Thursday, July 21, 2011

Maillot Jaune 


Thomas Voeckler (in the Maillot Jaune) and his teammates (in Europcar green).

I finally looked up the phrase Phil Liggett keeps using during the Tour de France instead of Yellow Jersey; "Maillot Jaune". Turns out, "maillot" is really just another word for shirt or jersey.

The word is also used for "maillot de bain" or swim suit or even "tank tops" or any kind of shirt made from stretchy "jersey-like" fabric.

I guess the word "Jersey" doesn't translate because it's the place name where the fabric was first made. Its first uses being underwear then later for athletic and swimming garments.

Apparently CoCo Chanel outraged fashionistas by using the fabric for items other than underwear and is credited/blamed with it's acceptance.

Olympic swimmers (LOC)
A trio of Olympic swimmers in their jersey-knitwear swim suits. I find it hard to believe the guy on the left is an "Olympian" but it's easy to see the patriotism of the chap in the middle. "How can I call more attention to my crotch? Ah, yes, this should do."

Another bit of trivia: I always assumed the term "Tank Top" came from the military, being a sleeveless undershirt worn inside a tank due to the heat. It actually comes from swimming as it described the sleeveless top you'd wear when swimming in a "tank" or pool (early above ground pools were referred to as "swimming tanks"). This is all starting to sound like an Abraham Simpson story, “I wore on onion on my belt, as was the fashion at the time…”

Of course, this trivia comes from Wikipedia so it could just be absolute crap.

*There’s also a Paris subway stop called Porte Maillot but it seems to derive its name as a version of the place name, Maille (confirmation required), like the French mustard company, “Maille”, which has no connection whatsoever to the Tour de France.

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