Olympics: Best/Worst Athletic Wear
BEST: Spain Women's Team Synchronized Swimming
Why It Works: Coach Elisabet Fernandez told the Associated Press that members of her team cut their hair to make the hoods of their mirrored suits work and that special glue was used to secure the garment to their skin. Now that's committing to a look. They're like beautiful sea monsters. Or Beyoncé's backup dancers.
WORST: Great Britain Women's Rhythmic Gymnastics
Why It Doesn't Work: I can appreciate that costumes are an important artistic element in rhythmic gymnastics, but Francesca Jones's crystal and gem embellished faux-halter neck is a little too Toddlers and Tiaras.
BEST: Latvia Men's BMX Cycling
Why It Works: Big stars, bold stripes and the blatant use of color blocking — Maris Strombergs' uniform combines some of my least favorite design elements and yet, somehow, it works. With that Latvian flag billowing out behind him, he looks like a younger, sexier Evel Knievel.
WORST: Italy Women's Team Rhythmic Gymnastics
Why It Doesn't Work: Their flexibility defies logic, but so do their outfits. The erratic slash pattern and nude cut-outs were bad enough, but once they had those ribbons a-twirl there was so much visual static I had to look away.
BEST: Great Britain Women's Team Rhythmic Gymnastics
Why It Works: Now that's more like it. After seeing Italy's panic-inducing ensembles, Team GB's muted — relatively speaking, of course — purple-and-turquoise costumes are a palate cleanser for the eyes.
WORST: Japan Women's Freestyle Wrestling
Why It Doesn't Work: There's no doubt in my mind that Saori Yoshida is the best female wrestler in the world, but I have many questions about that electric blue leotard emblazoned with the head of a roaring tiger. Starting with; ''When did Tygra from the ThunderCats release a clothing collection?''
BEST: France Women's Track & Field
Why It Works: Leave it to the French to make boy shorts and sports bras look chic. Add some simple gold accessories and washboard abs and you've got the ne plus ultra in women's sportswear.
BEST: Australia Women's Diving
Why It Works: Finally, the Aussies get it right! Diver Brittany Broben won the silver medal in women's 10m platform diving, but she gets a gold star from me for this subtle green-and-gold streaked Speedo.
BEST: Mexico Women's Duets Synchronized Swimming
Why It Works: Isabel Delgado Plancarte and Nuria Diosdado Garcia were a two-woman wolf pack when they hit the water. These bedazzled bathing suits are so wrong, they're right. But ladies, spitting out mouthfuls of pool water? Let's hope Ryan Lochte didn't spend any time in there before you.
WORST: Russia Women's Duets Syncronized Swimming
Why It Doesn't Work: Their performance soundtrack included music from Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, but Natalie Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina's horrifying bathing costumes were obviously inspired by the Jigsaw Killer from the Saw movie franchise.
See more syncronized swimming style in Mandi Bierly's PopWatch round-up.
BEST: Jamaica Men's Track & Field
Why It Works: The entire Jamaican Olympic team is giving off good vibrations thanks to uniforms designed for Puma by Cedella Marley, daughter of legendary reggae singer Bob.
WORST: Switzerland Men's Beach Volleyball
Why It Doesn't Work: My brain tells me that those tiny little marks running down the sides of the uniforms worn by Switzerland's Patrick Heuscher and Jefferson Bellaguarda are white crosses from their country's flag, but my fashion sense says it's some kind of bizarre rivet motif. Plus, my boyfriend wore those polarized Oakley's in the mid-'90s (around the same time I wore that red Swatch).
BEST: Denmark Men's Cycling
Why It Works: With his red-and-white color blocked spandex and aerodynamic helmet with tinted visor, Lasse Norman Hansen looked like an angry insect on the track at the men's omnium. I'm all for sartorial intimidation in competitive sports.
WORST: Iceland Men's Handball
Why It Doesn't Work: First of all, handball is an Olympic sport? I like the Icelandic team's cool blue uniforms, but I'm singling out hipster goalkeeper Bjorgvin Pall Gustavsson. Sure, the rules require that he wear a different color jersey — to distinguish him as the only player allowed to be in the goal area — but does it have to be this one? Also, I was going to make a joke that he must be a paid spokesperson for a line of hair care products...until I discovered that he actually is.
BEST: USA Women's Track & Field
Why It Works: The tiger-stripe sleeves Sanya Richards-Ross wears as part of her uniform are meaningful accessories, used to cover up lesions caused by the autoimmune disease that the track star has battled for the past five years. Plus, who other than a female runner would hit the track wearing a pair of enormous gold Chanel earrings?
WORST: USA Men's Basketball
Why It Doesn't Work: While I do love the fact that Nike's Hyper Elite basketball uniforms are made from recycled plastic bottles, I just can't get behind the jarring angular font used to spell out the letters ''USA.'' And is it just me or do the slim cut jerseys look a little too fitted? Like Man-Spanx fitted.
BEST: Netherlands Women's Field Hockey
Why It Works: Who better to show off summer's hottest fashion trend than the supermodels of the Olympics? Dressed in a juicy orange hue, the genetically blessed Dutch squad is causing a stir on Twitter. And they're not just pretty faces, they're the defending Olympic champs and currently ranked number 1 in the world.
WORST: China Women's Badminton
Why It Doesn't Work: Sorry ladies. Look at it this way — making my list of least favorite uniforms isn't the worst thing that happened to you this week.
BEST: USA Men's Water Polo
Why It Works: The only thing hotter than these terry cloth towel robes is what's underneath. I'm talking about the guys' stars-and-stripes print Speedos. Get your mind out of the gutter.
WORST: Italy Men's Volleyball
Why It Doesn't Work: I know that these kits are made from some type of performance-enhancing yarn, but I wish someone would tell me why there's a graphic resembling a giant eyelash across the posterior. (Seriously, do you know? Please tell me!) If you think it's odd that I see the Italian players' backsides winking at me, you don't want to know what I think when I look at the design on the front of their shorts.
BEST: Japan Women's Gymnastics
Why It Works: Legendary designer Hiroko Koshino's uniforms for the women's and men's gymnastics teams feature a stylized version of the nation's rising sun flag, combined with a zebra stripe motif and, naturally, crystals. Sometimes more is more.
WORST: Australia Women's Basketball
Why It Doesn't Work: The no-frills lettering on team Aussie's uniforms made them look borrowed from a local high school. OK, they still won the game, but Brazil was better dressed in green and gold.
BEST: Russia Women's Basketball
Why It Works: Splashed across their warm-up jackets, Team Russia's vertigo-inducing swirl print is a fashion fail, but it totally works when used as an accent stripe on their red-and-white uniforms.
WORST: New Zealand Men's Double Sculls
Why It Doesn't Work: Team Kiwi's Opening Ceremonies ensembles were among my favorites this year (even if they did cause a not-made-in-New Zealand scandal) but not so these rowing singlets. The silver fern would have been cool as a discreet logo, but at this size, it looks like someone is tickling Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan with a cartoon feather.
BEST: USA Women's Single Tennis
Why It Works: Hey Venus, I've got a high school reunion coming up and I want to look hot. Can I borrow that bandage dress you wore for your match against Angelique Kerber? Never mind,I'll just buy my own.
WORST: USA Men's Doubles Tennis
Why It Doesn't Work: Doubles partners Mike and Bob Bryan are twins, so I expected them to show up in cute matching outfits. I was wrong. The violent print on these shirts is giving me agita.
BEST: USA Women's Gymnastics
Why It Works: Those of you who took offense to Team USA's made-in-China opening ceremonies uniforms can rest easy; Pennsylvania-based GK Elite Sportswear manufactured these Swarovski-spangled Adidas leotards worn by the women's gymnastics team in the qualifiers. I'm not crazy about the purple eye shadow, but in the gymnastics world matching your eye makeup to the color of your leotard is de rigueur.
WORST: Australia Women's Beach Volleyball
Why It Doesn't Work: Giving female athletes the option to wear less revealing shorts and sleeved shirts instead of the traditional barely-there bikini is a fashion Do. Team Australia's bikini/bodysuit hybrid? Please Don't.
BEST: Argentina Men's Basketball
Why It Works: Nations of the world take note. Team Argentina's Li-Ning basketball jerseys prove that you can incorporate the colors of a nation's flag into a uniform without causing sensory overload.
WORST: USA Women's Soccer
Why It Doesn't Work: Where's Waldo? Camouflaged among the U.S. women's soccer team.
BEST: Canada Women's Synchronized Diving
Why It Worked: Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel scored the bronze medal for Canada in figure-flattering suits (not that their perfectly toned swimmer's bodies need much help). No word yet whether Heymans, an aspiring swimwear designer, had a hand in the duo's stylish maillots.
BEST: Spain Men's Basketball
Why It Works: After listing their 2008 Opening Ceremony wear among the worst of all time, I've got to give Spain credit for the subtle use of red and yellow on their team basketball uniforms. Their boldly hued home jerseys — also from Li-Ning — score points in my book. I'm even digging Marc Gasol's yellow kicks. Who doesn't love a pop of color?
WORST: USA Women's Syncronized Diving
Why It Doesn't Work: Li-Ning may be the go-to designer for chic basketball uniforms, but swimwear is clearly not their forte. That diagonal white line cutting across the bust of the tank suits worn by U.S. divers Abigail Johnston and Kelci Bryant breaks up the lines of their bodies. And are those stars supposed to look faded, or did the ladies forget to rinse the chlorine out of their suits after practice?
BEST: Great Britain Men's Gymnastics
Why It Works: While Stella McCartney took creative license with the Union Jack when designing the Adidas kit for Team GB, the designer knew her limits. ''For example, with gymnasts you're very much judged according to personal taste,'' the designer told reporters last March. ''The gymnasts would say to me, 'It would be better if the lines were straight — if I wobble, I don't want me clothes to look like I am.'''