The term "Olympic athlete" doesn't necessarily coincide with being trendy or fashionable, but at this year's Summer Games, Team USA showed it has more than just fierce competitors on its squad--it also boasted trendsetters. I've awarded each of my favorite fashionable Olympians a medal for their attire choices.
Bronze: Russell Westbrook
Westbrook gets the bronze, in part due to his most famous accessory besides a basketball: his never ending supply of no-lens, no-nonsense glasses. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard often sported a red Wayfarer frame off the court during the 2011-2012 season, becoming fodder for Charles Barkley and other commentators during the playoffs. I can understand why they're poking fun, but I happen to love myself a good hipster-basketball star.
Much to my chagrin, the Olympics were no exception to the glasses trend. A slimmer, sleeker, black version of the favored red frames made a statement at the Olympic opening ceremonies on July 27. Coupled with the Ralph Lauren designed Team USA ensemble, including a blue beret, Westbrook looked straight out of a 1970?s military flick.
Westbrook was the only one from the basketball team to accessorize that night, unless you count tattoos as accessories, and stood out a little too much for my taste.
I would have ditched the glasses. They're totally acceptable in a post-game press conference, but when you're in the presence of the Queen of England, "dress to impress" should be the theme of the evening. That's where he lost the most points or else there may have been in a tie for silver.
Silver: Gabby Douglas
The runner up is gold-medal winning Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas. Her fashion splash didn't happen at the games; she made her waves when she got back to the States. One of her first stops on her press tour was the Late Show with David Letterman, where she strutted out in a vibrant printed halter-tunic, hot pink pencil mini and chunky platform sandals.
The look was definitely more on the adolescent side than her teammates' choices that night, but it's appropriate. She's a high school student and can get away with the pinks and pumps. She got her chance to spice it up this week at an Essence photo shoot, where she donned a gold J. Mendel body-hugging dress and Jimmy Choos among other fantastic selections for the spread. Look for her in the October and November issues on newsstands this fall.
16-year-old Douglas scores high in my book. She keeps it real (hair and all) and follows in Westbrook's footsteps by being original. She is a great role model for today's youth, not just in a leotard, but also in her everyday attire.
Gold: Ryan Lochte
And the gold goes to Lochte. The swimming phenom is presumptively the only medal winner to ever be told he must remove his Paul Wall-designed grills while on the podium. Maybe it was because the diamonds in his mouth sparkled more than the medal, but he won me over with that move.
The diamonds weren't the end, though. He flew to the top of my list when he took on mint green pants and a David Bowie screen printed tee during a night on the town. Sure, he sweated a decent amount as he danced at The Rose Club, but who cares? He even made a wallet chain look hot. Need I say more? I'm certainly looking forward to seeing more from the fashion-forward (or maybe backwards with Bowie, a wallet chain and grill) star.