UA students wait for kickoff at the mtsu football game.

‘An Unspoken Language:’ Game Day Fashion Brings Fans Together 

You’ve been waiting all week and it’s finally Saturday — and it’s a home football game weekend with the game day fashion to prove it.

Students, alumni and other Crimson Tide fans eagerly await kickoff. Some folks are in red jerseys sporting the last names and numbers of past and present athletes. Some are in full suits. One man wears a crimson and white luchador costume. A group of young women match in white cowgirl boots. Their dresses are specked with pins saying how much their organization loves the Tide. 

From the stadium to the tailgates to the watch parties, fans don their game day best.

The love of fashion in the SEC came as a welcome surprise to one out-of-state student. 

Hailing from New Gloucester, Maine, Jane Lipp said her high school didn’t have a football team for most of her teenage experience. Three years later, the junior majoring in apparel and textiles has grown to love game days, in part due to the fashion.  

“I believe game day fashion at Alabama is iconic,” Lipp said. “I genuinely believe that people dress up in the idea of all celebrating together.”

With so many creative people on campus, The University of Alabama is a unique hub for imaginative ideas when it comes to game day attire, said Lipp.

Jane Lipp is cheering on the crimson tide with her family who has come to visit.
Jane Lipp (center) celebrating the Crimson Tide with her family.

“I try to think of new ideas that have not already been done or what people haven’t worn so I can add my own personal twist of what I am wearing whether I find it or I make it,” said Lipp.

But for Lipp and others, fashion is more than just individual expression.

“Fashion has the power to connect people both different and alike,” she said.

On History

“It’s more than polka dots, puff sleeves and houndstooth,” Lipp said, “On the surface it looks like it’s all for show but there’s a deep history in dressing up for the purpose of celebrating football.” 

Dressing up for game day is rooted in the history of the Crimson Tide. Even a century ago when football was first growing at UA, spectators would wear suits with bowler hats or long dresses.

UA even has an official tartan, We Are Crimson, which debuted in 2010.

“I have always been a fan of football and have always been invested in the game. However, I don’t think my excitement in watching football would be quite as strong if there wasn’t so much tradition surrounding it,” noted Regan Fox, a junior majoring in psychology.

Fashion has the power to connect people both different and alike.

Jane Lipp

Today, some traditions live on and history makes a reappearance in the form of vintage shirts, sweaters and more. Sporting a vintage style provides a way to stand out, according to Lipp. 

“I’ve become interested in upcycled clothing and I’ve always enjoyed the historical aspect of fashion. I connect with that interest of mine through finding unique vintage pieces,” she said. 

Boots, pins, denim, gold jewelry and textured fabric are all in vogue for this season, according to Fox, who works in a boutique and takes notes on what fashions students buy for game days.

Jane and her ADPi sorority sisters, Sarah, Sarah and Lauren watch the game.
Lipp (far right) and her sorority sisters at a football game.

“This fall, I’d say the biggest trend is denim,“ she said. “I’ve seen denim sets, denim dresses, even denim boots!”

Lipp said trends are open to interpretation with some standouts.

“In my opinion, I feel like textures are going to be the main focus with neutrals continuing to be the star of the show for the fall color palette,” said Lipp. 

Bama fashion tends to be more comfortable in terms of men’s wear and leans more toward formal for women, said Zach Brown, a junior majoring in apparel design. 

“During the last two games, I saw a lot of cowgirl boots being worn and, of course, dresses or a blouse and skirt combination,” he added. Brown also said he often sees polo shirts and jeans worn by men. “For me, I have a very edgy aesthetic and I am constantly changing the way I dress but I enjoy wearing monochromatic outfits completed with my game day pins.” 

“I see fun outfits like Alabama overalls,” Lipp said. “I think guys can have fun with the fashion aspect as much as the girls do. Again, that ties into the celebratory aspect of dressing up.” 

On Accessories

For some fans and students, accessories make the outfit. Brown said he’s been known to wear three or four pins with just one outfit. He keeps this in mind while browsing through Pinterest for ideas on what to wear.  

Zachary wears all black on gameday, but decks it out with accessories.
Zach Brown wears all black on game day but decks it out with accessories.

For Lipp, she said accessorizing can give an outfit extra glamor. She appreciates the little details, especially jewelry like charm bracelets.

“I love pins, both game day pins and sparkly antique pins. I think vintage jewelry is really fun.”  

Lauren Rosen, a speech pathology major from Colorado, immediately loved every aspect of game day when she started college. With a keen eye for detail, she dresses up her outfits with jewelry. 

“To add some flair, I love wearing fun big earrings, as well as necklaces and bracelets,” she said. “As a finishing touch, I add my sorority game day pins.”

And what’s game day without friends to celebrate with? 

Game day fashion is something that really brings everyone together in their own different styles.

Zach Brown

“My friends and I often borrow each other’s clothes and accessories and style them in our own unique ways,” she added. 

Lauren Rosen accessorizes her black dress with a bandana, sunglasses, jewelry and pins.

On School Spirit

Fashion unifies fans, said Brown. A simple exchange of complimenting someone’s outfit can strike up a conversation.

“Game day fashion is something that really brings everyone together in their own different styles and aesthetics,” said Brown.

“I once heard fashion be described as ‘an unspoken language.’ I feel like on game day, fashion is the unspoken language used for the fans to connect with one another and share their excitement for Alabama football,” said Lipp.