In Depth

Skimpy and patriotic: The verdict on Team GB's Olympic kit

Outfits contrast 'British tradition with a modern attitude' – but leave some worried for Tom Daley's modesty

With 100 days to go, Team GB has unveiled its kits for the Rio Olympics – and they've had the fashion critics racing to comment.

The outfits, designed by Stella McCartney, who created the kit for London 2012, were modelled by Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including Olivia Breen, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Tom Daley, who sported a pair of exceptionally small trunks.

The red, white and blue outfits feature a new coat of arms, which has been designed by the College of Arms in partnership with a digital artist. 

"The goal for Rio 2016 was to rewrite the rules of performance and design for athletes, allowing them to look and feel like champions on and off the field," said McCartney. The crest aims to contrast "British tradition with a modern attitude", she added.

The coat of arms is "highly patriotic", says Emma Spedding of the Daily Telegraph. It incorporates floral emblems of the four home nations and a lion, while the Latin motto translates as: "Conjoined in one."

The design team "considered using a fox" but "decided to stay with the oh-so British lion, which is also a symbol of strength and athleticism", she adds.

After the success of London 2012, the new kit is "emblematic of the more confidently patriotic mood", says Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian. The crest is "a nod to the ancient British mastery of the supposedly modern notion of branding", she adds: "It is a neat representation of the blending of tradition with 21st century showmanship which Brand GB in all forms, from Danny Boyle's 2012 Opening Ceremony to Kensington Palace's bedtime-with-the-Obamas Prince George photo, seeks to embody."

The "skimpy" designs are certainly "eyebrow-raising", says the Daily Mail, and are "sure to attract a whole new audience to the Olympics…

"But sport might be the last thing on anyone's mind," it continues, before speculating that Daley might lose his trunks during the diving competition.

"One thing is certain, you can't accuse McCartney of being boring with this bright and tight wardrobe of gear, which is more than can be said for the dull-as-ditchwater strip the England football team will be turning out in when the first ball of the Euro 2016 tournament is kicked in June," says the paper.

The collection "shows precisely how far sportswear has come", says Karen Dacre of the Evening Standard, who notes that the popularity of Lycra as everyday clothing gives the range a broader appeal. 

It is "brighter and more photogenic" than McCartney's 2012 effort, she adds, and fits in with current trends, although the "oversized" crest "runs the risk of stealing the glory from the athlete who wears it".

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