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February 18, 2010 at 2:24 PM

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Men's free skate preview: best, worst dressed figure skaters

Posted by Stephanie Clary

Photo of USA's Johnny Weir by Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Tonight, 24 will compete for medals in the free skate portion of men's figure skating, and Russia's Evgeni Plushenko is ranked No. 1 based on Tuesday's short program scores.

But Tiffany Campbell and I looked at which skaters lead in the best- and worst-dressed categories based on their short program costumes.

After the final free skate performance we will hand out our own honors for overall best, worst and most-improved outfits of the evening.

Our favorites:

Evan Lysacek (USA):
Stephanie says: Feathers! Sequins! Gloves! He worked in all the ingredients for ice drama, but stopped himself from going over the top by sticking to one color.

Tiffany says: Lysacek made a dramatic statement in black, even from my spot way up in the press box. I'm torn between thinking that the gloves and feathers were distracting (at one point I thought he was waving them) but I am generally pro-feather and this worked.
Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times

Jeremy Abbott (USA)
Tiffany says: Abbott's outfit is the first I've seen that has really made a true pant work on the ice, rather than some unitard-pantsuit compromise seen elsewhere. He looks like he could skate off the ice and into a casual cocktail hour. I'd like to say that the simple outfit let his skating shine, but his scores indicate otherwise.

Stephanie says: This looks like it's right off a Banana Republic rack. It's clean, and the purple-gray combination is very modern. I also love that his shoes don't perfectly match his pants, which has been rare.
Photo by Amy Sancetta / AP

Johnny Weir (USA)
Stephanie says: I have a weakness for epaulettes, even though there's only one in this case. And I appreciate the commitment to asymmetry with the lacing, cut of the vest and sleeve designs. If only he had one glove.

Tiffany says: Oh, Johnny. Weir stayed true to his in-your-face reputation and went with this striking pink and black combo. While not as sophisticated as some of the others, everything from the glitter to the asymmetrical corset lacing and one pink sleeve says, this is Johnny Weir.
Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times

Our least favorites:

Samuel Contesti (Italy)
Tiffany says: There are so many things wrong here I'm not sure where to start. One strap. Light wash. Cuffs on the jeans. Italy, I expect more from you.

Stephanie says: I understand that what's acceptable on the street is not the same as what's acceptable in figure skating, but there is dirt on this light-wash jeans. Dirt. At the Olympics.
Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times

Kevin van der Perren (Belgium)
Stephanie says: My reaction exactly, Kevin. You dressed like Donnie Darko, so now the sky will to suddenly open up, there will be no law, there will be no rule.

Tiffany says: The rhinestones make this a well-dressed skeleton, no doubt. But points deducted for an anatomically incorrect ribcage and a missing pelvis.
Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times

Stephane Lambiel (Switzerland)
Tiffany says: This outfit should dispel any lingering girlhood fantasies about a rescue from Prince Charming.

Stephanie says: I was on the fence about including this outfit until I realized he's wearing fake shiny riding boots. This looks like it's from Spirit Halloween.
Photo by George Bridges / MCT

Note to readers: We realized after this exercise that we managed to select all Americans as our favorites. Not sure if this has to do with our American taste and perspective, or just not understanding European fashion sense, but we'll see if this possible bias holds up for the long program. - T.C.

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