What to Wear on Ice

Ice skating  triggers some pretty outstanding sartorial choices. We've all come to expect faux-nudity, spangles, airbrushing, fluttering polyester, more spangles, body glitter, blah blah. THEN in 2009, a Russian team felt like maybe it was selfish to only embarrass themselves with their costumes, and decided to embarrass the entire world instead. Hence, costumes "inspired by" Australian Aboriginal traditions.

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin


Of course there's a historic precedent here. Spandex blackface bodysuits don't just "happen". Something about this sport makes people put a little extra effort into their wardrobe.

Here's the kind of c.1899 nonsense that makes every garment I wear seem like it's made out of stapled-together grocery bags fished from the garbage:

"Of mouse grey cloth. Zouave of red velvet with bold embroidery in gold and colored thread, sleeves and skirt similarly decorated, vest of chinchilla with fancy gold buttons. Grey fur tocque and muff"

Here's a comparatively practical option from 1909. Please note how her lovely celery turtleneck complements her pea-green complexion (those were the Fun early days of color printing)


Yay for self-belts, matching hats and the debut of creepy nude-colored skate covers! Norwegian film star/skater Sonja Henie was clearly overjoyed by her frock in this cigarette card picture c.1936:




Here's skating legend Janet Champion in the 1960's, wearing a Wild West saloon girl spangled thingy that is pretty much meaningless compared to WHAT SHE IS DOING WITH HER BODY IN THIS PICTURE. Oh my god. (Janet Champion is still active as a figure skating coach. Go Janet.)



Loving her for a lot of reasons, not least of which: the opera-length gloves seem like a totally practical choice in this scenario.