When you shift your gaze off the football field to the over 90,000 fans gathered in Sanford Stadium each home game, you’ll encounter a sea of mostly red, black and white. Students and visiting fans are often dressed to not only impress, but to support the Georgia Bulldogs through their best gameday outfits.
The outfits range in style — a striped romper or a solid-colored dress, complete with bulldog-themed accessories, can be found next to a denim and a vintage-inspired T-shirt combo or a team jersey repping a favorite player.
But what was a dedicated Georgia fan wearing 15 years ago? Or even 50 years ago?
University of Georgia football fashion trends have changed to reflect various cultural, social and historical events over the decades. As the Bulldogs take on Vanderbilt for the first game of the 2019 season this weekend, take a look back at popular fall trends to reminisce on, or be inspired by, for your upcoming gameday look.
Leaving behind World War II and the “sensible styles” it necessitated, elegance and glamour took root alongside American consumerism. An accentuated waistline, fitted knit-sweaters and a full-skirted silhouette — along with accessories such as white silk gloves — were influenced by Parisian fashion house Dior’s “New Look” in 1947.
This style dominated American culture until the mid-1950s when a “progressively straighter and slimmer” silhouette emerged, according to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fashion History Timeline. Despite this evolution, an emphasis on “softer, more feminine lines” remained an important factor and can be seen through the elegant hairstyles, makeup and dress of the era.
For men, icons such as James Dean and Marlon Brando inspired a new “working-class” look, complete with denim jeans, white T-shirts and black leather jackets.
In a photo taken during the senior march circa 1940s-1950s, found in The Red & Black’s “Dear Old U-G-A,” women are seen in black heels and mid-calf length coats for the annual rite of Georgia’s Homecoming.
They paraded around Sanford Stadium representing “an era when dressy attire was in vogue at college football games,” most on the arm of a male counterpart clad in a felt hat and dressy trousers. Plaid accessories were “well adapted for campus wear,” as well as corduroy, according to a 1950 fashion column in The Red & Black.
The 1960s ushered in a casual, colorful era, characterized by the miniskirts and minidresses of the early- to mid-60s, followed by longer skirts which fit the hippie aesthetic in the later half of the decade. The trends translated into menswear, as “collarless jackets, worn with slim-fitting trousers and boots” rose to popularity, according to an article in The Red & Black.
Both the chain necklace and belt were in fashion and were usually paired with light cotton blouses with “fall-away collars, puffy sleeves and long cuffs,” according to a 1969 article in The Red & Black. Coat dresses, especially those with pleated backs, were also in fashion and “perfect for homecoming.” Accessories such as circle pins and charm bracelets accompanied pleated, A-line skirts and crew cardigans.
The decade of peace and love was full of bright colors, popped collars and bell-bottom jeans. In the early part of the decade, many students wore nylon knee-high boots, paired with either long skirts or gaucho pants. Toward the end of the decade, students were taking their closets to the next level for gameday with skinny ties and narrow pants that were all the rage.
During the ’70s, fall fashion was on a “long and colorful” trend, which meant anything could be paired with a maxi jacket or skirt for a layered look, according to a 1970 article in The Red & Black. For colder games, some students opted for long trench coats with a hood or a double-breasted coat made of velveteen.
Big hair and shoulder pads took over the nation, so did flashy costume jewelry draped over brightly-colored tops.
All over Georgia, the trend of “power dressing” and jumpsuits took over the women’s fashion scene, according to a 1981 article in The Red & Black. Between the hedges, women dressed head-to-toe in a red or black jumpsuit with a pair of sneakers or heels. To accessorize the outfit, some added bright multi-colored socks and chunky jewelry. On gameday, some could be found wearing red socks and tasseled earrings.
For men, fashion trends included open flannels with crew neck Georgia T-shirts, along with cuffed jeans and Converse shoes.
Grunge in full force, the decade was nicknamed “anti-fashion,” with trends heading toward minimalistic and intentionally clashing styles. Two-toned blouses and patterned pleated shorts were the best forms of casual wear for fall fashion, according to a 1991 edition of The Red & Black.
Vests, whether a solid color or patterned with stripes or polka dots, were a major trend. Crop tops were also popular. For 1990s gameday-inspired wear, any form of crop top in red and black could be paired with skinny jeans or cargo pants.
Crediting the word to Harper’s Bazaar but claiming the title for itself, Athens experienced a “retropolitan” turn of the century as the Classic City drew fashion inspiration from the 1980s, according to a 2000 article in The Red & Black.
Items such as leather trench coats, tweed pants, plaid dresses, turtlenecks, halter tops and pearl necklaces made their way back into students’ closets and off the racks of vintage shops. The second half of the decade saw solid-colored dresses in red or black come into the trend for gameday attire.
What will you be wearing this gameday season? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on social media to show off your outfit or give us your tips on how to make the classic red and black look fashionable every game.