Football Games Are Meant For Casual Wear | Draft Day Suit

Football Games Are Meant For Casual Wear

Two weeks ago I made a trek up to Camp Randall in Madison, WI to see my Arizona State Sun Devils take on the then-11th ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The day before my trip, I put this photo on Facebook of my gameday outfit.

devils gear

Gold jersey? Check. (Yes, I know it is a baseball jersey. But it is the only gold thing I have.)

ASU beads? Check.

Maroon and gold devil horns? Check and check.

After I posted the photo, one of my friends was like “you’re not actually wearing that, are you?” I was confused at first. I mean, I knew she wasn’t a Wisconsin fan, so why was she so concerned with my ASU gear?

Then I remembered, she was from the South. And ladies in the south wouldn’t be caught DEAD wearing anything resembling a jersey, beads or horns to a college football game.

Last year I went to Athens to see ASU take on Georgia. This was my first exposure to SEC football. It was amazing and the tailgates and the atmosphere kicks ASU’s ass any day. But as we were walking to our tailgating tent, I asked my friend why all these girls were dressed up – dresses, heels and jewelry, oh my!

She said it was a tradition. It was one she never participated in, but a tradition nonetheless. Girls dress up for college football games.

My friend that commented on my photo on Facebook went to South Carolina, so she goes to games in black and red dresses. And she said when the weather gets cooler, it’s jeans, a nice top and heels. Girls in the south overdress for college football games:

overdressing football

Now, I am a Midwestern. I grew up in Chicago. We have one of the original NFL teams. We don’t have cheerleaders. We’re the Monsters of the Midway. To me, football is meant for jeans and sweatshirts, jerseys and tennis shoes. It’s an event that you tailgate for, literally eating and drinking out of the tailgate of your car. It’s a drink-beer-out-of-an-aluminum-can kind of event. It isn’t a wear your Sunday best and cheer on your team kind of event.

It isn’t that these people aren’t fans. My friend from South Carolina is the BIGGEST Gamecock fan I know. But it’s the South and there are traditions and this is one she follows. Where I don’t understand how you can be comfortable at a football game in a DRESS (especially in the winter, I mean, it just isn’t even possible in the Midwest past September), she doesn’t understand how I could go to a game and be so casual.

But I think I’m right. I mean, this is what people going to a football game should look like:

football outerwear

Am I right?

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About the author
Kristin, who also answers to Kristabella or “Hey! Drunk Girl!”, is a reformed band geek with an amazing ability to drink most people under the table. She honed her drinking skills as a student at Arizona State and is proud to be one of the few people who not only graduated from ASU, but graduated in four years. After working in the sports information office at ASU, which included a Rose Bowl appearance and a point-shaving scandal, Kristin landed a job with the San Francisco 49ers and spent six years living out a life-long fantasy of working in professional sports and getting sexually harassed every day. She now lives in Chicago and yells at athletes through the TV set. They can totally hear her. You can read her other inane ramblings at her personal blog, Kristabella: Full of Snark Since 1977, where she talks about her exciting life as a spinster with two cats and a fascination for Bacon.

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35 Replies to Football Games Are Meant For Casual Wear

  1. jcristg says:

    WRONG. Real fans wear dresses.

  2. jcristg says:

    (but I do like your horns.)

  3. elz says:

    Nope, we wear dresses, skirts, etc to games. I am a Southern girl and AVID football fan and you dress up for games. It goes back to college when I went to games with dates. I wanted to look nice for my date, therefore, I dressed up a little. part of it is also b/c our games are played when it is still 100 degrees outside and dresses are just more comfortable to wear than shorts or jeans. I think it is also just part of our culture. Personally, I would NEVER wear a football jersey or beads to a game, but a dress and boots? Hell yeah, see here:

    In fact, I plan on wearing my dress again this weekend. Not that it will help my team…

  4. Rhi says:

    You are right. I don’t feel like you can properly root for your team in heels.

  5. Kristabella says:

    It’s so funny because you’re either on one side or the other. I cannot imagine wearing a dress or anything dressy or anything WITHOUT my team’s logo on it to a game. It’s such a foreign concept to me.

    And I went to school in AZ, where it is hotter than TX. And we still didn’t dress up.

  6. While I am not a college football fan, I absolutely snicker at girls who come to Hawks games dressed to the nines.

    Jerseys (NON PINK ONES PLEASE) and jeans for me!!!

    (Ok, FINE. I wear ballet flats, but that’s cause I’m a preppy jerk)

  7. I moved to Texas where all the girls wear sundresses and cowboy boots to games. Ack! Blasphemy!

    Of course I am not a college sports fan, only professional, and I cannot imagine how you can jump at a first down, eat hotdogs and fries, yell “Nuts and bolts! Nuts and bolts! We got screwed!” in a dress. It just seems wrong.

  8. ClumberKim says:

    I always showed up at my college football games (GO EPHS!!!) in nasty/sweaty/muddy rugby wear. In that world, “tailgate” was a verb and I was already drunk so that’s how we rolled.

  9. Amie says:

    Jerseys and jeans are the only way to go. As a midwestern girl who attended ASU for a bit (give ’em hell!) I was horrified by how freaking HOT it got in Tempe and having to wear gold tank tops and shorts to games. The craziest thing about the southern girls is the heels- how do you stand all game long cheering in heels? OUCH.

  10. I cannot fathom wearing a pair of heels to a stadium.

    Heels at a tailgate? Gross! You would sink in to the disgusting ground.

    Now, I grew up in Florida. We wore team gear or tank tops and shorts – or jeans in December or January. Wearing a dress to a football game is like putting on makeup to go to the gym. Wearing heels to a game is asking for pain – all of those stadium steps!

    This is how I roll.

    Sarah and Gidge 2005ish

  11. elz says:

    Oh, I meant to say it with a “Bless your heart” before what I said-with love, ya know? It’s just a Southern thing, to dress up. But, I know lots of jersey-wearers, just not for me. Starngely I do not get dressed up when I attend pro football games. Weird, huh?

    And, Southern tailgates- HONEY. They are the awesome. Ever been to the Texas v OU game at the Texas State Fair? or Florida v Georgia/FSU? Holy smokes!

  12. I went to college in the fake wannabe south and I was still shocked — SHOCKED — the first time I went to visit my BFF at University of Richmond. Not only did they get all dolled up in dresses, heels, and MAKEUP to go to football games, but they wore real pearls and diamonds and designer shoes to frat parties! I was so confused. At my school we wore clothes we didn’t mind getting ruined to parties and games. Jeans, tank top, and cheap flip flops!

  13. Darcey says:

    Yeah, I prefer jeans/shorts + tshirt, or at my dressiest (which was the home opener), a jean skirt and a tank top plus my red beads.

    What was so crazy about that UGA/ASU game was how WRETCHED the weather was, and everyone was still all crazy-dressy — even under their ponchos! Whatever, we had plenty of fun!

  14. HeadlessMom says:

    I used to think it was crazy but that all changed when I was a freshman at the University of Tennessee. The winter outfits are even more fun. In 1990 I was in Memphis for the Liberty bowl and wore the cutest long wool skirt, long johns, gorgeous boots, and a fur coat. Sitting with all of the cadets from the USAFA in uniform, it made me feel like we were at a fancy event!

  15. Kristabella says:

    Elz – I was only at the ASU/UGA tailgate, and it was pissing down rain. It was still impressive, though. I want to go back for a real SEC tailgate!

    I worked all the football games in college (not that ASU fans really tailgate), so I didn’t get to partake in that when I was in school.

  16. Lori says:

    You are completely correct.
    I drink beer and eat food out of the back of our trucks/cars. I wear jerseys, shorts, sneakers, etc. We get dirty playing frisbee or football before the game then we get sweaty and loud during the game. That’s how it shoul be!

  17. rebecca says:

    Hmm, I wear dresses or skirts almost every day and even I have to laugh at the visual of wearing a gameday dress to Lambeau Field (where I grew up going to games). I mean, I think multiple pairs of long underwear would be necessary to even make that plausible and by that point, you are essentially wearing pants anyway.

    And seriously, the first time that a drunk person spilled beer on one of my Anthropologie dresses? Well, it would be ALL over.

  18. Natalie says:

    Rock on! I’m right with you on this post. I don’t look down on the dresser-uppers, it’s just not our culture. I’m not a jersey-wearer personally (sub-point, I think all pink jerseys should be banned), but I do have 35 navy blue Cal shirts in my closet for wear at games and any necessary event. This is after I cleaned out 14 of them and sent them to my mom to be made into a t-shirt quilt.

    I’ll never forget my experience traveling to Knoxville! It was an entirely different football culture. It wasn’t actually the dresses that struck me but how they were appalled at our good humor after we got spanked.

    I’m probably going to join the dark side in a couple of years though. We have a non-conference game scheduled in the South and I’m probably going to make a sundress (but out of Cal fabric, none of this general colors stuff). It’s really because I can’t handle extreme weather.

    Kristabella – who is your pick for the Oregon/stanfurd game this weekend?

  19. Kristabella says:

    Natalie – definitely Oregon. I fucking hate Stanford. And I hate Jim Harbaugh even more.

  20. Raven says:

    I don’t go to football games but I have gone to Dallas Stars games and marveled at the girls in dresses and heels. IT’S HOCKEY! Blood and fights and ice cold! I don’t get it at all.

  21. Natalie says:

    Ahhhh, then we can get along then. I was watching Thursday Night Football yesterday and my husband told me “you better mentally prepare yourself for the Jim Harbaugh love fest on ESPN this weekend.” Barf.

    It’s bye for us this weekend, so we get to relax. Just the husband and I with the TV, and lots of food that will make us fat. Bliss.

  22. -R- says:

    I went to college in Texas and never saw anyone wear a dress to a football game. But I toured Vanderbilt when I was in high school, and the tour guide talked about how girls get all dressed up for football games. That’s when I knew it wasn’t the school for me.

    Now I can’t decide what’s worse: pink jersey or dress w/ full makeup. I am leaning towards dress.

  23. Alice says:

    oh hell no, JERSEY or team colors all the way! with jeans and sneakers, thank you. and like DJ mentioned, NOT pink jerseys. puke.

  24. mydog isyella says:

    You know me a bit. Grew up in suburban Chicago, graduated from Ole Miss. I thought the dressing up was weird at first but it is just something that’s done. Granted once garduated I haven’t been as hardcore but still would never wear jeans. At the same time since I now live near ASU Id never tell you to wear a dress to an ASU game. Its not what is done there. When in Rome do as the Romans do. Google Ole Miss tailgate and you can get a glimpse of the insanity. I’ll be happy to take you to a game there next year. It is a sight to behold.

  25. Terrie Marquette says:

    Born and raised in Georgia, I have been to UGA, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, LSU and Texas football games, they all dress up!!

  26. Kathryn says:

    I was born and raised (not even reared, raised!) in the DEEP SOUTH. It is very much a tradition to dress up for games. I don’t. My sisters don’t. My step-mom only does because she is at work (she works in sports). I wear jeans, comfortable shoes (all the better for jumping up and down like crazy!) and my team colors. I get decked out. T-shirt with appropriate colors, logo, and message? Check. Earrings that have a logo or some reference to my school/team? Check. Waterproof mascara to defend against the sweat that is bound to bead up when I get nervous? CHECK. But a dress? Nope. I go against the norm.

    P.S. I went to school at Mississippi State where it is maybe 60/40 or even 70/30 in the dresses/non dresses percentages.

    P.P.S. Having said that. Don’t think we don’t know how to cheer like mad. We are borderline crazed when it comes to our football teams.

    P.P.P.S. I love this post and I am so glad I came to your page!

  27. ilinap says:

    I went to the University of Virginia where we wore dresses to the football games. Note that I never watched a lick of football and don’t even understand the sport. We just wore dresses to keep the tradition alive. Based on what I see on TV these days, that tradition seems to have died. That, or a bunch of midwesterners left the cold weather to come watch college football where the temps are bearable.

    This is the first sports blog I’ve ever read.

    I love Camp Randall! My husband is a Badger, and tailgating and games were awesome there (no dress required).

  28. tmax says:

    Agree to disagree. Come to Tuscaloosa for a gameday. Thats how college football is meant to be. Good food, fine women, lots of whiskey.

  29. Jen says:

    I am an Alabama alum and I am guilty of getting all dolled up for football games. There are two places I will never wear jeans: Church and Bryant-Denny Stadium. It is just one of our many traditions. It is the same as the Kentucky Derby…the hats and outfits are ridiculous for a horse track but it is tradition and who wants to change it. Not hurting anybody and its fun!!
    Now I have no problem wearing fan gear to a Braves or Saints game..that is totally different than a Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
    That being said….wear whatever makes you happy and feels good to you. Roll Tide!

  30. Laurie says:

    Loved this comment, Jen — and definitely! Whatever makes you happy. I can tell from the comments that this tradition has a lot of meaning to people at Southern schools. This thread has made me want to go to one in person. We definitely don’t get dressed up at Maryland.

  31. Rena says:

    I go to the University of Alabama and girls ALWAYS wear those stupid dresses, heels and jewelry. It’s a tradition I don’t follow. There is no way you can be comfortable standing 3+ hours in heels, plus people can see up your skirt from below. I wear my Bama shorts/sweatpants and a t-shirt/hoodie with temporary tattoos and both my fiance and I think I look really cute that way. Also, it’s fun when it’s really cold to see them shivering by half-time while I’m snug in my Bama pullover and sweatpants! I think many of the girls who dress up go to the games for socializing, but frankly I’m there to see some hardcore sports!!

  32. Rena says:

    Roll Tide BTW! And I didn’t mention it above, but I’m not from another state. I was born and raised in the backwoods of Alabama, so not all southerners are ridiculous.

  33. sajid ch says:

    Always enjoyed your work, guys. Best of luck, will be following you in the future

  34. Ebonee says:

    Weeellll, I’m from Louisiana and it just feels right to wear heels and get dolled up for games! I’m used to wearing heels and I am comfortable in heels…I think it is all about who you are and what you are going to the games to do. I’m usually going with my boyfriend so of course I am going to dress up and wear heels…but on the other hand if you are a true fanantic and you are going to guzzle down a couple of beers and fight and argue when a flag is thrown against your team…of course you should not wear heels and dresses. The only time I am not in heels and I am dressed comfortable is when my team is playin…GO DALLAS COWBOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS!!!

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