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The Canadian Tuxedo and the Olympics

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Slide the bar to the left or the right to see the Canadian (left) and American Olympic outfits.

There’s a funny nickname for the combination of jeans and a jean jacket. It’s jokingly known as a “Canadian tuxedo.”

Canada’s Olympic team has embraced the country’s casualness and love of denim, as well as Tokyo’s street art. The team’s official closing ceremony outfit is a jean jacket adorned with what looks like spray-painted images of a Canadian flag, Japanese letters and the Olympic logo.

The outfit was created for Canada’s Olympic team by Hudson’s Bay and Levi’s, and is one of several looks slated to be worn by Canadian athletes at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Team Canada said in a statement that the “unisex trucker jacket … celebrates inclusivity and gender neutrality.”

The Games, which are actually the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (delayed by the pandemic), are scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo and will run until August 8, 2021 assuming they are not once again affected by pandemic restrictions. The Paralympic Games begin August 24 and run until Sept. 5, 2021.

The Canadian outfits were introduced about eight months ago, but they went viral on social media after the American Olympic team revealed its outfits on April 14. They were designed by Polo Ralph Lauren and are very different from the Canadians’ outfits.

Opinions are divided about the fashion looks. Some say the Canadian look is cool and the American look is outdated. Other people say the Canadians’ look is too casual and they prefer the sleeker look of the American team’s clothing.

The Canadians’ outfit will be worn during the closing ceremonies after the Games, which are traditionally less formal and more laid back than the opening ceremonies.

The public can buy the Canadian jacket at thebay.com for $125 and the opening ceremony t-shirt for $25; the white Levi’s jeans are $128. The American closing ceremony jacket can be purchased from Polo Ralph Lauren for $688.

THINK AND DISCUSS

Why do you think the combination of jeans and a jean jacket is called a “Canadian tuxedo”? Explain. (There is an “origin story” for this nickname, involving a singer named Bing Crosby. Read about it on CBC’s website: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/blog/did-bing-crosby-invent-the-canadian-tuxedo-1.4181725)

Using a list of the countries that typically participate in the Summer Olympics, try to find as many team outfits as you can. Which is your favourite? Which do you like least?

Should people care about fashion in the Olympic Games? Why or why not?

Which do you prefer: the Canadian or American Olympic outfit?

Think about your answer to the above question. Was your decision influenced (biased) by the fact that you live in that country? Why or why not?

What do you think of the prices for the Canadian and American clothing?

In what ways are the two teams’ outfits similar? Different?

What, in both teams’ outfits, are symbols of: their country, the Olympics, Tokyo? What other symbols do you notice?

LINKS

Team Canada’s official announcement about their Summer Games outfits:

CNN Style: https://www.cnn.com/style/article/team-canada-usa-olympic-uniforms/index.html

Team USA website: https://www.teamusa.org/

Tokyo Olympics website: https://tokyo2020.org/en/

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics website: https://tokyo2020.org/en/paralympics/

Paralympic.ca website: https://paralympic.ca/tokyo-2020