Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Crimes of Fashion #1

We gym fans have seen a lot of heinous leotards in our time- too many to count.  From the repeat-offending Spanish team to the leotard-as-ball-gown Ukrainan monstrosities.  There have been some spectacular team uniform offenses from some countries over the years as The Australian Gymnastics Blog would have you know.  But at least, most of the time, with leotards, we can blame the team coordinator, or whoever it is that is actually responsible for these decisions.  But what about when gymnasts leave the gym?   It's like in the Tina Fey movie, Mean Girls, when one of the characters, Janis Ian spots a teacher at the mall and says; "I hate seeing teachers out of school.  It's like seeing a dog walk on it's hind legs."
It can be the same with gymnasts.  Seeing them out of their leos can be strange, especially when they are making some highly dubious sartorial choices.
Therefore, today I present to you, the first entry on the out-of-leo fashion crimes. This weeks episode;  

Fashion Safety in Numbers (Not)

Remember when you were a kid, and you'd do bad stuff only if everyone else was doing it?Because getting in trouble together wasn't nearly as bad as getting in trouble on your own?  It seems to be a similar case with fashion crimes.  They are, it seems, best committed in large groups.

1. The Morph Syndrome

As we have seen in the earlier hair post, gymnasts who spend so much time together, sometimes tend to morph into each other fashion-wise.
Now it's not so much that the US girls are committing a fashion crime in this photo as such.  They look nice enough. But what I want to know is, do they plan these things? Why all the matching monochrome?  It can't be that they get dressed together.  Otherwise, why would Sam and Nastia have turned up in basically the same outfit?
 You'd think getting into your own civvies and going out together would be a relief after all that team uniform same-ness, but no, not here.  I wonder, did the girls call each other and coordinate before the event? Is there someone in charge (A-Sac or Nastia perhaps)?  Someone who says "Okay black and white only tonight, girls."? Are they afraid of clashing? Or is it just that they have hung out in the gym so much they have essentially become the same being?

2. Group Retro. Nineties Style.

Now before you ask, "what's wrong with this picture?  They don't look so bad." (Though if you had to ask that about Mohini's dress, I worry. Oh Mohini, you are such a beautiful girl, but did you, perhaps, hang out with Pammy Anderson for too long? I know she like, paid for you to go to the Olympics, but a simple thank you note would probably do as homage.)
A. They do look kinda bad (except Terin.  She looks pretty and remembered to follow what I had previously thought was a basic rule.  Keep It Simple.  Courtney McC might pass with a shove too. It's as a collective outfit that they don't work).
B. Also, please consider something very important you may be missing as you gaze upon their many-medal-winning smiles. This is the  2004 Olympic team, not, as one could not be blamed for thinking, the 1992 Olympic team, as their nineties fashion stylings might lead you to think.
See? It's like a collective gymnastic team fashion unconscious. Those who dress together, regress together. They must each think, "let's all revisit the most awkward sartorial decade together! It'll be fun!" If so, they are a bad influence on each other. Which leads me to...

3. I blame Terin Humphrey.

For this one, peoples, it's not the outfit i worry about so much, it's the make up. Now I know Terin Humphrey had quite a proclivity toward the ol' heavy eye make-up, and she actually looked good in it.  But it seem to have infected the whole team (Except Annia, who was clearly too old and wise to follow blindly) I understand the concept of wearing a lot of make up during performances, so you can be seen, but this much collective eye war-paint on a daytime outing?
Particularly, I dearly wish someone had told Carly and Courtney to PUT DOWN THE EYELINER AND BACK AWAY. It make Carly's eyes look small and a little beady, which they already have a tendency towards, and those heavy black rims do not suit Courtney's fresh faced prettiness one bit.  I mean, come on ladies, if Terin jumped off a cliff, would you?!

4. Denim attracts Denim
Words cannot express how much i love this photo. I can't even decide what i love more about it, the matching denim, the fantastic hair or Chusovitina's pose. It is pure, pure eighties gold (although it was actually taken in the nineties. But then, they are Eastern European and as I have said before, they were a little left in the dark what with the Fashion Iron Curtain being up for so long). Do you think they saved up their rubles and all went out to buy these jackets together? As a sort of team activity? Oh i hope so.
Isn't never wearing denim on denim like, fashion commandment number One?  Geez, and I thought the US team were morphing! I guess the Russians were doing communism at the time, I suppose. Maybe that translated to their clothing. Maybe this is actually the team uniform?

5. Dare to be different

It seems the Russians have moved on a decade.  Time has passed. Communism has been left by the wayside and the Russian team are beginning to express themselves more individually now. (As in they have each made their own, individual interpretation of nineties fashion and maintained it wholeheartedly into the twenty-first century) 
We have a little bit of everything here from that hallowed ers.  There is the clip belt buckle,the creased visor baseball cap, a little bit of stonewash, and the piece de' resistance- the cropped, tie-up shirt.

6. The Old High Pony Tail.

The Romanian girls certainly seem to believe in safety in numbers. But at least it is a non-offensive form of gang fashion warfare. It's all demure denim and high pony's with this lot. Nice to see they are mixing thing up in the shoe and top department though. Sandra looks gorgeous in the heels, while Stels is still wearing THAT jacket. Now, I have to say, I don't really spend a lot of time looking at pictures of Steliana in her civvies, but even i have noticed that she is nearly always wearing that creepy cropped white nineties parka thing in nearly every photo i have seen of her.  I could do an entire entry on that.  In fact, if i get desperate for a list later, I might.  
Now I know that gymnasts, particularly Romanians, probably don't have a lot of money for clothes, but I have done a lot of photo trawling these past couple of days and i can tell you that Steliana does, in fact, posess other, much nicer jackets (with a lot more torso coverage too)! For the love of god, why oh why won't she wear them?

7. Folk Stylings

Oh those poor Romanian girls. Even when they are out of their leo's and their coordinated denim, they still have to match. I can only suppose this is some traditional Romanian peasant outfit thing-y- and they have been forced to wear it for some cultural shindig. Otherwise i would really, really begin to worry about them (I may already be worried about Sandra).

8. Not So Criminal

Well, unlike the Romanians, for the Brazilian girls it's all about wearing the hair out and long. They also seem to share a penchant for large sunnies and larger earrings.  They may be accessorizing en masse.  But they look good doing it.

Anyway, that's all for Crimes of Fashion for this week. Stay tuned for some more...well...more individual crimes next week.


  1. In the top picture of the 2008 girls, who is the gymnast to the left of Nastia?

  2. Don't know. I can only guess, seeing that she has snuck in some blue to her ensemble, that she might be some random other.