One look at U.S. Olympians and figure skaters Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu, and it's likely you'll immediately think "world-class athletes who probably own a world-class closet, too." Or at least, that's what I thought. I figured, if you look behind the glittery costumes and ice skates, you're bound to find the most on-trend clothes and shoes you could ever ask for. And the short answer is, you'd be right. But it wasn't always like that. Just like us, the pair's style has evolved drastically since they were younger. And go figure, Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu's most embarrassing style choices of years past are all too relatable.
Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down with Rippon and Nagasu at the DSW Block Party in honor of DSW's new campaign celebrating the power of self-expression. And let me tell you, I have never been so elated in my life to third wheel with these BFFs, who were so warm and welcoming, I almost forgot that I am not, in fact, an olympic figure skater, but rather, a grade-A klutz with a fractured foot. (Catch me at the next Olympics, though. I'll probably be the one handing out water.)
Like I said, walking up to Rippon and Mirai, I assumed they'd never made a bad style choice in their lives. But I was wrong. Although they're famous now, both Rippon and Mirai had their fair share of cringeworthy fashion faux pas — and believe it or not, you've probably committed the same ones.
The fashion trend Rippon wishes he could take back? Well, we'll just say you can have too many pockets. "Cargo pants and cargo shorts. I just thought more pockets was best," he tells me. "And now, I’m realizing that it was not best. It wasn’t worth it."
Nagasu, on the other hand, recalls a beauty-related trend, rather than a fashion one: "When I was younger, my mom gave me a perm." Ah, yes, haven't we all been there? Of course, this style works for some, but she says that, for her, it wasn't her "best look." Rippon jokingly exclaims, "NO!" as Nagasu tells me this, so it's safe to say you won't catch a set of tight curls on either of their heads any time soon.
Thankfully, though, everyone eventually comes into their own finding their style, and using it, Rippon and Nagasu have gradually figured out the best ways to express themselves. "One way I like to express myself is, obviously yes, through my clothing, but I think that what it shows is the kind of mood I’m in," says Rippon. "I [also] think finding different ways to express yourself is so important, because not every mood or emotion or situation you get put in is the same."
While exploring different clothing styles has offered Rippon an easy way to reflect how he's feeling day to day, he says you don't just have to use your clothes for this kind of self-expression. Other things — such as skating, sports, going to the gym, and self-care — all help Rippon to embrace how he feels and to stay true to his goals and intentions: "I think that keeping an open mind and trying a little bit of everything has been so important to my self-expression," he says.
Nagasu reveals similar sentiments, saying that she always looks for different outlets through which to express herself — and surprisingly enough, skating has introduced her to a world of other interests and activities she resonates with now. "I think skating has been really good for us as people, because we have to work out to stay in shape for skating, and we are also really musical because we select music for our programs," she says. "So we’re introduced to classical music, and also, now that we can use lyrics in our programs, we love listening to Broadway hits, and pop music is a must."
Nagasu continues that, in addition to an interest in music, skating has also introduced her to ballet. "I take ballet classes to help with my extension, and just little things like that that I was doing to help my skating [were] helping me find myself and things I like."
Whether the two figure skaters are rocking cargo pants and a perm or strutting down the street in some of the latest shoe styles from DSW, you can't deny that both Nagasu and Rippon fully embrace who they are no matter what. Needless to say, they perfectly embodied DSW's mission to encourage all people to express themselves in whatever way feels best.
“Adam and Mirai are icons with track records of being totally and unapologetically themselves. And DSW is literally a warehouse full of opportunities for self-expression. It was an instant, obvious match for a campaign supporting our mission of self-expression,” said Michele Love, DSW’s chief operating officer, via a press release.
When talking fashion and beauty brands the two can't possibly live without when it comes to self-expression, Rippon says Gucci has his heart. (And doesn't it have all of our hearts?) "Gucci’s my favorite. They have so many things that are so classic, but they have such a fun twist to everything," he says. "It’s always gonna be cool. They’re really fresh, they have great designers that come in, so it has to be Gucci."
Nagasu, however, says makeup is "her thing," (god, same, girl) and while it's hard to narrow down, one brand will always be her fave. "I think I would go with Tarte Cosmetics, because I found my right shade in [their foundation]," she explains. "Foundation is always really hard for me to figure out. They also do a great eyeshadow palette."
As Rippon and Nagasu continue on in their quest to find new forms of self-expression, one beauty trend Nagasu says she wants to get behind is microblading. And believe it or not, Rippon is down for this procedure, too. "Oh, me too actually! Oh my god wait, maybe we’ll go together," he tells Nagasu. Keep your eyes peeled for brows on fleek from these two. (Also, can I come? I know I'm just the third wheel here, but please?)
For Rippon specifically, it also seems like a new activity other than skating might be on his radar: stand-up comedy. And I mean, if you've taken a look at how hilarious his Twitter profile is, you'll see why. "100 percent. [Stand-up is] one of the things I’ve recently talked to my agent about, and I’m thinking about it," he says. "It’s absolutely something I would be into."
Someone get Rippon and Nagasu a Netflix special stat.