Few things garner as much as excitement in our house as the start of the college football season. By the time August comes to a close, our sun-drenched, lazy summer weekends start becoming mundane and anticipation mounts for the Saturday when we awake to the first broadcast of College Gameday on ESPN. As described in this post last year, both Nate and I are proud Penn State alums and our enthusiasm runs deep for the tradition, pageantry, and competitive spirit that flows through Happy Valley every fall. We are fortunate to be season ticket holders and love traveling to Beaver Stadium to reconnect with family and friends, tailgate in the cow fields, and cheer on our beloved Nittany Lions with 100,000+ passionate fans.
Living in North Carolina now, we can’t make it to every home game, so the few times we do get to experience a football weekend in State College have become extra special. The first game we attended this year was the September 19th prime time matchup against Rutgers. Night games in Beaver Stadium are truly a one-of-a-kind experience and are usually celebrated by fans declaring a “White Out.” (Both Nate and I were proud participants of the first ever Beaver Stadium student section “White Out Purdue” on November 9, 2004.) For this night game,though, Penn State Athletics decided to try something a little more ambitious – a stripe out. After originally learning that the traditional annual white out was scheduled for the November 21st game against Michigan (A silly idea, if you ask me, since temperatures will most likely be near freezing and people will be more concerned about staying warm during the game than wearing the official White Out T-shirt), I was excited for the stripe out, knowing the Penn State faithful would make Beaver Stadium look amazing under the lights on a warm September night.
I’m sure many Penn State alumni can confirm that being back in State College feels like traveling back in time. A time when you’re biggest worry was not sleeping through an 8 AM class or mad that a term paper was due the Monday after a big game weekend. Upon arriving in State College mid-morning that Saturday and driving west into town on College Avenue, we were greeted with familiar and iconic sites – the tall Meridian Apartment Complex to our left, South Halls to the right, McLanahans, The Student Book Store, Old Main, The Corner Room – and a flood of associated memories with each passing block. State College was already buzzing with throngs of students and alumni eating, shopping, and passing the time before the 8 PM kickoff.
Seeing groups of fresh-faced kids in their late teens and early twenties sure snaps me back into my adult reality, but I noticed something peculiar about many of them as we drove through town – almost all of the girls were dressed in a similar fashion – and it wasn’t pretty! Maybe this is the out-of-touch 31-year old mom talking here, but when did it become attractive and the norm to wear acid-washed jean shorts with butt cheeks hanging out, a cheap, cut-out tank top with a sports bra showing underneath, and white converse sneakers similar to this girl? Unlike most of the girls I saw, this young lady had some sense to throw a shirt over the cutout tank to hide the not-attractive-at-all-in-a-sports-bra sideboob. (Save shirts like that for the gym, ladies!)
I remember this trend last year at one of the football games, but this year it looked like literally every girl was dressed the same. The student section was asked to wear all white for the stripe out, but really girls, is this all you got? A white tank top with huge holes down the sides? Not only is this look shabby and kind of trashy, but when everyone is dressed in the exact same getup, it’s not fashionable. Rather it’s quite unimaginative and definitely not sexy looking to members of the opposite sex. (Whom I’m assuming these young ladies are trying to get the attention of with their hineys hanging out of their vintage Guess shorts.) Even Nate, who’s not exactly a savant on women’s (really any) fashion finally said, “What’s with everyone’s bras hanging out? Is that supposed to look good?” When my husband starts commenting on the fashion of college kids, you know it’s got to be bad!
With homecoming weekend approaching, I’m sending out a call-to-action to all of the coeds and my sisters who bleed blue and white. Put a little class and creativity into your game day outfit this weekend. If I’ve learned anything so far about living in the South, southern girls really show us Northerners up at tailgates. I’m not saying you need a monogrammed gingham sundress or cowboy boots (Actually, I’m begging you, leave the cowboy boots for girls in Texas), but we can do better than the cheap tank and skanky shorts. Lots of alumni and parents will be back in town and a crisp autumn afternoon is the perfect time to show off some chic, put-together looks. Don’t be afraid to dress different than your BFF either. Want to really get the attention of the cute boy across the hall in your dorm or in line for a soda at the stadium? Dare to be different than the other 20,000 girls on campus. Choose pieces that showcase your personality (not your booty) and your confidence will shine through!
Check out some of my suggestions for some stylish game day outfits. Penn State’s school colors already provide a great backbone for classic wardrobe pieces and stores downtown like Lion’s Pride offer unique sportswear beyond your basic hoodie. Add pretty jewelry, a scarf, or other accessories for a variety of stylish, football-ready looks.
(None of these products are paid endorsements, just local State College stores or brands we love and think are worth checking out!)
Start with a great fitting pair of jeans and your game day outfits are endless!
1.Penn State Under Armour Long Sleeve – I love the asymmetrical zipper and high neck.
2. This classic crewneck is slightly fitted for a more modern take on the bulky sweatshirt.
3. I love just about every piece in LLBean’s Signature line, including this waffle crewneck sweater, which looks like it was made for a day in Beaver Stadium!
4. After several years of the skin-tight skinny jeans/legging trend, I’m glad to see bootcut jeans back this Fall. Personally, I’ve never given up on the bootcut – they’re flattering with boots, flats, and sneakers and can be dressed up or down. These from Gap are a classic.
5. Another all-time fave from Gap are these relaxed boyfriend-style jeans. These jeans look great with sneakers and a more fitted top – to balance out the jean’s loose, relaxed feel and still look feminine.
6. When I was a student at Penn State, I had somewhat of an obsession with J.Crew vests. This season they have this awesome navy and blue buffalo-check vest. It may seem a little pricey, but I guarantee you’ll be wearing this to homecoming in ten years. In fact, I love this entire outfit – a great idea for a dinner date and watching the homecoming parade Friday night.
Amp up your outfits with cute accessories and you’ll look anything but bland in blue and white:
7. These beautiful drop earrings are from Texas-based designer Kendra Scott.
8. Thankfully Penn State Athletics lifted the no-purse rule this year and we can at least bring in wristlets. Detroit-based Shinola has quality leather goods all made in the USA. This one in Parisian Navy will complement any game day outfit.
9 & 10. What’s a college football game without a favorite cap. If you decide to don the baseball hat, keep the rest of your outfit logo free. Or just bring one with you in case of rain or wind. Both of these can be found at Lion’s Pride on College Avenue.
11. What’s the easiest way to dress up jeans and a fitted tee or sweater? Add a cute scarf! This Under Armour scarf from Lion’s Pride is very Penn State without going crazy with logos.
12. Another cute option for chillier days, is a plaid, blanket-style scarf like this one on Etsy.
13. This Lion scarf screams Penn State without being kitschy.
14.&15. Ahh, game day shoes. Earlier I admonished the white Chuck Taylors, but really it’s because it’s all I saw (I thought NOTHING could be worse than the Ugg Boot and black legging trend when I was in school a decade ago, but the Converses/jean shorts combo are gaining traction on my list). I could give you a ton of cute flat or boot options, but since a typical game day involves lots of walking and hanging out in muddy fields or rocky RV lots, in reality, you should stick with sneakers. Luckily, there are lots of cute sneakers out there. My personal favorites are these and these from Nike.
Yes, this post is geared toward the ladies, but I couldn’t help adding a few pieces for all the PSU guys out there. Men have it pretty easy when it comes to football stadium attire. I personally love the casual, laid-back look of jeans, tees, and sneakers – SO MUCH MORE than the southern, preppy look of khakis, button-down shirts, and bow ties. I mean, this just looks ridiculous and cannot be comfortable for tailgating and tossing around the pigskin all afternoon. Just like the ladies, stick to the classics, but invest in a great fitting pair of jeans and a unique accessory like the cool watch below.
16. Show off your college pride with these t-shirts from Lion’s Pride. They’re made from a cotton/rayon blend, making them extra soft – like you’ve owned it for years. Alumni, these tees are a must for homecoming weekend. We proudly represent the College of Communications and College of Engineering in North Carolina with these shirts!
17. What guy doesn’t want another ball cap? This one from Nike has their Dri-Fit technology to help keep you cool during extra-tense game situations (Hey Hack, we’re talking to you!)
19. Sick of spending $50 on a pair of jeans at the mall only to find holes and rips in them weeks later? Do yourself a favor and check out the line of high-quality, made in the USA denim from 1791 Supply and Co. The price tag may seem steep, but these babies are worth it – plus you’ll be supporting American jobs. We love that all 1791 jeans are woven at one of the oldest mills in the country, right up the road from us in Greensboro, NC. Nate got a pair when the line launched in 2012 and has been a selvage jean junkie ever since.
21. Ok, this probably isn’t in a college student’s budget, (Maybe an awesome Christmas present for making the dean’s list?) so alumni, if you don’t know about Shinola’s goods, you’re missing out. This Detroit-based watch and leather goods company refuses to give up on American manufacturing and have created some A+ goods in the process. All of their watches are cool, but The Runwell Sport Chronograph with navy rubber strap is perfect for an afternoon at Beaver Stadium.