Saturday, September 26, 2009

In True Football Fashion

I think I was probably 14 or 15 when I went to the first UT football game, that I remember. The Vols were playing Georgia, and we had driven in that morning from our cousins' farm, amidst a sea of Volunteers, surrounded by Big Orange country - the leaves on the trees had started turning, and they were vivid yellows, reds, mauves, and browns, but they seemed to know where they were, and turned out all the Tennessee Orange they could in support. Fall in the South is nothing to sneeze at, but autumn in the Smokies? Now that's somethin'.

Well, we did it all: tailgated, roared Rocky Top, attended a party on the Little Tennessee River hosted by members of the Vol Navy, and my dad showed us the best of Knoxville that day. And of course, the sound of 103,000 and some odd fans, the famous checkered end-zone, and Smokey stuck in my mind, cementing a love affair with college football, but what really made an impact were the collegiate daughters of my father's friends and their chic tailgating attire.

In fact, one girl's outfit sticks in my mind the most; she had on dark, wide leg jeans, camel leather boots, a gray and orange (natch) sweater, and a fox fur vest for warmth.

It was football perfection.

See, I was standing there in my orange T long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes, bcause, well, I was 14, and that's what people - my mother - wear up here in Jayhawk country.

Well, then I graduated and went to college down south, at a small school where our D-3 football team wasn't too big, but tailgating - now that was a must. And I really think we did it right: boys in seersucker and suit jackets warm weather, crawfish boils and chili cookoffs, and that perfect combination of sundresses, pearls, and cowboy boots.

That's not the way things go up at KU, I quickly came t fnd out. For one thing, the weather's a lot crisper. For another, t-shirts and jeans are still the popular uniform.

Well after a girl's been spoiled by mimosas and sundresses, you understand, it's going to be hard to downgrade (and that old comfort argument doesn't fly with me, because I've always maintained that a well-fitting dress is ten times more comfortable then jeans). And besides that, football games should be just another fun opportunity to be creative, dressing to support your team, while still staying autumnal, casual, and chic (and warm! Later on).

You can still pull off a casual sundress, I think, even amongst the t-shirts, especially when paired with boots and something else to dress it down, even a ponytail or a slouchy cardigan. Or all three.

But, that girl at that UT game really nailed it in my book. Colors to support, the casual yet chic fall uniform of jeans and boots, and, mmm, that yummy fur vest. Mix it up by pairing a white (or black) tee or sweater with an appropriately colored pashmina or scarf (yes, I've got a blue and red one, but not an orange quite yet!). I even saw a girl looking super cute last weekend in black shorts, a Jayhawks tee, and a black blazer to top. And if I'm not going to the game, but I'm out and about on the town, I usually try to accessorize with my little Jayhawk studs with whatever little outfit I happen to be wearing out.

And, in that spirit, Rock Chalk Jayhawk GO KU, and Rocky Top, you know you'll always be Home Sweet Home to me (in case y'all didn't know, I'm the child of a divided household indeed)!


  1. Great article ! Football Fashion :) Interesting topic !!

  2. Don't forget the personal bottle of Cook's or Andre - an essential to complete the "Classy Lady" look.

  3. Make your own mimosas are indeed a quintissential for classy tailgating babes everywhere.