8 Things Southern Women Would Never Wear to a Football Game—And What They Wear Instead

Photo: Red Dress Boutique

First off, let's start by saying something that should be obvious: Wear whatever the Sam Hill you want to wear to a football game. No one here is the judge and jury. But with dozens of SEC gamedays under my belt—and just as many outfit mishaps—I've settled on a few tried-and-true guidelines that can help us all get through another hot, sweaty tailgate season. Keep in mind that the days are long, the air conditioning is nonexistent, and the allowed bag size in the stadium has gotten mighty, mighty tiny. (Which significantly hinders space for on-the-go beauty supplies to use when you're dripping more sweat than the players.) The goal is to begin the day with your smartest foot forward, starting with a stylish but curated outfit to see you from tailgate to touchdowns to closing time. Here are the ultimate dos and don'ts of what to wear to a college football game in the South, should you be in need of inspiration.

01 of 08

Don't wear: Maxi dress

Midi Dress

Do wear: Flowy midi dress

How many times are you willing to risk taking a tumble as you climb the stadium steps? Besides being way too hot for September in the South, a maxi dress poses too many problems when you're going from tailgate to stadium, and back again.

Keep a little extra length, while feeling overall breezier and safer to traverse in a midi dress. And in our humble opinion, the just-below-knee length is about as flattering as it gets.

BUY IT: Smocked Midi Dress; $59; lulus.com
BUY IT: Print Ruffled Midi Dress; $179; lulus.com

02 of 08

Don't wear: Cowgirl boots


Do wear: Trendy sneakers

We all lived through the time when cowboy boots were the ultimate pick for college girls on gamedays throughout the South. Key words: Lived through. It's over. Let's rejoice. Besides bringing on major shin sweat, that trend was never nearly as cute as the sneakers we're seeing now. Plus, you'll be thanking them after a full day of standing and walking.

BUY IT: Sidewalk Low-Top Sneakers; $88; madewell.com

03 of 08

Don't wear: Synthetic tops

Cotton Tops

Do wear: Breathable blouses

Say it, live it: Breathability is key. As adorable as that polyester printed top might look, it's not going to feel it (or look it) once you've been in the sun for a couple hours. Whether you're choosing a basic tee or chic blouse, make it a classic no-nonsense fabric that you won't regret.

BUY IT: Embroidered Eyelet Blouse; $99; revolve.com
BUY IT: Eyelet Peplum Tank; $24; nordstrom.com

04 of 08

Don't wear: Skinny jeans

Wide-Leg Jeans

Do wear: Straight or wide-leg jeans

By high-noon, those skinny jeans are going to be suctioned to your skin, tightly secured with your own perspiration and needing to be peeled off. Make that mistake once, and you'll never again.

Instead, try one of the trendier denim silhouettes that are in style right now. Looser, straight fits are flattering on everyone; wide-leg jeans will make you feel like a cool girl (temperature-wise and otherwise); and kick flares are always the talk of the party. Pair with a statement-making belt and comfortable top, and you're set.

BUY IT: Slim Wide-Leg Jeans; $128; madewell.com

05 of 08

Don't wear: Heels

Espadrille Platforms

Do wear: Espadrille platforms or sandals

See prior advice about trying to *not* trip on the stadium steps. Heels are never a good idea. Let's say it again: Never. If you're a short Southern gal who never leaves the house without a little extra height, go with a more comfortable pair of espadrille platforms or sandals with just the slightest chunk heel (less of a tumble hazard).

BUY IT: South Beach Flatform Sandals with Ankle Strap; $35; asos.com

06 of 08

Don't wear: Leather skirt

Paperbag Shorts

Do wear: Cotton shorts

You know what's breathable? Linen, cotton, and a whole host of other fabrics. You know what's not? Leather. I'm not lying when I say you could once fry an egg on a black leather skirt I wore to an SEC football game in the dead of September. I was a freshman. Please forgive me. (And don't make the same mistake!)

Luckily, breezy shorts are in style for summer, and we will happily let it roll all the way into football season. Try a pair with a trendy paperbag waist.

BUY IT: Cotton Paperbag Belted Shorts; $78; macys.com
BUY IT: Mid-Rise Linen-Blend Shorts; $22; oldnavy.gap.com

07 of 08

Don't wear: Wide-brimmed hat

Vintage Baseball Cap

Do wear: Vintage baseball cap

Try telling the person behind you (whose end zone view you're obstructing) that you can't take off your floppy, wide-brim hat because…hat hair? If you're a Southern belle that takes UV protection very seriously, find a vintage or graphic baseball cap to stow in your purse. Bonus tip: Always have a scrunchie on deck for when times get hot and steamy.

BUY IT: Embroidered Baseball Cap; $14.99+; etsy.com
BUY IT: Gingham Tie-Back Baseball Cap; $19.99; madewell.com

08 of 08

Don't wear: Bodycon dress

Red Dress Boutique

Do wear: Breezy sundress

Luckily, we've come a long way from this trend, which dominated the mid-2000s in all of its short, tight, and little, er, glory. Now, it's back to more flattering, breathable, and daytime-appropriate frocks like casual sundresses. Start with your team colors, and find an easy throw-on dress that fits your personal style.

BUY IT: Ruffled Shift Dress; $42; reddressboutique.com

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