Game Day

Some fashion dilemmas are very difficult to resolve. There is one that I still struggle with to this very day. Just thinking about it brings back visions of some of my very worst dressed moments and blatant displays of unfabulousness . . .

What the heck does a self-proclaimed “stylista” wear on game day?

“Game day?” You ask. Yes – and  I don’t mean sitting in front of the big-screen at home.  I am also not referring to sitting at the park watching my son play soccer. I’m talking about going to the stadium for a real, live, football game –  tailgating and all.  College football is my venue of choice, to be specific. Now, let’s stir up some painful fashion memories, shall we?

It’s kind of a big deal when you return to your collegiate Alma Matter after graduation. When you do go back, most likely you will return in the fall to enjoy a football game and all of its festivities.  It’s a strange feeling the very first time you return.  You still feel like a student, You still look like a student, yet there is no longer a bunk-bed waiting at your favorite Greek Institution after the game to rest your inebriated, little head. Aw.  Welcome to the real world. However, as Alumni age, one gingerly straddles  the fine line between trying not to look like a student  and trying not to look like a student’s mom.  This place is most appropriately named: Game Day Fashion Purgatory. I am waiting for a style resurrection, cause I’ve been stuck here for some time.

Side note: I am fortunate enough to have lived with one of my very, best friends all through my college years. She knows everything about me. She knows I only go back to the football games to eat, drink, reminicse and TALK.  I am there to do almost everything but watch the actual game . My old roomie is a husband’s dream. She LOVES football. She’s forever been a die-hard fan of the sport  and loves to return to campus for home games. Several years ago, we split season tickets with her and her husband and their (also die-hard) ticket holder group. Great people! Fantastic tailgating! Stimulating conversation! This is where the battle unfolds. . .

My roomie and I took a stand early on that we would not fall into one of two categories of women most often seen at a college football game:

1.)   The prim and proper, mature -looking, woman who dons a beautiful and matronly sweater. Possibly even a “ _____ Mom” sweatshirt (insert the name of the school her children attend). Typically her top is adorned with a lovely college pin or a dandy, be-dazzled rhinestone college “letter” on her lapel. This could be an alumna herself or possibly a professor’s wife? A proud, financially stable woman who has her tailgate catered. Her frat-boy son and his friends visit Mom and Dad for a warm meal and cushy roll of 20’s to take to the bars later.

2.)   (Next and worst) The younger woman/girl/attention seeker who is WAY over-dressed for the occasion.  If you’ve been to a game, you’ve seen it. This is 99.9% of the time a female that did not attend the college of the football game she is attending. She has high-heeled boots and creamy, camel-colored, cashmere coat. (Can you say alliteration and eeeeeeeewww.) We once had a member of our “group” come dressed in a beautiful, long, wool, belted coat topped with a Coach logo-emblazoned bucket hat –  PLUS, high-heeled boots!  Yes, we know.  You are being forced to attend this function by your fiancé and are showing the world that you have nothing to wear but this old thing . . . (I sure hope she’s not reading this.) And believe it! I’ve seen some dead animals in the stands. Fur is not for the field girls – period. Learn it and live it.


Back to the story.

My beloved roomie asks, “You’re not going to dress-up for the game are you?”

Believe me. I am not there to cheer my team on to victory. I am there to smell the college air that brings back such fond memories.  I am there to see how my campus has changed.  I am there for a beer in a plastic cup. I am there to socialize. I need to blend in. I promise her I will not dress-up.

In our early years, we began by wearing to the game, what made us looked spirited and made us feel warm.  Back in the day, there was not much college apparel available. Pick up a men’s size medium and make it work! Sigh. I have never felt more uncomfortable or drab or unattractive. But what are my choices? How does  a fashion conscious young woman straddle the line and what does she wear to a college football game? I must also stand by my roomie.

As the years go by, I wear lots of ugly, androgynous things to the games consisting of some of the following:

Men’s stocking caps.

Baseball caps.

Little boy’s t-shirts  (a much better fit.)

A ginormous hoodie with three shirts underneath (well, my winter coat is the color of the opposing team’s uniform!)

Hiking boots to brave the cold and mud around the tailgate (kill me, please)

I cannot recall one occasion where I have felt comfortable or fabulous in what I was wearing to the game. You can look spirited or you can look like a visitor. You can dress warm or you can dress-up (and that makes you one of those women). After all these years (about 16, to be exact)I still can’t get it right. I feel like I cannot find balance. It’s one or the other.

My roomie still holds season tickets. Life for most of us in the tailgating group has gotten a bit more hectic since children have arrived. My husband (an alumni himself)and I try to make it back to at least one game a year.  October 31st, 2009 will mark another college game day in my book. It’s an “away game” and that somewhat relieves the pressure to stand tall as a spirited, athletic supporter (yes – I said that on purpose.)

With all the wardrobe-prep I’ve done for this game – I swear, you’d think I was walking the red carpet at the ESPY’s or something. More than making an impression on anyone there, I need to, for the first time, in my mind – get it right. I WILL be the poster-woman for The Perfect Game Day Attire. People will look at me and gasp in admiration, “Wow! She is wearing the most perfect game day attire.”

The pep talk to myself goes like this: Warm! Dry! Comfortable! Spirited! Confident! (And slightly fashionable, of course.) Like mixing alcohol in your boda-bag, it’s a tricky blend but I’ve been working hard.  This year I vow to grab that ball, round the bases and score!

. . . I should also put some effort into learning a bit more about football as well .


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