The Evolution of Game Day Fashion at LSU
by Abi Ogundare, Jennifer Veazie, Aubrey Herndon, Kristen Chedville, Adeline Eubanks
Rick and Lori at LSU Homecoming, 1982
LSU is famous for their football team, and many LSU students cherish Saturday nights at Tiger Stadium. The university’s football team was founded in 1893 (Tiger Droppings). The culture at LSU, specifically student fashion, has evolved drastically since 1893. We have researched how a student’s social status and other factors, such as weather, influenced their way of dress. Overall comparing what was students’ dress code to football games over the past century reflects the college culture and tradition held at LSU.
History shows us that several factors influence fashion trends. The 1960s’ “counterculture movement” in the United States shook up social norms and revolutionized fashion. This decade introduced unisex clothing such as denim jeans and leather jackets. There was a blending of men’s and women’s clothing styles. In the mid-1960s, “Mod fashion” became popular amongst the upper class youth. This style was known for its bright colors and geometric shapes. In contrast to upper class youth, “greasers” were largely from the working class. Their preferred style carried over from the 1950s. Greasers wore tight fitting T-shirts, distressed jeans, and topped off the look with a classic leather jacket. In the late 1960s, a new movement kicked in California. It was called the “hippie counterculture movement”. The movement began from a socio-political phenomenon that inspired social change, acceptance of different lifestyles, and rebellion against consumerism. Clothing like bell-bottomed jeans, floral and paisley patterns, and handmade clothing became immensely popular. During this time women rejected padded bras and girdles that were once a staple in a woman’s wardrobe.
Unfortunately, we were unable to interview anyone that went to LSU during this time period. We are able to infer what was worn during game days by photos from old yearbooks and talking to individuals who lived in Louisiana during that time. It seems that men wore a form of dress pants, button-down collared shirts which they would normally style unbuttoned with a casual plain tee underneath, and paired with casual dress shoes. Women had varying styles. Some would wear shift dresses or tunics and pair their outfit with low-heeled Mary Janes. Other women preferred to wear jeans, a blouse, and saddle shoes.
Karen Lay, 63, attended LSU in the year of 1973 to 1974. Even though she attended UNO, she is a Baton Rouge native and would often attend the games as a student. This was a time of casual style. Karen remembers how often women and men wore similar clothing to games and to class. She listed the examples: bell-bottoms, scarves tied around the head, and button down shirts tucked in. She recalled that men and women both had lots of hair, mustaches, beards, and many parted hair down the middle. Long messy hair was a symbol of casual style, since it was not clean cut. Flip flops were commonly worn to class on hot days, however mule slip-on shoes were sometimes worn to games in an effort to appear more dressy. Karen explains how, “nothing really expensive like name brands were cool to wear. This is the day of the hippie and so wearing expensive clothes was not anything that people considered to be cool.” The socio-political atmosphere of the 1970s was a reflection of the many events that happened during the 1960s. These events included the Vietnam war, civil right movement, and ‘hippie’ lifestyle movement.
Rick Cook attended LSU from the fall of 1979 to the spring of 1987, leaving LSU with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He loved attending the football games often during his undergraduate career, and a few times even through his graduate career. He wore his nicest pair of jeans, a dress shirt, and tennis shoes to LSU games; he emphasized wearing tennis shoes because he often stood outside the stadium gates for a few hours before they could sit in the stadium. But on special event games or Homecoming Rick would wear dress slacks, a dress shirt, and hard-soled shoes. He always brought his girlfriend, Lori, with him to football games. In the picture above, Rick stated that he is wearing a sweatshirt made from velour fabric, which was very popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lori celebrated the Homecoming game by wearing a ribbon on her plaid jacket. In 1982, this couple had a humble sense of school pride. But Rick Cook made it clear just how much he misses cheering at LSU’s football games, and that he loves his alma mater.
Natalie Herndon attended LSU from 1981 to 1985, and enjoyed Saturday nights at LSU’s football games. She stated that preppy clothes were in style in the early 80’s and she enjoyed dressing up to mock “Preppie” and “Preppette” posters that were very popular at the games. Natalie described some of her usual game day outfits: turtlenecks, sweaters, long skirts, espadrille shoes, bright and primary colors, solids and stripes. She also mentioned that every girl at the time had an initial ring, they were so common that the rings were a social standard. The students of the 1980s did not wear LSU’s purple and gold to football games. Some students wore the opposite side of the spectrum of fashion. Some girls emulated Madonna’s big hair and leather jacket, and others conveyed the fashion of punk culture. Nevertheless, Natalie said that everyone dressed up more for football games than for class every day.
Chuck Herndon attended LSU of 1982 to 1987 and was more interested in watching football than making a fashion statement at LSU games. He wore jeans, sometimes khakis, and collared shirts. The brand Izod was the most popular collared shirt to wear to games and class in the 1980s. Chuck said that fraternity guys wore bright button down shirts and baggy khaki pants in comparison to other guys at games, but everyone often wore a variety bright, neon, or pastel colors. Top sider moccasins were the best choice for guys to go to football games according to Chuck.
Amy Waguespack, is a forty-five-year-old woman from Baton Rouge who was on the LSU cheerleading team from 1990–1994. During her college years, her style was classic and flirty, and she mostly wore skirts and dresses to class. Because she was a cheerleader, Amy attended all the LSU football games. The difference between the uniforms in the nineties and today is the uniforms then were jumpers and did not show any midriff. Also, turtlenecks were almost always worn underneath the uniforms along with thick and tall white socks. Amy’s friends dressed up for game days, sporting dresses and wedged heels. Game day stickers and tattoos were not in style at the time. Boys dressed nice as well, often wearing a button down, tie, and slacks. In conclusion, game day attire in the early 1990s were slightly more modest, and most students dressed nicer for the games than they do today.
Fashion in the 1990s, especially in the mid to late 90s, was very casual, perhaps it can be argued that it is the most casual decade of the 20th century. This bled over into LSU’s game day attire along with many other special events. Interviewee Aimee Norton, who attended LSU from 1993-1998, described her style, along with mostly everyone else’s, as very casual usually just entailing a t-shirt and shorts or jeans, sometimes a skirt, outfits then involved a lot of denim. During this time period, people tended to dress the same for class as they would for a game. The only people who dressed up for LSU games were Greeks, and even then, the level of “dressing up” was very low compared to previous decades or today. As with previous decades, however, the most common and often only accessory was a purse, there was not face paint or stickers like we usually see today. Lastly, girls did not wear heels, they usually wore sandals or sneakers. Casual style continued into the 2000s where it was eventually left, at least for the time being.
Rachel Hagstette, 31, attended LSU through the years of 2004 to 2010. Barrett Hagstette, 32, attended LSU from 2003 to 2008. Rachel and Barrett are married and were very active in showing their school spirit; they attended all of the football games. Rachel, a member of the sorority Phi Mu, along with all her friends, greek or not, dressed in T-shirts, jeans, jean skirts, tank tops and New Balance tennis shoes. Rachel only remembers greek girls wearing casual cotton dresses if they had a date with a fraternity member. Greek girls would often wear stickers or buttons with their greek letters emblemed on it, or groups would wear matching t-shirts. Barrett, like most guys, preferred wearing khaki pants or shorts along with an LSU or polo shirt not tucked in. Barrett typically wore sandals on hot days and Top-Siders on colder days. This is very similar to previous decades of men’s style, not changing much as the years have gone by. Most students wore purple or gold colors to games. If it was cold, students usually wore fleces of the brand Columbia, Patagonia, or North Face to games or to class. Class was even more casual, as Rachel wore Nike athletic shorts and a t-shirt. Barrett would wear khaki shorts or pants along with a t-shirt to class. She remembers everyone, even greek students, kept their clothing very casual compared to the previous decades at football games. Rachel and Barrett note a change in dress, however, as later in the 2000s people began to dress up more. Today, Barrett wears the same outfits and Rachel dresses up noticeably more than she did during her college days.
Present day style is pretty different compared to most other periods in time, both in general and specifically LSU game day attire. The biggest differences are the level of dressiness that is achieved by not just Greeks but also non-greeks as well. People really go all out now-a-days when it comes to football games, and it is not just clothing but every detail that goes into people’s looks, be it the face stickers, the makeup, the hair, the shoes. Most importantly, it is the pride that is shown specifically through wearing LSU colors, the purple and gold is by far the most important part of the outfit. It is interesting to see how an outfit that could be so simple and easy is turned into a whole other story these days. Now this is a collective shift, people who went to LSU is the 70s, for example, dress up way more to come to the games than they did when they actually went to LSU, even if it is not as much as the students. It is safe to assume that the students are really the driving factor behind how people come dressed to LSU football games.
Over the past 50 years or so, the style of LSU student has evolved greatly. Fashion trends have evolved from “dressy” to casual, circling back to dressy. These trends generally follow a cyclical pattern. Clothing was definitely influenced by politics, music, and the culture of the time. Students used clothing to express themselves and their views throughout the years. Football games were a time for all students to gather in one place and express fashion as one body. Most students would wear similar styles of clothing depending on the specific trend of the decade. Greeks and non-greeks always slightly differed in style; Greeks are usually dressier. Whatever the decade, the students were always showing out and expressing themselves. Fashion trends always have had a massive impact on the gameday experience, as they will be for years to come.
LSU fans on gameday, 1969 Gumbo yearbook
LSU fans on gameday, 1995 Gumbo yearbook
“American Fashion Through the Decades.” InterExchange. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.
Cook, Rick. Rick and Lori Homecoming 1982. 1982. Photograph.
Cook, Rick. Personal interview. 21 April 2017.
Hagstette, Barrett. Personal interview. 22 April 2017.
Hagstette, Rachel. Personal interview. 22 April 2017
Herndon, Chuck. Personal interview. 21 April 2017.
Herndon, Natalie. Personal interview. 21 April 2017.
Lay, Karen. Personal interview. 23 April 2017.
“LSU Football History 1890-1899.” Tiger Droppings. 24 April 2017. Web.
LSU students at a football game. 1969. The Gumbo 1969-1970, Hill Memorial Library, Baton Rouge.
LSU students at a football game. 1995. The Gumbo 1995-1996, Hill Memorial Library, Baton Rouge.
Norton, Aimee. Personal interview. 22 April 2017.
Waguespack, Amy. Personal interview. 23 April. 2017.