Are you ready for some football? Labor Day weekend kicked off the Fall ’13 NCAA football season. You know what that means! Time to break out the truck beds, coolers, portable grills and sports attire. As the wife of a UCLA alumnus, I have become a Bruin fan by default. We are proud season-ticket holders and borderline professional tailgaters. Over the years, we’ve perfected the art of barbequing on a golf course outside the Rose Bowl, which qualifies me to share my tips on dressing properly for such weekly parking lot parties with you.
1. NO HIGH HEELS
Ladies, listen up, because I mean this. Under no circumstances are you to wear high heels to a tailgate. You will look ridiculous. Tailgates are casual events that often take place on grass, the enemy of the stiletto. That sexy walk you were hoping would catch the eye of that cute frat boy you have a crush on will become an embarrassing wobble as you sink into the soft ground. Sneakers are your best bet. If it’s super hot and you’re brave enough to endure Port-a-Potties in near bare feet, then wear flip flops or flat sandals. When it gets cold, wear flat boots. But if I catch you attempting to strut your stuff in pumps, I will point and laugh.
2. TEAM APPAREL – BUT ONLY IF THEY’RE PLAYING
Pick a side, any side. I don’t care which team you’re cheering for as long as it’s one of the two on the field. It’s so annoying when people wear apparel to a game when that team isn’t playing. Save it for their game! If you don’t own any appropriate gear, then show your support with team colors. You may not have any UCLA-branded shirts or socks or hair bows, but I’m sure you can find a baby blue top or gold hat. If all else fails, snag a temporary tattoo.
3. LAYERS WELCOME
Football starts in the fall, when temperatures are still reaching degrees in the triple digits in some parts of the country. By the time the season ends, you may be sitting in snow. If you went to school in Missouri, like me, you will also watch at least one football game in the pouring rain. The weather is unpredictable, so always bring a jacket or sweatshirt. Gloves, scarves, ponchos and earmuffs may also be necessary.
4. YOU’VE GOT SPIRIT, YES YOU DO
If you’re a super fan, then by all means, bust out the body paint, the mascot head, the jersey and the matching jewelry. You can never have on too much team gear – as long as you’re at the game. On a regular day, I suggest you limit yourself to one sports item at a time. But while tailgating, you can definitely go all out!
5. CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAUSE
This is more about etiquette than attire, but still equally important. Any time you attend a tailgate, bring a dish to share. Don’t just grace everyone with your presence and start chowing down on cheeseburgers and chips that you wash down with a keg stand. And by ‘bring something to share’ I don’t mean a 6-pack for yourself or a single pudding cup. Make an effort. It doesn’t have to be home-baked; you can pick up a dozen cookies or cupcakes at the store. If you have special dietary needs, don’t rely on everyone else to cater to you; bring something you can eat. I never leave home without a frozen veggie patty in tow.
Tell us, what will you be wearing this football season? Every year, I add a new piece of Bear Wear to my wardrobe. This weekend I broke in my first tank top! Go Bruins (and Tigers)!
Photos via: GRILLINFOOLS.COM, SPORTSTAILGATERS.COM, KTVB.COM, UCLABRUINS.COM, CLEVERTAILGATING.COM, GAMEOFROLES, TUMBLR TAILGATERSHANDBOOK.COM