The best-dressed at this year’s US Figure Skating Championships


@teamusa on Instagram

The women’s podium at the 2023 US Figure Skating Championships in San Jose.

This year’s US Figure Skating Championships were, honestly, pretty uneventful; the favorites for each event won, Ilia Malinin didn’t land his quadruple axel, Isabeau Levito had a clean skate, and Amber Glenn didn’t land her triple axel.

Despite the overall insipid quality of this year’s competition, I enjoyed every minute of it. I embrace every opportunity to watch skating, even if the results are predictable. While I typically focus on the skating itself, I cannot help but involuntarily form opinions on each skater’s attire ensemble. For the most part, I see functional dresses that match the skater’s music and blend into the sea of other basic designs, but there are often a handful that set themselves apart from the rest—for better or worse.

A photo of Gracie skating in her short program dress. (@skates_us on Instagram)

One of these dresses that shone amongst the others was Gracie Golds. As soon as I laid eyes upon her short program dress, I was in awe. I’ve seen more and more intricate and ornate beading on dresses lately, and Gracie’s simple emerald green dress was a breath of fresh air. I am a sucker for dresses that seem effortlessly ordinary, yet shimmer under the lights once the skater begins skating.

A close-up shot of the beading on Gracie’s long program dress. (@bradgriffies on Instagram)

Just as I thought Gracie was finished leaving me awe-struck, I saw her long program dress. I constantly find myself entranced by the simplicity of dresses such as her short program one, however, they fail to compare to the beauty of a well-executed delicately detailed design. The royal blue hue of the dress made it feel classic and elegant, and the cascading wavy strands of gemstones created a stunningly elaborate look. The different sizes and colors of crystals flow into one, timeless style.

A photo of Bradie skating in her short program dress. (@usfigureskating on Instagram)

A glance at this year’s women’s podium is enough to determine that ombré dresses are becoming quite popular. I have nothing against them, but often I find that they’re nothing special. Of course, that’s not always the case.

A screenshot of a video of her long program from a competition earlier this season.

Bradie Tennell—who finished second—made me doubt my own eyes when she skated onto the ice for her short program. Her dress was black with long sleeves that blended into a yellow skirt at the bottom and has a small white collar. I feel as though there must be some reference or some significance to the dress that I’m unaware of, but as far as I know, it’s just bad taste. I don’t know who chose to make a black and yellow ombré dress, but I do know that we have differing preferences.

On the contrary, we had Lindsay Thorngren, who seemed to have a better understanding of how colors can work together. Her long program dress had cool-toned pinks, purples, and blues. The beading was intentional with classic silver crystals integrated with purple and blue ones, which all combined into one dazzling dress. 

The apparel of figure skaters may not be the most relevant aspect of the sport, but it’s one that I will always pay attention to.