What to Wear to a Tailgate Party

What to Wear to a Tailgate Party

Finding the perfect look for a tailgate party doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider the weather and dress for comfort and you’ll enjoy every moment leading up to the main event.

With the fall weather cooling, tailgates are dropping in parking lots across the country as fans and folks gather for food, fun and good old-fashioned tailgate parties. Tailgaters are ready to have a good time, but before you can party you need to find a fashionable tailgate outfit that feels like an extension of you. From college football pre-games to crisp nights at the rodeo, tailgate parties provide an opportunity to show off your style with classy clothing like our customizable Team Logo Insulated Jacket and boots like the Fatbaby Heritage Western Boot, in colors that show off your team allegiances.

Balancing comfort and style at a tailgate party can be tricky. Knowing you might be out in the elements, rain or shine, in an open field or parking lot, can make it hard to dress for the occasion. Read our tips on practical pieces and tailgate outfit ideas that will keep you looking and feeling like a winner all season long.

How to Dress for a Good Time Tailgating

Remember the Essentials

For diehard followers of football, soccer, rodeo and even concerts, tailgating is a rite of passage that brings together family and friends to hang out and get hyped up before an event. There’s no doubt that wherever you tailgate, you’ll see people dressed in everything from jeans and jean shorts to full-body primal paints. But the most essential element of dressing for a tailgate is dressing smart. Prioritize comfort and dress for the weather—but never sacrifice your personal style.

Banish the Cold

Your fall tailgating outfits should be all about warmth. No one wants to be cold during a tailgate party, and there’s almost nothing that will take the fun out of the experience more quickly. Be sure to monitor the weather before deciding on your tailgate clothes, and bring an extra layer for when the sun sets and temperatures drop.

Dress practically and prepare for cold after dark:

  • Both men and women can wear base layers that are easy to peel off, like the Cornell base layer, a performance quarter zip and a vest.
  • Bring a weather-resistant shell like the Belmont Shirt Jacket for protection from rain or snow so you have it on-hand, if needed.
  • A long jacket like the Argentium Parka that provides coverage down the legs will keep the chill out while standing around the truck.

For comfort bonus points, wrap up in a throw blanket and snuggle on a lawn chair or in the truck bed (or share with a chilly friend).

Keep it Casual

Tailgate parties are all about having fun and enjoying yourself. Grab your favorite pair of jeans and boots and don’t overthink or overdress the look.

  • A comfortable hoodie, a knit sweater and even performance apparel are all great selections for tailgate attire that let you relax and focus on having fun.
  • A casual cotton sundress or athletic dress (bonus points if it has pockets, like the Sedona Dress!) and a pair of women’s fashion booties (like the leopard-print Dixon Haircalf Western boot) or cowgirl boots make for a great pairing that’s comfortable and shows off your unique feminine style.

Layer any of your cold-weather gear over your look as needed for fall.

Bring in Basics

Wearing full-on sweats and an oversized t-shirt might be too casual, but you’ll want to put on something simple that you can wear for hours, move around in, and that makes you feel confident. The same basic staples that you reach for every day—a button-down flannel, a favorite tank—can be cleverly combined to create a spirited tailgate look. Try putting together a plain cotton t-shirt and relaxed jeans with a pair of ankle-high women’s dress boots or full-length Western boots for men. Add a festive flair with a large-buckled belt or a scarf in team colors to dress it up or down to your liking.

Let Your Spirit Sparkle

Your tailgate outfit is an opportunity to express your support and passion for the shared experience bringing you and hundreds of other fanatics together. For a college football or soccer game, you can rep your favorite player’s number by wearing a jersey or using makeup (lipstick or eyeliner work well) to paint it on your cheek.

Accent colors in support of your team are easily integrated into tailgating outfits by adding accessories like a fun pair of bright gloves, a snap-back or felt hat, or even a pair of beaded earrings or other jewelry. For a country concert tailgate especially, you can stand out by adding a little sparkle with a rhinestone belt, sequin top or a cowboy hat for a fun touch.

No matter what tailgating clothes you decide to wear, above all else, you should feel comfortable and stylish in your clothing. Tailgate parties are a place to build community and connect with other lovers of the sport or game, so kick up your boots and raise a glass while enjoying this time-honored tradition.

Lea Brayton is a three-day event rider currently based in sunny Ocala, Florida—the “Horse Capital of the World.”