With designers like Armani and Ralph Lauren tackling Olympic team fashion, you'd expect the Parade of Nations to be Sochi's answer to New York Fashion Week. But many countries sported looks that belonged on the slopes instead of in the stadium---with a few notable exceptions. Here are my picks for the strongest sartorial statements from the Opening Ceremony of the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
Best dressed :: Sweden
Designed by H&M, Sweden's blue and yellow uniforms were the most fashion forward of all 88 nations. I wouldn't expect anything less from the ever-stylish Swedes.
Most memorable :: USA
Ralph Lauren designed the night's most patriotic and polarizing outfits, also known as the Christmas sweaters seen 'round the world. I liked the shawl collars, hiking boots and après-ski vibe. Looking for the sweater? Sorry, it's already sold out online.
Most traditional :: Russia
The host country team came out in uniforms inspired by their past. Adorned with fur, sheepskin and folkloric symbols, Team Russia made a stylish statement at a ceremony that celebrated their cultural past. Honorable mention goes to Team Canada for their duffle coats, which mirrored the iconic 18th-century Hudson's Bay Company point blankets. If you want to dress like a Canadian athlete, you can buy the official apparel here.
Best print :: Ukraine
Puffy jackets covered in a patriotic organism print reminded me of pieces you'd see from French design house Kenzo.
Most confused :: Cayman Islands
Did they know it's the Winter Olympics? These Caymanians were the bravest of the night, wearing shorts and flip flops. They weren't, however, the only team in shorts; Team Bermuda also sported, you guessed it, Bermuda shorts.
Best neon :: Lithuania
In a sea of forgettable uniforms, Team Lithuania went for the boldest color combo of the night---besides the Germans, who maintain that their rainbow uniforms were just a style choice and not a political statement.
While these striking showpieces weren't on display at the Parade of Nations, I'd be remiss to write about Olympic fashion without including them. I give you Mexico's mariachi-inspired slalom ski suit and Norway's curling uniform.
This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.
[photos via getty, epa & ap photo]