Style Advice Q & A

Sports Mom? What To Wear to a Tailgate

Hi Deborah,

I would love your thoughts on what to wear to a tailgate party or sporting event. I have one son in college on the basketball team and another in high school playing sports, and I would like to wear some cute game-day outfits. Any ideas?

We also go to Panther games for NFL and hit some college football tailgates – black and yellow, royal blue and black are the colors!!

Basketball outfit

Hi Lyn,

It sounds like you are a very busy sports mom! Whether it’s basketball, football, or any other sport, what you wear to tailgates and games comes down to the weather and team spirit. You want to be comfortable, but you also want to wear something casual, classy, and cute, which shows support for the team. Here are a few fashion guidelines for sports moms.

  1. Wear School Colors

Whether you wear a team jersey or regular clothes, give the nod to the school colors. Sometimes you don’t own any clothes in the team colors or find those colors hard to wear. No problem. Just wear neutral-colored clothing and add in some school color in the way of an accessory like a tote bag or scarf. The only faux pas? Wearing the other team’s colors!




2. Quality Counts to Keep it Classy

Dressing casually doesn’t mean having to sacrifice quality. Look for well-made separates in quality materials that give you structure and shape. For example, wear a long cashmere boyfriend cardigan over a  simple shapely stretch t-shirt. Add a cute plaid scarf for color and texture. A beautiful leather bag and rich suede booties + and a luxury watch give this casual look more of an upscale feel.

football outfit

3. Layer to Keep Warm

The weather is much more of a consideration for a football game up north in the fall. Temperatures can drop dramatically in a few hours, and there’s always the chance of rain or snow flurries. I have two cute football game-day outfits for you. They both involve layering. For this first one, wear a sweater over a shirt and a vest or jacket over top of the sweater.

Don’t forget a hat, headband, and warm gloves, and make sure your toes are warm in waterproof

4. Forget about High Heels

Do I even need to say that heels are a no-no? You’ll be climbing the stands and walking on the field. This is no place for high-heeled glamour boots. Go for something cozy but stylish, like these fantastic leather booties cuffed in shearling.

tailgate party outfit

5. Use Accessories to Dress Up a Look

Tailgate parties mean outcome truck beds, coolers, portable BBQs, and casual sports attire. Here are a couple of looks that are relaxed but fresh looking. Dress up your jeans and athletic wear with diamond earrings, a luxury watch, and whimsical sports bangles. Be sure to put on some make-up and be sure your hair looks cute. It’s incredible how much good grooming can do to upscale a casual look.

For some, a team jersey is a natural choice. If you go this route, wear your jersey with quality pieces, like this elegant cascading sweater, these great suede booties, and this attractive studded Ralph Lauren bag. This keeps the outfit looking grown-up and pulled together.

Note: I’m told that if you live in the South, tailgate parties are often more dressy than this. You’ll find women wearing cute, casual dresses and many accessories for a more feminine look.

Lynn, I hope these styling ideas have helped you start thinking about what to wear on game day. Remember, the essential accessory is enthusiasm. Have fun!

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