Style Advice Q & A

Sports Mom? What To Wear to a Tailgate

Hi Deborah,

I would love to get your thoughts on what to wear to a tailgate party or sporting event? I have one son in college who is on the basketball team, and another son 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 a couple of things: the weather and team spirit. You want to be comfortable, but you also want to wear something casual, classy and cute, and that 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 just regular clothes, be sure to give a nod to the school colors.  Sometimes you don’t own any clothes in the team colors, or you 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 gives this casual look more of an upscale feel.

football outfit

3. Layer to Keep Warm

For a football game up north in the fall, the weather is much more of a consideration. Temperatures can drop dramatically in a few hours and then 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, or headband and some 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, walking on the field. This is no place for high heeled glamour boots. Go for something cozy but stylish too, like these unique leather booties cuffed in shearling.

tailgate party outfit

5. Use Accessories to Dress Up a Look

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

For some, a team jersey is the natural choice. If you go this route be sure to 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.yellow tailgate outfit

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 lots of 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 most import accessory is enthusiasm. Have fun!

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