Tailgating is a college football tradition that every fan should experience. However, your experiences will vary based on your weather conditions. Weather affects tailgating apparel in a very real way. A fan in California may be able to wear a tank top and shorts in November while fans on the east coast will need a warm jacket and gloves. In addition to aprons and oven mitts, fans need to think about what they are going to wear to a tailgate to either keep warm, keep cool, or both.
The West Coast
In states like California or Hawaii, the t-shirt is a staple in gameday apparel. Wearing a t-shirt to a tailgate is perfect for the first few months of football season. They give off a simple and casual look that will never go out of style. A good t-shirt will keep you looking and feeling cool during a sweaty and humid game. Comfort is key when watching football and a t-shirt is a great way to guarantee that.
Wearing a pair of basketball shorts to a hot tailgate is a smart move.
Shorts make for a breathable bottoms option that will keep you cool throughout the entire day. When people wear shorts they give off a more casual and laid-back look, representative of the tailgate “vibe”. Shorts also look excellent when paired with a variety of clothing options such as t-shirts, tanks, and jerseys.
If you plan on doing things right, a baseball cap is a necessary tailgate item. A good hat can keep the sun out of your face while you grill for hours on end. They are also a casual way to represent your team without donning team colors from head to toe. Wearing a hat is also a perfect choice if you’ve just rolled out of bed, or are having “a bad hair day”. They are one of the most versatile pieces of tailgating apparel.
Crew socks can look very stylish if you utilize them correctly. When worn with a pair of matching sneakers, crew socks can be a crucial part of your look. Most team crew socks feature a pattern design with the team’s logo running from the toes to the top band. Fans who wear these aren't afraid to experiment fashion-wise and make a statement when doing so. They also keep you warm if needed, but aren’t overwhelmingly hot if the weather is decent. Just make sure you don’t look like your dad on vacation at Disney.
Sporting a fanny pack is a convenient and fashionable way to tote around your things. Not only are fanny packs useful, they often always meet the regulations for bag size restrictions for major stadiums. Most come in fun designs that cater to the school’s colors and mascot, making it an effortless accessory to complete your gameday look. More importantly, it will keep your hands free during the tailgate!
Hoodies are a staple for everyone, everywhere, but especially in the Midwest. They range in style and are easy to pull on or off depending on the temperature. Every self-respecting sports fan should own their own hoodie. Paired with a beanie, a good hooded sweatshirt will protect you from bad weather by shielding your neck from gusts of cold wind and rain. Hoodies are a comfortable option whether you want to keep warm or look fashionable. A classic sweatshirt tends to be a favorite article of clothing for a reason and an essential piece of tailgating apparel for college football season.
Wearing pajama pants to a tailgate is more of a strategic move than most would think. At first glance these pj’s look more like a piece of flair than tailgate apparel, but the true value of these pants is beyond supporting the team. As soon as you slip your legs into the fuzzy warmth of a pair of pajama pants, it won’t really matter how you look. Wearing PJs to the tailgate or game grants the fan the comfort of the couch, no matter where they are. Pajama pants are a fun and functional apparel option whether you want to stand out, or just feel comfy.
Blankets are essential to gameday apparel when tailgating on the East Coast and in northern regions of the US. If you’re thinking, “I can’t wear a blanket to a game!”, you might not be familiar with this Northeast tradition. Drape a warm blanket over your lap during a freezing cold game and you will be thankful you brought it. Imagine relaxing in a camping chair with a brew, wrapped up in a team blanket before you head into the stadium - perfection!
A baseball hat is going to be virtually useless in the snow, which is one reason why beanies are a game-changer. They keep your head and ears warm during those freezing-cold tundra games. You can lose a lot of body heat from your head and a beanie helps save that precious warmth on cold Saturdays at the stadium. Beanies come in tons of styles that allow you to represent your team while showing off your personality. Skull caps are a tailgating staple for fans in places like New York and Massachusetts.
Scarves can be perfect for both a chilly night game or below zero day game. Getting inventive and tying them creatively can bump up their fashion element. Scarves can enhance your outfit and keep you warm at the same time. When outside grilling in the snow, you’re going to be glad to have something keeping your neck warm. They keep parts of your body warm that a collar can’t reach and prevent you from breathing in the icy air. Scarves are not just an accessory, they are practical as well, which makes them an awesome piece of tailgating apparel.
T-shirts are not only a staple in West Coast tailgating fashion but also in the hot and humid South. You can represent your team, look put together, and be comfortable all at the same time. Wearing a t-shirt is also a great way for anyone to look tailgate ready at a moment's notice. They are a simple, everyday staple - check inside your closet and there is a great chance you already own a perfect pair of shoes and pants to match.
A person wearing a jersey is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of what a sports fan should look like. It’s not hard to picture a big, burly football fan grilling some brats while sipping a beer in a jersey. It’s an outright way to show which team you are rooting for when surrounded by a crowd of loyal fans. Jerseys are also a great way to feel more of a connection to your team and their players. Many fans will wait outside the tunnel before and after games for a chance to get their jersey signed by their favorite player.
Drawstring backpacks are the best way to keep all of your personal items safe while you are tailgating. They are an extremely underrated piece of tailgating apparel. Drawstring bags are lightweight and small enough to keep in your car during the tailgate and tucked under your seat during the game. They have literally been around for centuries, dating back to ancient Egypt, and there’s a reason they are still used today.
Depending on Where You Are, Tailgating Apparel Can Look Very Different
Your team’s location definitely has a bearing on what type of weather you’ll be facing on gameday. On the East Coast wearing a beanie with a hoodie to a game is borderline required. While on the West Coast wearing a t-shirt and basketball shorts can be a totally suitable option. No matter where you live, there is tailgating apparel that will suit you. It’s about discovering what works best both fashionably and practically. Whether you want to subtly represent your team or be decked out from head to toe, there is a huge variety of different apparel options to choose from. Apparel makes the fashionable part of sports fun, personable, and customizable. Keep warm (or cool) out there this season, fellow fans. Happy tailgating!