Ryan Lochte’s 18 Fashion Rules

He calls his personal style “rockstar swagger.” He dreams of becoming a clothing designer. His idol is Lil’ Wayne. And he’s shaping up to be the face (and abs and pecs) of the U.S. Olympic team. Let’s see what we can learn about fashion from this spectacular male specimen.

1. Embrace corny USA tees.

Michael Sohn / AP

Obviously these tees aren’t optional for Olympic athletes representing the U.S., but Lochte takes the corny factor one step further with the faded sort of graphic you’d expect to see worn either:

1) Ironically with the arm holes cut to gaping proportions over neon sports bras with cut-off jorts and studded converses. Or,
2) On People of Wal-Mart.

Lochte, seen here preparing for a relay race alongside Michael Phelps, manages to make the shirt not look like a red, white, and blue popsicle wrapper, which is a feat when you’re wearing what look like biker shorts (i.e. the suburban mom’s de facto amusement park outfit).

2. Find unique ways to incorporate American flags into your look.


Lochte wore this semi-controversial diamond flag grill for his gold medal ceremony the other day. An official told him he wouldn’t get his medal — the U.S.’s first gold in these Games — if he wore it, so he put it on after they gave him the medal, that sassy thing. Judging by some of Lochte’s poolside fashion statements, depriving him completely of bedazzlement would be like trying to iron the wrinkles out of an elephant’s skin. Some creatures just have a look, you know?

MARTIN BUREAU / Getty Images

And really, what about this gray jacket and black pants uniform sparkles even close to the way the diamond dentures do? Nothing about it, that’s what.

3. Add bracelets.

Daniel Ochoa De Olza / AP

Lochte appears to enjoy the men’s styles by jewelry brand Niyala, according to Coolspotters. Our aquatic cherub here does not swim in these things, but wears different styles, sometimes stacked. It looks like the kind of thing any average Lochte wannabe/fan could pick up at their local mall kiosk BUT…

Many of the styles are actually quite expensive (the average seems to be $400ish, the sparklier styles being costlier). The brand’s website includes a celebrity section, boasting photos of everyone from Justin Bieber to P. Diddy wearing this jewelry. Egregiously, Lochte is nowhere to be found.

DAVID GRAY / Reuters

4. Get tattoos of meaningful things.

MARTIN BUREAU / Getty Images

Lochte’s alligator tattoo pays homage to his alma mater, the University of Florida. In an incredibly awkward 2008 interview with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, he says “once a gator always a gator,” or something like that. The clip was so painful to watch I couldn’t bear to rewind it and watch it again to make sure that’s the exact transcription.

Mark J. Terrill / AP

Adorning his right bicep are the Olympic rings.

5. Embrace festive swimwear.

Al Bello / Getty Images

Lochte is the most interesting to look at when he’s not competing, I’d say. During practice he unleashes his smooth, bulging thighs from the tight speed-enhancing trunks he wears for competitions, and slithers into brightly patterned swimming manties that only a true Floridian could pull off.

Al Bello / Getty Images

In this photo of Lochte conversing with Australian Kenrick Monk during an Olympic training session in London, we see the impeccable fit of Our Man’s briefs. Where Kenrick’s sag and bunch in the front, Lochte’s mold perfectly to his pelvis while leaving no embarrassing muffin top.

Clive Rose / Getty Images

Pruning the hedges is going to be key for this look.


6. Experiment with bold accessories.

Michael Regan / Getty Images

BEAUTY TIP: avoid matted pool hair by hiding it under a cap with a brim that won’t compete with your diamond grills, ego, etc.

7. Tie your scarf like a true northerner.

HANDOUT / Reuters

This is so… YALE of him. He’s so wonderfully versatile like that.

8. Wear sparkly sneakers.


Here’s our little fish receiving his gold medal following the men’s 200 m backstroke at the Olympic trials in Nebraska. To go with his tee, which read “I [HEART] BREAST” on the front and “STROKE” on the back (probably to support breast cancer), he wore shiny green sneakers that might have been tied with ribbon laces.

Jamie Squire / Getty Images

According to the New York Times Lochte collaborated with Speedo on these shoes. You can buy a flip-flop version.

In this video made by Speedo, Lochte discusses his shoe collaboration. “All the stuff that I do, like, the crazy shoes I wear — like the grills I wear on the podium, the crazy shoes all that crazy stuff — like, rock star,” he explains. “It’s just all my personality — I’m letting you know the real Ryan Lochte.” Thank goodness — I was worried we were getting the fake version.

9. Also try: winged flag sneakers.

Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Another look from the Nebraska trials. If anyone has the gams to pull it off, it’s this guy because this style really is a cankle risk.

10. Don’t deprive yourself some studs.

Mark Humphrey / AP

While stretching at an Olympic trials practice session, Lochte flashed studded khaki cargo shorts. Right now, he’s probably the only man hot enough to pull off studded khaki cargo shorts (aside from maybe Bieber, but his would be the eye roll of America in about five minutes).

(Also what exactly do you think the “USER” in “USER FRIENDLY” might refer to?)

Mark Humphrey / AP

As if the bright yellow color of Lochte’s backpack weren’t enough, it also came with rows of edgy metal studs. And all Michael Phelps got was the porn star ‘stache.

11. Medals can double as shirts.

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

After winning the gold for a 200 m swim at a meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lochte wore his medal as his shirt, which, when you have those breasts, is kind of owed to the world.

12. When not at a match, wear necklaces instead of medals.


For a press conference prior to the Charlotte meet, Lochte offset his tan with a snmug white tee, and offset his tee with a flashy necklace.

13. Tailor your jeans.

Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images

Something Lochte — pictured here during a Today show appearance with his mom AWWW — failed to do properly. Unless he’s saving the extra pant leg for some fierce platforms he plans to wear later, or something. Let’s not put anything past this man.

14. Wear a scarf with your evening wear.

Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

It breaks up all the white so you don’t look like a big refrigerator with a bow tie.

(This photo of Lochte with his mom AWWW is from the Golden Goggle awards.)

15. Monogram your shoes.

Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

If you’re looking for the proper font, Lochte, judging by his choice here, might suggest you spend a couple hours watching Kimora Lee Simmons’s Life in the Fab Lane reality show for inspiration.

16. Have fun with costumes.

Harry How / Getty Images

Lochte, unhappily devoid of his usual sparkles, at a photo shoot where he posed as a British guard.

Harry How / Getty Images

But he was a good sport and managed a grin, despite the woefully plain state of his footwear and this atrociously bad lighting.

17. Pop the collar, role the pants.

Reed Saxon / AP

Pack a bleach pen, etc.

18. Don’t fear pink.


Or, well, strategically placed stars.

Check out more articles on!

  Your Reaction?

    Starting soon, you'll only be able to post a comment on BuzzFeed using a Facebook account or via our app. If you have questions or thoughts, email us here.


    Now Buzzing