What do Rachel Ray, stylish residents of the "inner city," and the United States Olympic cycling team have in common? That's right, they're all at the forefront of a tenuously conceived fashion trend, unbeknownst to them! Many people-such as outraged Chinese authorities-believed that the US cyclists showing up to Beijing wearing anti-smog masks was a grievous insult predicated on the notion that China, despite its charms, is a toxic hellhole. But really the image-conscious Americans were just trying to get in Vogue.

"That image is in the air," said Jason Christopher, editor of the J.C. Report, a fashion blog that has followed the games closely. "Given the publicity [from athletes wearing the masks], I think it's likely we'll see brands rolling these out in multiple colors."

That is perhaps the most unlikely shot-in-the-dark insta-trend of the entire Olympic Games. Good effort, though.

The exposure for these sleek black masks, which he called "surprisingly" well designed, figures to further fuel that trend, which he said has already manifested itself in inner-city style and even in the controversial Dunkin' Donuts ad in which celebrity chef Rachael Ray was accused of wearing a keffiyeh.

Masks: Edgy in all situations! [Ad Age; pic via Telegraph]