Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on How They Plan Their On-Air Olympics Outfits
"We brought everything," Lipinski tells PEOPLE of packing for South Korea along with Weir, her close friend and fellow former Olympic figure skater
“And so we brought everything,” Lipinski, 35, tells PEOPLE of packing for South Korea along with Weir, her close friend and fellow former Olympic figure skater.
“It’s been really fun,” Lipinski says in a joint interview with the 33-year-old Weir. She adds, “Now we’re on a much bigger stage and so I feel like the response has been even bigger.”
How do they do it? The shortest answer: packing a lot — a lot — of clothes. Twenty-one suitcases to be exact, they say, though the New York Times put the number at nine for Lipinski and 13 for Weir. (“I make fun of how small her dresses are,” Weir joked to the Times. “That’s why she has less luggage than me, because her dresses are napkin-sized.”)
“We love fashion, we love clothing and we love just slaying our style and our art, because it’s part of being an entertainer,” he tells PEOPLE.
The typical glam squad routine completes their looks. Weir’s hair, styled by Mariola Zysk, has drawn attention of its own — thanks to what he calls “amazing artistic structures on top of my head.”
But he stresses that what they wear and how they look at each competition “doesn’t dictate what we say in any way.”
Their commentary, a conversational, educational and candid mix that aims to cut through skating’s sometimes arcane rules, is the priority.
“We have a duty to say it like it is and teach people about our sport. … We want people to love what they’re seeing, we want people to understand what they’re seeing,” Weir says.
Lipinski echoes that: “Johnny and [my] main goal is to bring people back into the sport.”
That doesn’t mean no thought is given to the clothes, though: Each night before they go on the air, Lipinski and Weir get together in their hotel to plan their outfits.
“We don’t have adjoining rooms, but he is next door and we have our process that we do the night before,” she explains. “We go in and decide what we’re going to wear the next day and we match it up and we put on a show.”
It takes all of about three minutes, according to Weir.
“Women are under a whole lot more pressure than men,” he says, adding, “I want Tara to try on her outfits first so she’s ready and comfortable and I can figure out how to match, and I think the gentlemanly thing to do is follow [her] lead.”
Weir says he loves “finding beautiful things from all over the world” — and he shops it all, including, according to the Times, outlets such as TJ Maxx.
“It’s almost like part of my job: commentator, figure skater and professional shopper,” he says. And as he finishes that thought, Lipinski jumps in to finish it with him, twinning even in an interview.
“Johnny and I are kind of on the same wavelength over the last few years,” she says. “We’ll show up at the same event and we always want to match.”
They say some sartorial standouts at these Olympics so far include: a chest harness for Weir by Erickson Beamon (who also provides a lot of his jewelry, including his chokers), this Biyan jacket that Weir wore during the men’s final; Lipinski’s silver off-the-shoulder look by Dress the Population; and an ear cuff for her, by Carolyn Colby, that was recently worn by Katy Perry.
Alice and Olivia and Bailey 44 were behind Lipinski’s red and blue numbers, respectively. Weir, meanwhile, posts his daily outfits along with fashion credits on his Instagram; among other designers he’s used is Via Saviene, who made some of his rings.
Like Lipinski, Weir’s wardrobe also has a pop star connection: His harness was last worn by Pink.
“We brought our American princesses with us to Korea,” he says.
“We’re super lucky that we get to make friends in the fashion world and there are people that want to showcase their incredible art and their pieces on us,” he says.
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Style aside, it’s the substance of their commentary jobs that they keep coming back to: how they want to engage the broader public in a sport they both love and how excited they have been by the Americans’ skates, including Nathan Chen’s sextuple quadruple jumps and Mirai Nagasu’s triple axel.
Lipinsiki says she and Weir made a pact through all of this: “’Just be us,’ and that’s what we always try to stay true to.”
Happy as they are to detail their choices thus far, they go a little mum about what viewers might see next.
They go no further than teasing that, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Lipinski’s Olympic gold medal, their looks for the women’s individual event later this week will feature gold for both of them. (“Just in different quantities, of course,” Weir notes.)
“We can’t give everything away,” Weir says.
Almost immediately, Lipinski agrees.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.