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Your aunt's 'festive' sweater? Ralph Lauren's Olympic outfits unveiled

Updated: 2014-01-23T20:18:50Z

By MELISSA SCHUPMANN

The Kansas City Star

Team USA's Opening Ceremony outfits for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics were unveiled on Thursday, and well, they're a little loud to say the least.

The navy cardigan, designed by Ralph Lauren, is a plethora of stars, stripes, Olympic rings and American flags. The outfit also features red-laced black leather boots, a cream turtleneck, a "reindeer" hat and white fleece sweatpants.

The philosophy behind the design was to hark back to that most American of crafts, the patchwork quilt, Lauren told USA Today. The opening ceremony outfit is "maybe a little bit more festive," he said, but "especially this year."

Reaction on social media was strong, with descriptions ranging from "hideously ugly" to "looks like Ralph Lauren threw up America" on the outfits. There are supporters, too, but the consensus seems to be that the outfits would fit in well at a holiday ugly sweater party.

The most important feature, though, is the outfits' provenance — the United States. During the 2012 London games, Lauren's uniforms were a point of controversy when it was revealed that much of them were made overseas, especially in China. Ralph Lauren Corp. got the message.

"A dynamic mix of patriotic references in a classic color palette of red, white and navy defines the Ralph Lauren 2014 Team USA Opening ceremony uniform, which is proudly Made in America," the company said in a statement Thursday.

"What I really enjoy when look at it is I can see the patriotic spirit," women's hockey forward Julie Chu told USA Today. "When everyone's wearing it together, it makes a bold statement."

Olympic curlers Jared Zezel and Jessica Schultz debuted the outfit, which can be purchased at RalphLauren.com and TeamUSAShop.org, on the Today show.

Bold is an understatement, although the Norwegian curlers' outfits might give Team USA a run for their money.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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