College football is in full swing in the South, and so is its fashion.
SEC schools are known for their high-stakes sports, especially football. It’s more than a game; it’s an all day occasion. Families set up tailgates the night before and get up early the next day to get started.
The fashion choices of the students during the season also reflect the high-stakes atmosphere. From sundresses to cowboy boots, game-day fashion is taken seriously at Southern colleges.
On a typical day on the LSU campus, you’ll see women taking classes in athletics, t-shirts, and leggings. But on Saturday nights in Death Valley, the women adorn their best clothes and put on make-up.
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Emma Gardener, a sophomore in psychology at the University of Mississippi, said she saw much the same in Ole Miss.
“People don’t dress up for class a lot, so showing my style over the weekend is awesome,” Gardener said. “Game day is an event here. I know my friends and I all picked out our outfits before school even started.”
Building a wardrobe creates anticipation for game days, when women dress in their best clothes, do their makeup and do their hair to spend several hours outside in the heat. To an outsider, that may seem less than ideal, but to Gardener, it’s all about tradition.
“We always dressed for the games,” Gardener said. “My mom did it. I do it. My friends do it.”
Emily Taylor, a young communications student at the University of Tennessee, said one of her favorite game-day fashion trends is wearing a personalized button to represent her sorority.
“It started out as a way to tell fraternities what sorority you were in to get into their tailgates,” Taylor said.
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The trend has grown to include all kinds of buttons with creative slogans and designs. Here at LSU, women often hand out stickers representing their sorority. It is not uncommon to see a man walking around the student section proudly wearing a Phi Mu sticker on his chest.
For many students, who grew up tailgating and attending college football games, it’s a natural move to carry their school spirit any way they can.
“I love dressing up for these games,” Gardener said. “It’s such a nice thing in our culture.”