Style Scenario: The Football Tailgate/Cookout

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What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. FOOTBALL IS BACK, and this year, it’s really back. One of the greatest joys of the sport is the community of it all – getting to share time and memories together with friends and family while rooting on your team. We didn’t really get to do that last year, but this year? Oh this year, it’s back (fingers crossed please let it “stay” back). Whether you’re tailgating at the game, or headed to a house or yard party to watch from afar, you’ll want to dress the part to support your team, and do so in style. Below are some recommendations on how to do it in comfortable, casual, adult style.

College Tailgate 2021

The Shirt: Original Retro Brand Vintage College Tri-Blend Tee – $30. Retro is in, and that extends to sportswear. This is the perfect scenario to dig into the archives and find a piece of gear making the most out of your team or school’s storied past and the logos that accompany that history. More often than not, those logos look WAY better than much of the over-designed garbage you see today. That’s what Original Retro Brand does best. It’s right there in the name – a focus on retro styles and throwback logos for your favorite college team. This tri-blend tee is very soft, with an athletic cut and nice heathered fabric for some added texture. For a professional football retro shirt, check out Mitchell & Ness, specialist purveyors of throwback pro threads.

The Pants: Goodthreads Standard Slim-Fit 5 pocket Corduroy Pants in Khaki – $30. An absolutely terrible name, but when going with a basic tee, it’s always helpful to add a dash of mindful style with a nicer pair of pants, and a pair of tan cords fits the season and the occasion. Nicer than a beat up pair of jeans, but still plenty casual. Tan works great with most team colors, but be mindful of the top you’re wearing. Something with a lot of red, yellow and orange tones will require a different color on your pants. Goodthreads calls these a “Standard slim.” Not sure what that is supposed to mean, but they have plenty of stretch and work well even if you have larger legs. The slim seems to be applied to the leg opening, so it’s more of a taper. Also available in a standard fit if you find the slim to be too snug.

The Watch: Hamilton Khaki Field King Automatic 40mm – $545. Rugged, vintage good looks with Swiss made modern insides make for a great value (compared to the luxury brands) proposition. Hamilton knows what they’re doing in the world of field watches, and for under a grand you’ll be hard pressed to find a timepiece in that genre that is either better looking or better functioning.  Automatic movement, day/date complication, stainless steel case, and sapphire crystal. Featured in the 2021 Fall Temptation roundup, and for good reason. The form and function are perfect in this scenario and add a pop of understated luxury to a basic outfit.

The Shoes: adidas Stan Smith – $100 or Danner Vertigo 917 in Light Brown – $230. There are a few ways to play this, with white court sneakers like the classic white Stan Smith or Reebok Club C being great options, but with often-unpredictable fall weather and a long day of standing and wading through the stadium floor and parking lot flotsam, an outdoorsy boot might be the right call.

The Belt: J.Crew Braided Italian Suede Belt in Navy – $50. It might be “just” a belt, but J.Crew nailed this thing, and it’s one of their best items of the season. Plus, you may need something easily adjustable after a few pints or bowls of chili. Opting for navy breaks up the different earth tones utilized below the waist.

The Socks: Bombas All-Purpose Performance Calf Sock – 3 for $48.  Keep your feet cool, comfortable, and supported with socks from Bombas. Comfort for your feet isn’t just about the shoes – the socks are a critical part, especially in this scenario when you may be on your feet for much of the day.

The Cooler: Yeti 35 Tundra Hard Cooler in Navy – $250. Don’t show up to the party empty handed. Bringing your contribution, whether food or drink, in a properly built and eye-catching cooler is a “big flex,” as the kids say. Expensive, but Yeti coolers and drinkware have an undeniable “cool” factor.

The Drink: A craft beer from your team’s home state. And this is what you put in the Yeti. For me, I’m usually going with a hearty brew from Troegs Independent Brewing, Victory Brewing Company, or an ‘ole reliable Yuengling lager.

The Between-Games/After Match Competition: Catch. Toss around the official NCAA ball  pregame or after the contest has ended. A genuine leather ball has a really pleasing tactile feel in-hand. It’s hard to describe, but it adds to the overall experience of the day in a valuable way. There’s something beautiful about the simplicity of throwing a ball back and forth with people. And often, it spirals into running routes or a full-on pickup game.

About the Author: Jason P. spends his days working in the creative marketing department of a big telecom company. He also does a bit of real estate investing on the side. He believes in curating a timeless, classic wardrobe with subtle modern touches for today. He and his wife love hiking with their dog and shopping at local small businesses and antique stores when they travel. Jason is a practitioner of muay thai and traditional boxing, and his favorite drink is a hoppy New England IPA.