Fashion Reports

The Pre-Race Report

Pop quiz: How many times did I use the word Ďfashioní in the preceding paragraph? The word has now lost all meaning to me.
Swimmerboy: My doing this column might lead you to think that Iím something of a fashion guru and therefore well equipped to dole out fashion snark to the Racers. Well then, you would think wrong. Honestly, I know nothing about fashion--especially womenís. I mean my favorite outfit is a pair of jeans and flip flopsówhich can be very fashionable, I guess, depending on the designer. But I do know when someone should make the best or worst-dressed list. I usually have it pegged when they do the fashion segments for the various awards shows. And hey, I am gay after all so there should be some fashion sense inherent in me. Pop quiz: How many times did I use the word Ďfashioní in the preceding paragraph? The word has now lost all meaning to me.

Daria: Hey, I wear jeans and flip-flops a lot, too! But as a subscriber to both Vogue and Backpacker Magazine, I believe Iím well-qualified to snark on TAR4 fashions. While itís not always possible for racers to be practical and attractive at the same time, Iím nonetheless hoping to dole out a few style points.

Shoes Ė Swimmerboy says: In a situation like the Race, itís best to keep things as comfortable as possible. Sneakers and/or running shoes are the way to go. Also, a good pair of waterproof slip on shoes or sandals will come in handy for those times when tasks are performed in wet areas. But please, donít wear these as your everyday footwear. (Iím looking at you, Wil.)

Daria says: Your average running shoe looks like the love child of a rubber tree and a concrete block. Comfort rules here. Letís hope we donít hear about or, especially, see nasty broken blisters oozing all over the insides of the racersí footwear.

Pants Ė Swimmerboy says: First things first. NO BLUE JEANS. Despite my affinity for them, they are very impractical for racing. Pants in a light, breathable material are the way to go. Darker colors are best because running around with visible stains on your clothes is never fashionable. Shorts are good, too, especially if you have nice legs like those taut twins of last season. UhÖyeah. One might even consider the zip-off pants worn by both the twins and Zach for practicality.

Daria says: Those pants with the zippers at the knees are so practical Ė and ugly! I hate them. If I were running the race, Iíd buy a pair, then burn them afterwards. Maybe someone will show up with a more creative alternative in TAR4.

Shirts Ė Swimmerboy says: Matching shirts are a big no-no in my book. Coordination is key if you want to appear distinguishable as a team. John Vito and Jill pulled this off nicely many times, most notably when they both wore mock baseball jerseys in blue and pink, respectively. On that same note, however, John Vito should never wear a shirt. Ever. EVER!

Daria says: Shirts are usually key to a teamís ďunified look.Ē Underrated from TAR3 were Andre and Damon Ė their look was very subtle, as though they didnít have a one. But they did, and they get credit for that. And unlike Swimmerboy, Iíll give Teri and Ian color points for their matching pastel shirts. But I agree about John Vito.

Backpacks Ė Swimmerboy says: I traveled to Europe with a group of friends a few years back. It was a two month trip. Most of us had large suitcases that would require a forklift to lift. One guy came with only a school size backpack and was somehow able to carry more stuff in there than I could fit into my suitcase. Okay, thatís exaggerating a bit, but it was pretty small. I guess what Iím getting at is the smaller the better. And make sure itís proportioned to your body. We donít want someone getting crushed by their own pack.
The hats on TAR get worse every season. I thought Wilís hideous wool hat couldnít be beat, then Ian showed up with his asshat.
Daria says: In TAR3, John Vito and Jill and the Wonder Twins had packs that were featured either in the REI sale catalogue or the Backpacker Magazine annual gear report, I forget which. Their packs seemed sturdy, yet didnít seem to weigh the teams down or inhibit movement. JVJís packs get points for a sleeker design; the Twinsí packs were visually busy, with too many dangling straps. On the other hand, the color advantage goes to Derek and Drewís choice of dark and light blue, as opposed to the uninspired tan and brown John Vito and Jill chose.

Hats Ė Swimmerboy says: Funny thing those hats. Obviously theyíre good for keeping your head cool or the sun out of your eyes. Unfortunately, there arenít many made that will prevent you from looking like a dork.

Daria says: Isnít that the truth? The hats on TAR get worse every season. I thought Wilís hideous wool hat couldnít be beat, then Ian showed up with his asshat. This makes me nervous about TAR4.

Cosmetics Ė Swimmerboy says: Iím afraid Iím out of my league here. Iíll defer to Daria on this one.

Daria says: If the racers werenít reasonably telegenic, they wouldnít be cast in the first place Ė we all know that. So make-up should begin with a gently tinted lip gloss incorporating a sunscreen, and end with a concealer for shadows under the eyes and the occasional zit. Mascara is unforgivable. It will run, and it will make a racer look ugly when it does. Eyelashes either show up or they donít. If they show up, mascara is unnecessary. If they donít, a lash tint is about $35 and makes lashes will be visible for 6-8 weeks, which is just enough time for the race.

Hair Ė Swimmerboy says: Keep it short, pulled up, or tied back. The only time to let your hair down is on those long car/bus/train/plane trips. Oh, and keep it washed, guys. Nothing worse than smelly, stringy, ratty hair.

Daria says: Male racers who are bald should be grateful; others should go as short as they can stand. Female racers should think about how their hair looks when they donít have time to care for it. As much as I liked TAR2's Tara, I thought she had ratty hair, which she should have worn up. And while enough bad cannot be said about Paigeís tiny ponytail horns of fashion tragedy (tm Miss Alli), I wonít say it here. By contrast, the women of TAR3 all seemed to have good hair. They either got it cut short before the race, or knew when to pull it back, when to put it up, and when to let it hang loose. Yay, women of TAR3! May the women of TAR4 do as well.

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