11 stand-out style moments from Olympic fashion history

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  • These are so much more than your average PE kit…

    Olympic fashion has often moved at its own beat – sometimes an athlete’s kit can sample from the trends of the times, but sometimes it can take off in an entirely unexpected new direction. So as the 2016 games get under way, we’re taking a look at some of the stand-out looks that history (almost) forgot. These are so much more than your average PE kit…

    The ‘babe’ in the cardigan, Los Angeles 1932
    Here’s Mildred ‘Babe’ Didrikson winding up to win her javelin gold medal at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. And she didn’t even need to take her cardie off.

    Straw boaters for Team GB, Atlanta 1996
    At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, rower Steve Redgrave led Team GB’s pack of competitors / punters, who really worked the whole Brits abroad look.

    Stella McCartney kits out Team GB, London 2012
    Of course, every kit that Stella has designed for Team GB has been pretty special. But her London 2012 fashion moment, naturally, is our pick of the crop.

    Blue satin for Team GB, Munich 1972
    Nope, this isn’t a Butlins’ summer team photo. This is Team GB arriving in style at the 1972 games in Munich. Note the pale blue satin mini-dresses and uniform block heels.

    Throwback fashion gold, Athens 1896
    Meet Spyridon Loues, winner of the marathon at the Athens 1896 Olympics. From the billowing sleeves to the embellished waistcoat, we think his attire is everything.

    Evelyn Colyer is the chicest tennis player ever, Paris 1924
    Brit tennis star Evelyn Colyer took home a bronze medal in the 1924 Paris games, after competing in the women’s doubles event. From the cloche hat to the so Chanel cardigan and raised hemline combo, we’re citing her as our new season sportswear muse.

    Ralph Lauren kits out Team USA, Rio 2016
    Ralph has been the American team’s official outfitter since 2008, but we feel he takes the whole stars and stripes theme to stylish new levels with the Rio 2016 kit.

    David Wilkie is sooo Seventies, Montreal 1976
    Now we know that’s an Olympic gold medal, rather than a seriously Seventies medallion necklace, hanging around Aussie swimmer David Wilkie’s neck. But teamed with those psychedelic trunks and that tufty moustache? There’s a hipster out there somewhere right now trying to recreate this exact look.

    Abba tributes, Montreal 1976
    Note, too, the flared trousers in Russian gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s tracksuit ensemble. The 1976 games really were full of Seventies trends.

    Fashionable fencing, Melbourne 1956
    Fencing’s Gillian Sheen is the 1956 Olympics champion, and a total style winner in her white culottes and buttoned poloneck combo.

    Cathy Freeman takes aerodynamics seriously, Sydney 2000

    What better way to ensure you go faster and win gold in the 400 metres final, than to cocoon yourself in a giant Lycra sheath, we say?

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