Most teams at the Pan Am Games opening ceremony on Friday dressed their athletes in boring tracksuits, but some put in great effort to stand out.
Some from the 41 territories were rewarded for their boldness. Others demonstrated that designing uniforms is a delicate art, with a fine line between the sublime and sartorial damnation.
The Toronto Star takes a look at nine of the most interesting ones.
Antigua and Barbuda
The contingent from the twin-island country is drawing all the eyes. Antigua and Barbuda athletes appeared to be the only ones who wore ties under their tracksuits — a jarring clash, but ‘A’ for courage.
The British Overseas Territory made a risky move by pairing shorts with formal jackets. The shorts were in one of Bermuda’s colours: red. It’s hard to pull off, but pull it off the team did, looking dapper with their navy blue jackets.
Always the creatives, Brazilians are. Their uniforms appear to be a spiritual replica of their flag, with the same unconventional geometry. For women, the country’s colours run horizontal on the lower halves of their tops; for men, they run diagonally.
Colombia’s colourful hats are paired with a conservative white shirt and grey pants, with the shirts worn un-tucked — uncommon for uniforms. The entire ensemble is topped off with colourful hats.
The Central American nation was the only one to provide what appeared to be T-shirts for its athletes — a brave and unconventional choice.
Grenada has billowing white Hawaiian shirts for men, with a yellowish floral pattern. It is one of the few that has dresses for women.
The Guyanese were not the only ones to have vests, but they were the ones who pulled it off the best. The team wore black vests with green in front on top of yellow shirts and black pants. Women wore the same, uncommon for those not in tracksuits.
Puerto Rican athletes stood out with their straw fedoras, a quintessentially summer headgear that classes up any uniform. Puerto Rico is also one of the few countries to have some uniform diversity, with athletes wearing either blazers or zip-up polos.
This South American country has achieved — presumably unintentionally — a subtle sartorial excellence that one has to look really closely to discover. The blue-and-yellow tracksuit comes with red sleeves that are criss-crossed with black lines. One can almost mistake an athlete for Spider-Man.
Canada appears to be the only country that stuck a national symbol up front, blown-up and covering athletes’ chests from side to side. “Canada” is also written on the back in all capital letters.
The country has always been understated when compared to the United States, but this time, Canadian uniforms stood out strongly when contrasted with the U.S.’s muted one-colour tracksuit.