How To Dress Like A Sports Fan Without Looking Like A Total Dingus

November 1, 2017

Have you been following the World Series? Serendipitously, the two teams wear uniforms on the opposite sides of the color spectrum, blue and orange. It’s made for a striking color contrast in the stands. When you get too close, however, you can see some unfortunate choices in booster apparel. Golf shirts, oversized jerseys, and those custom designs that say things we can’t publish in good taste (let’s just say that LA is full of people wearing “clever” uses of the D in Dodgers). And even though baseball season is at an end, there are still basketball, football, and hockey seasons ahead. So, here’s some advice on how to not look like a memorabilia store victim when you’re root, root, rooting for your team.


For the Fair Weather Fan

You don’t need to paint your face to show your team you care, so feel free to keep things short and sweet. Watching sports, after all, is the epitome of off-duty. Start with a pair of good jeans and some chukka boots that can stomp on peanut shells when you’re walking through the stands. Our esteemed Jesse notes that it’s nearly impossible to go wrong with tossing on a team cap, whatever the sport.

If you want to show a little more team spirit, there’s nothing wrong with coordinating the colors in your outfit to reflect the team’s colors. If you’re pulling for the Oakland A’s, then try a flannel shirt that has a touch of green. When I was a kid, I had a grey and navy varsity jacket that, while wholly unaffiliated with the team, meshed seamlessly at a Yankees game. The goal here should be to complement things without looking cartoonish. Admittedly, this will be easier for some fans than others. Trying to work with Tampa Bay’s red-and-orange color combination will be an uphill battle.


For the Die Hard Fan

The above will carry you easily from the sports bar to the stadium, but if you’re going to a big game and want to get into the spirit of things, no one will begrudge you. Just maybe don’t, as Jesse puts it, look like you’re going in a team costume. Be careful about wearing more than two pieces of team swag, especially if they look fresh from the gift shop. And double especially if the jersey is designed for padded armor.

Instead, consider going for a throwback or classic jersey style. Some teams have some really amazing designs in their archives, such as the Astros or Nuggets. Your favorite player in the team’s history will be a better fan investment anyway, rather than going for this year’s favorite, who may be ignobly traded in the near future or go the full John Rocker. A team sweatshirt or sweater will also keep you warm if you’re at an outdoor football or hockey or hockey game, so you can show your team support in a way that’s smarter, not harder.


For the On-Trend Fan

The old line about how it takes twenty years for history to come back as nostalgia is holding true, as fashion from the 1990s is cycling back, bringing with it mallcore band tees and Doc Martens. Some of the most coveted things from that era, however, include sportswear and fan apparel. And you know what? A lot of it is pretty great.

Many teams have streamlined their logo and designs to a point of market-tested nothingness. As recently as the 1990s, however, things felt a bit more like the Wild West, with ridiculous graphics, bold colorways, and dynamic designs (which, admittedly, sometimes veered on insanity). Fan apparel back then was often maximal and indulgent, and while you want to tread carefully with going overboard with this stuff, sometimes this is what rooting for your team is all about.