way.

The opening and closing ceremony uniforms, the same for the Olympics and subsequent Paralympics, were made in the U.S. The gear on sale to the public was made in both the U.S. and other countries.

Jamal Hill, a Paralympic swimmer who earned a bronze medal in Tokyo, is returning to compete in Paris at age 29. He thinks the uniforms will resonate with millennials and Gen Z.

“They have a really, really nice unique modern flair,” said Hill, who grew up in Los Angeles.

Fencer Daryl Homer, 33, will be Paris as an alternate after he tore his Achilles tendon a month before qualification. It’s his fourth trip to the Olympics. He earned a silver medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Of the blue denim moment, Homer said: “It’s very modern, it’s approachable. We’re going to be walking in Paris in the heat. It’s a lighter look with a bit more room to move around.”

Kamren Larsen, a 24-year-old BMX racer from Bakersfield, California, is headed to his first Olympics. He thinks the crisp blazers with Oxford shirts balance out the more laid-back nature of the jeans.

“I think Ralph did a good job in diversifying,” he said.

—Leanne Italie, AP lifestyles writer


6 thoughts on “‘Distinctively American’: Team USA to wear blue jeans and blazers at the Olympics’ opening ceremony”
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