By: Jacklyn Citero
Dressing up for football games is a way of life in the South.
Getting ready for a football game does not mean breaking out the jeans, T-shirts, and football jerseys for young women attending southern universities. These southern belles take game day attire to a whole different level as they strategically combine pearls, sundresses, and cowboy boots in anticipation of these Saturday afternoons.
Female students at the University of Georgia are no exception to a long-standing, unwritten rule of the SEC: women dress up for football games. “It’s all about tradition,” said Priscilla Pruett, a junior from Danielsville, Georgia. “I grew up wearing red and black to the games, and as a child I remember seeing all of the college girls dressing up in their best red and black attire. I always wanted to be a part of that,” Pruett said. “There’s just something very southern and traditional about looking your best on game day and I love it!”
Stroll the downtown shopping district of Athens on the day of a home game and the retail displays and shoppers are all about school colors. Wearing red and black on game day is practically a religion for Mallory Benson, a junior from Eatonton, Georgia. “Obviously I would wear game day colors, so normally a black or red dress, or maybe even a patterned dress with those colors,” said Benson. Benson insists she doesn’t dress like this to conform to the masses. “I wear these clothes because they are clothes I like,” she said. “I think some girls see what others are wearing for game days and want to wear the same thing or something similar.”
Stepping out on game day is like stepping out on the runway. “It’s almost like our own little fashion show- this is a very unique thing we have down here, fashion surrounding football,” said Katie Jacobs, owner of Cheeky Peach Boutique in downtown Athens and herself a UGA alumna.
Girls always look cute on game day.
In the early part of football season, dressing up for game day has practical as well as fashion value. “At the beginning of the football season it’s so hot that it feels nice to just have on a dress and some cute sandals. You know that’s as cool as you’re going to be during those hot afternoons,” said Katie Nichols, owner of Entourage Clothing & Gifts in Athens and another graduate of UGA.
SEC coeds treasure dressing up for game day as a southern tradition. “Schools up north do not always dress cute for game days like in the South,” said Benson.
Nikki Grant, a UGA alumna who owns Encore in downtown, views game day as more than a sporting event. “It’s more than just going to the game, people like to dress up. People like to see and be seen and everybody just wants to look their best in their black and red,” she said.
Some young women, of course, may choose a football jersey or T-shirt on game day. And the attire of male students—nearly always more casual than what their dates are wearing—defies analysis. But when it comes to southern universities, conspicuously displaying school colors in the form of sundresses or cocktail sheaths is a tradition that carries the force of obligation for many college women.
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