When I was growing up in a college town, “game day” was a pretty big deal. If you took a walk in the crisp fall weather, you couldn’t ignore what day it was, with fans, students, and townsfolk alike donning the university’s paraphernalia. I loved the obvious school spirit and the energy of the day that buzzed through town like a neon light. For those early fall games when it was still T-shirt or sweater weather (and you didn’t yet need a winter coat), I had only one qualm—what to wear. Game day seemed to require that style be sacrificed for an unspoken uniform—a school T-shirt and jeans. But it doesn’t have to be this way. All of us can take a page out of the American South’s book and dress a little more fashionably, even for games. Of course, you don’t need to wear dresses and heels to a football game if that’s not your thing. But if you’re open to wearing something even a little more interesting than the usual game day garb, look no further than these looks.
The first few games of football season can be HOT—especially if you’re attending a game in the South! Switching to fall gear at this point is simply not an option. In this case, make use of a summer dress one more time before the weather changes. The only requirement for this outfit is that your dress be in your team’s color (bonus points if it has both of your team’s colors). Prints like gingham, window pane, polka dot, or stripes work well for showcasing a team’s color(s). But a solid dress or even a floral print with your team’s colors is an easy upgrade from the typical game day look. Keep it casual with white sneaks or simple flats.
An easy way to swap out a T-shirt with the team name or logo on it while still sporting school colors is to throw on some plaid. You can sport a classic plaid shirt with your team’s colors, or you can go chic and look appropriately fall in a plaid cape. As the fall temps drop, opt for a flannel plaid shirt to keep you warmer, or layer a thin, tissue turtleneck underneath a shirt or cape to up both the warmth and style factors. If you have a thinner plaid shirt (not a flannel) in your team’s colors, you can also add a slim vest over top when it gets cooler later in the season. Don’t have a plaid shirt or cape in the right colors? A simple plaid scarf in your team’s colors atop several cozy fall layers still shows your team pride without sacrificing warmth or style.
If dresses to a sporting event just aren’t your thing, or you still want to wear your team paraphernalia, color-blocking in your team’s color will make the outfit just as stylish. This can be as simple as a colorful pair of pants in your team’s colors with a white or black top (whichever is the team’s alternating color). If your team’s colors are blue and yellow, for example, try a fun navy top with bold yellow pants—try chinos that taper at the ankle or golden corduroys. This outfit gives you an excuse to put together colors in some wildcard pairings—because you’re at the game, no one will think twice about purple with orange, or royal blue with cherry red. This look is actually so easy, as it needs no accessories; the bold pairing of colors in a chic top and bottoms speaks for itself.
Swap out jeans or leggings
On game day, almost every woman is wearing jeans or leggings. Take the style up a notch by wearing a skirt instead. Mary from Sportsanista nails this look with a black wrap skirt that looks casual—almost like she has a sweatshirt tied around her waist. Look for a wrap skirt, a thicker fabric, or a more relaxed fit to keep a mini skirt looking appropriate for game day. Balance the shorter hem by tucking in a loosely-fitted vintage-looking crewneck or long-sleeve T-shirt with your team’s name or logo.
Later in the season, replace jeans with a midi-jean skirt that buttons down the front. This fashion-forward style oozes chic while keeping you warmer than a mini skirt would—just unbutton a few of the bottom buttons for ease of walkability. (And while these heels are amazing, stick with kicks for practicality.) Keep the “vintage” team apparel on top but opt for a thicker sweater, like the one shown here.
Black (faux) leather pants or leggings paired with a sweater in your team’s colors, elevates your style without much effort. Whenever you would normally wear black leggings or pants to a game, simply opt for leather (or faux leather) instead. Not only is leather the perfect texture for fall, this fabric exudes cool vibes and instantly makes an outfit chic. You can pair leather leggings with black booties or white Keds depending on the look you’re going for.
Bandana, headband, or neckerchief
Feel like you have nothing to wear but your usual game day uniform? Think again—this option makes being stylish and spirited easy. Scarves worn as headbands, tied around a bun, or worn around the neck are all the rage right now. Stay on trend even on game day, and pick out a scarf that has your team’s color(s). A patterned scarf that highlights both of your team’s colors is great, but even if your scarf only has one of the team’s major colors, you’ll still be able to signal which team you’re for. Pair this statement accessory with shades, your favorite denim, and a neutral top (a T-shirt for warmer weather, a chunky sweater when it’s cooler) to keep the attention on your colorful scarf. If you want to take this look up a notch, add the scarf to one of these other outfits (with a sweater dress, plaid shirt, etc.).
Another super easy way to stay chic while cheering on your team is wearing statement earrings. Choose colorful, large statement earrings in one (or both!) of your team’s colors, and pair them with a monochromatic look so the earrings really pop. For example, if your team’s colors involve blue, wear jeans and a simple navy top with the statement earrings in the alternating color (for example, yellow, if your team’s colors are blue and yellow). If your team’s colors include black, channel this model’s look and pair your spirited statement earrings with an all-black outfit. If neither blue nor black are part of your team’s colors, you can always pair white jeans with a white button-down to be the neutral canvas on which your bright statement earrings stand out. The simplicity of this outfit allows you to take it into any temp—replace T-shirts with chunky sweaters or wool coats in the same color when it gets colder.
A sweater dress, that fall staple, doesn’t have to remain hanging in your closet on game days. If you want a chic game-day look, a neutral sweater dress (jacket optional) with a simple, vintage hat for your team is your winner. The look doesn’t sacrifice style at all, and a wool dress keeps you warm (particularly if it has a mock neck or turtleneck). Layer a utility jacket in a different neutral shade (like muted olive green) over top for added warmth, texture, and style, as Mary from Sportsanista does here. By keeping the colors of the dress (and jacket, if you opt for one) neutral, it doesn’t matter what your team’s colors are—any vintage-looking baseball cap will pair perfectly. You can keep it casual with white Keds, tennis shoes, or neutral ankle boots. Keep the heel on the booties low (or none at all) for walkability and lots of standing, and choose a rubber material (e.g., ankle rain boots) if you’re worried about your shoes getting ruined.
Wool coat or blazer
When the weather gets cold enough to require a coat for games, it doesn’t have to mean your days of dressing “game day chic” are over! Throw on a wool coat in one of your team’s colors, and you’re sure to identify as a fan among the sea of black puffy coats. The rest of your look can be dedicated to keeping you warm when it’s frigid, so long pants and warm boots are totally acceptable! If you do have to bundle up, top off your chic coat with an adorable knitted hat or warm scarf in your school colors (no logo necessary!). If you can’t find a sleek wool coat in your team’s colors, pick a coat in a neutral color and simply accessorize with your team’s colors in a hat, scarf, or both!
Live in a warmer state where you’ll never need a wool coat in the fall? Follow the same tips but use a blazer instead of a coat.
Fall’s wide range of weather can provide an excuse to forgo fashion for practicality, but these options offer stylish and practical game-day outfits regardless of the temps in your area. It may feel bold to step outside the sea of your team’s paraphernalia, but the confidence (and compliments!) you’re sure to get from doing so are worth the risk.