Let’s face it– apart from the occasional bye week, there is no such thing as an insignificant Saturday in the South during football season. Culture, tradition, and football are all deeply intertwined here, which is one of the reasons why so many football-crazed fans dress to the nines for the big game.
What can we say? The Gridiron is our second church, and we like to look nice for it.
Of course, not every Southerner is donning pearls and heels or a suit and tie to college football games. If you don’t want to wear your fanciest duds for the game, no one is going to think you’re a football-hating heathen.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to put some thought into your game day outfits. You want to wear something practical yet stylish. Think about it: You’re going to do a lot of walking—likely, in the heat and humidity. You need your game day attire to keep up with you, not hold you back.
So, what should you wear to a football game? Whether you’re in the heart of SEC Nation or from the Big 10, here are some game day outfit ideas that are sure to score big this season.
Game Day Outfit Ideas for the Ladies
Let’s start with the ladies. For the big game, you need an outfit that’s easy to move in (too-tight dresses are a no-go), classy and bursting with school spirit. Before we dive into it, let’s go over a few major don’ts of game day fashion:
- Leave pricey jewelry at home. Nothing is worse than losing your precious jewelry in the stadium. Nuff said.
- Wear comfortable shoes. If you don’t want aching, sore feet after the game, keep your footwear practical. Another tip (and we’re speaking from painful experience): Don’t wear brand new shoes for the first time ever to the game.
- Choose your handbag wisely. In recent years, some college stadiums have implemented strict policies regarding purse sizes and styles. Check the stadium rules before choosing your handbag. If you want to play it safe, start using a clear stadium handbag that’s designed for concerts and stadiums. This way, you can always pass through the gates with all your must-have game day essentials with no problem.
With that out of the way, here are a few ideas to give you some game day fashion inspo:
You really can’t go wrong with prep-inspired clothing at a football game. Preppy clothing is closely tied with sporting events, and goes back to the time of Ivy League students who enjoyed sailing, rugby, lacrosse and fencing.
For a preppy-chic look, consider wearing a striped t-shirt dress in your school’s colors. Pair it with classic sneakers for a cute look that is perfect for playing tailgate games or cheering from the stands.
Prefer a casual outfit that doesn’t go overboard with game day spirit? Wear an off-the-shoulder top in your team’s colors with a cute pair of women's khaki shorts and sandals. On top of being super versatile, this look is guaranteed to beat the brutal heat of those first few games of the season.
If you feel like you want to show a little more team spirit, simply add the finishing touches to your outfit with game day accessories. For example, play up your look with a sleek, collegiate watch or a cool pair of shades with colored lenses in your team’s colors (e.g., orange or purple lenses for Clemson or red for Bama).
Wham, Glam, Thank You, Ma’am
Want to look glamorous for the big game? Consider wearing a game day dress in your home team’s colors for a stylish yet spirited look. Opt for a classy pair of heels and be sure to keep a more practical pair of shoes in your purse (sore feet are a surefire way to ruin the game day experience).
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside, find a dress made with performance fabrics. With moisture-wicking fabrics and UV protection, these UPFis game day dresses haves your back from tailgate to kickoff and beyond.
Want to ramp up your team spirit? Pair your dress with a chic jean jacket with your school’s logo or fight song on the back.
Keep it Cute (and Classic)
Sometimes, all a girl really wants in a game day outfit is something cute and classic. We’re talking about the classic game day outfit: A collegiate t-shirt, a cute pair of denim shorts and some fashion sneakers. Throw on a baseball cap, some football eye black stickers and maybe some glitter, and there you have it—a no-fuss outfit that you can play up in a million different ways.
The best part about the cute and comfortable collegiate look is that it never gets in the way of any tailgate activity. Whether you’re prepping your tailgate set up before everyone arrives, playing a game of Spikeball in the grass or walking up to the stadium, your classic outfit will never slow you down.
Look, people can bash oversized football jerseys all they want for appearing too sloppy—because many of them are. But if you ask us, that’s only because they’re wearing it all wrong.
The first way to wear a football jersey is to treat it like a dress (just make sure that it’s long enough for this) and pair it with a cute pair of white Vans (cowgirl boots work well, too). Wear some spandex shorts underneath so you can run around, play tailgate games, do a keg stand—you know, the usual tailgate activities.
Another way to wear a football jersey is to buy a crop top football jersey and pair it with high-waisted pants or a high-waisted skirt. The high-waisted bottoms are key here because it allows you to flash a hint of midriff without sliding into trashy territory.
Game Day Outfit Ideas for the Guys
Now, it’s time for the guys. You would think that guys would have an easier time dressing for a football game. Just wear your best collegiate tailgate apparel and call it good, right?
Well, it’s not quite that simple. In fact, there are a few quick rules we need to go over:
- Skip the body paint. Bodypaint is not acceptable unless you are a student at the school.
- Read the Room. In college football, students can wear football jerseys. If you’re a grown man, however, you may want to rethink your outfit choice. While it’s probably fine if you’re sitting in the student section or with rowdy friends, reconsider if you’re watching the game with coworkers.
- Say no to beer hats. Leave the cringey beer hats, sweatbands and other weird accessories that scream “I still live in my mom’s basement” at home.
- Don’t wear shirts that show sweat stains. Pit stains just aren’t a good look on anyone.
- Check the forecast before you leave for the stadium. Wearing a trash bag in case of rain shouldn’t be something you plan in advance.
Got it? Okay, let’s move on to some game day outfits for men.
Beat the Heat in Classic Style
A lot of guys just want to look good for the big game without sacrificing their comfort or style. If this sounds like you, keep it simple yet classic by wearing blue jeans and a performance polo shirt in your team colors. Complete the look with a fresh pair of kicks and make sure to wear moisture-wicking socks.
Whether you’re a loyal Tigers fan donning a bold Clemson polo with your khakis or have a few UNC polos in your heavy rotation, the classic men’s polo shirt can always be counted on for game day. Plus, the collegiate logo is subtle enough that you can wear it almost anywhere, even after football season is over.
Ready for the Tailgate
So, you’re one of those guys who knows exactly what to bring to a tailgate every year: The games. Cornhole, Pocket Passer, Ladder Toss—you’ve got all the must-have tailgate games and have been waiting eagerly to bust them all out.
As a guy who likes to move around a lot on game day, we definitely recommend wearing khaki shorts and a quality collegiate tailgate shirt. Partying at the Quad? You’ll look right at home sporting an Alabama shirt and shorts.
Word to the wise: Skip the gray shirts if you’re going to be working up a sweat. They’re the worst for showing sweat stains!
Mature with a Side of Team Spirit
For the guy who wants to look mature and professional without appearing too stuffy, this one’s for you: Wear a nice pair of trim-fit chinos with a classic Oxford shirt in your team colors. Finish the look with comfortable, white sneakers.
This look never goes out of style and can be worn by guys of all ages. If you’re an avid UGA fan, get yourself a few Georgia Bulldog button-down sport shirts and rotate them all season long. Just don’t be surprised when all your friends start asking you where you got your collegiate gear!
Prep-Inspired for Fall
As we mentioned earlier, preppy clothing fits right in at any sporting event. Why not ramp up the prep-inspired look with a button-down shirt underneath a collegiate quarter-zip pullover and chino pants? This preppy men’s outfit is perfect for chilly days in the fall and is a classic look you can wear anywhere.
LSU fan? Consider wearing an LSU gingham shirt for a stylish look that you can wear at the stadium or at happy hour. To boost your team spirit and give your outfit a sportier look, add a baseball hat embroidered with your team logo.
Comfortable, But You Still Want to Look Good
Love a cozy hoodie? Is your M.O. for the big game to stand around drinking, eating and enjoying good company? If so, this next outfit is for you.
For a comfortable yet pulled together game day look, opt for a pair of dark brown chinos (for additional style points, cuff ’em like they do here) and a plaid shirt in your team’s colors. Wear a sweater vest over it and a beanie emblazoned with your team’s logo. Complete the look with Chelsea boots or a classic pair of sneakers.
Play around with your team’s colors. For example, if you’re an Auburn fan, pair your brown chinos with a navy blue vest and a bright orange beanie or scarf. It’s a failsafe look that will keep you warm during chillier fall days.
Gearing Up for Game Day in Style
Ah, college football season. There’s truly nothing like it anywhere else in the world. The fun tailgate parties, tense rivalries, boisterous cheers, and fight songs never get old.
At its core, football is a cultural celebration, and as such, we enjoy dressing up for it. Whether you’re a student, an alumnus or just your typical, college football-obsessed fan, these game day outfits are guaranteed to score major style points this season. They’re practical, stylish and bursting with team spirit. What more could you ask for in a game day outfit?
Now, go forth and rock your fall Saturdays in true football style. See you in the stands!