Olympic Dressing & How To Achieve Sartorial Gold


04/08/2016 09:00


he Jogos Olímpicos de Verão de 2016 are upon us or, for my non Portuguese speaking friends, The Rio 16 Olympics. Scanning the sports pages on Sunday, a few alarm bells began to ring about how our national team might represent themselves sartorially.

The Olympic games have always been a minefield for nations attempting to show themselves in the best light, while often being patronisingly over-sensitive to the customs of the locals.

2008 France Olympic Team

France making their entrance in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics.

Look at the complete dog’s breakfast France made in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics. While the gents wore cheap, buttoned-up jackets and hats that looked as if they’d done time behind a Dijon deli-counter, les femmes appropriated the oriental in a wrap around ‘kimono’ style jacket tied with judo belts to make them look like sacks of pommes de terre.  And, so as not to confuse the Confucians, they topped the melange off with a beret to tick off another stereotype.

2012 Spain Olympic Team

2012 London Olympics

Space matador meets MacDonalds worker.

Great Britain's space age garb.

If the style-conscious French can get it so wrong,  spare a little pity for the Spanish, who at the 2012 Olympics came up with a team outfit that can only be desribed as Space matador meets MacDonalds worker - un otro desayuno de per (another dog’s breakfast!).

But before we get too grand, let’s not forget Great Britain’s futuristic, space age garb that, despite Danny Boyle’s amazing opening ceremony had Team GB looking akin to a metrosexual boyband.

As an antidote, and for reassurance, I went back to the 1932 British team who went to the Los Angeles Olympics. Wearing fitted blazers, white flannels and striped ties, with polished Oxfords and brilliantined hair that would have made Denis Compton proud, they could have been dressed by the Duke of Windsor himself.

1932 British Olympic Team

1932 British Olympic Team.
Image source: nam.ac

It struck me that, across the years, this semi-formal style has never gone out of fashion and is the appropriate kit for the British sporting gent from Wimbledon to Lords, from Croquet lawn to Rowing Club…and that we still stock versions of this Olympian Kit.

At Peter Christian, we go the whole hog with a traditional ‘Henley’ striped blazer, the original sporting garment designed in 1825. 

For a more ‘deconstructed’ blazer style, we suggest a navy corduroy jacket, softer and less formal than a traditional blazer. Underneath, a square ended, knitted silk tie, worn with a short or long sleeved linen shirt is cool, comfortable and clubbable… Or for a more relaxed neckline, a striped club cravat will give the impression of blue-chip clubbability and Olympian style.

For trews, we would work the light cotton, flat-fronted summer trouser in pale blue or stone (white is terrible for grass stains and wine spills by the way).

While we love the polished black Oxford of yore, for today’s less formal version of the kit, either a chukka boot or penny loafer will light the Olympic torch or, for less formal sporting events, the Sperry deck-shoe or driving moc will add preppiness to your outfit.

So, whilst our athletes are stuck with whatever distasteful rags our bureaucrats pick, remember, you will never be incorrectly dressed if you stick with the Peter Christian winning team.

(Unlike Team Japan 2000 in multicoloured superhero capes!)

Japan 2000 Olympic Team

Go for gold!


Lord T


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04/08/2016 09:00