The number of women football fans is on the rise and they’re looking to express their football passion with football fashion. Thanks to that demand, football fashion selections for women are in abundance today more than ever, allowing female fans to show their team pride with more stylish clothing options than they’ve had in the past.
“We used to have to wear the men's jersey, and for most of us, this came down to our knees and looked like pajamas,” says Mary Jo Miller, Fashion academic director at The Art Institute of Atlanta.
With all of the choices available today, women no longer have to borrow football shirts from the men in their lives. Football fashion for women represents all teams and comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, from handbags and team jerseys, to jeans and t-shirts, to jewelry, dresses, and even underwear.
”Victoria's Secret announced a new Victoria's Secret Pink line of NFL apparel for women this year, says Shaneika Dabney, editor and creator of Chicksinthehuddle.com.
Actress Alyssa Milano even started her own line of NFL-licensed merchandise for women. Her Touch Collection can be found at the online boutique Fandalia.com and the NFL shop. Fandalia says the goal of the Touch Collection is “to bring women classy active wear that accentuate a woman’s body and her team spirit.”
A Winning Fit
Milano’s football fashion line incorporates feminine twists into sports-themed active wear. This includes details women shoppers typically care about like soft fabrics and attention to shape, according to Val Chulamorkodt, a contributing writer for TheFootballGirl.com, who goes by the title “The Fashionista Girl” on the site.
Chulamorkodt and Dabney both welcome all of the new options out there, and say there is still room for more.
“Over the past few years, there has been an increase in fashion choices for women fans,” Chulamorkodt says. “All too often, fan wear specifically for women is limited to baby tees or shrunken versions of the men's shirt, which translates into tight in the chest and boxy around the waist for some body types and just plain boxy for others. Neither is ideal.”
Dabney agrees, saying that women who love football shouldn’t have to sacrifice being fashionable and feminine.
“Just because I love football doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate or desire looking feminine when I attend or watch games,” she says. “I’d like to see more fan gear cut for a woman’s body and more apparel that’s geared toward fashion forward fans who want their gear to match current trends.”
Touchdown for Business Bottom Lines
It would seem that football fashion for women is a good, and increasing, business opportunity and even the NFL shop offers choices specifically for women, including Milano’s line. Women's gear generated about 15% of the NFL's $3.4 billion in total merchandise sales for the 2005 season compared with 3% in 2004, according to an article in USA Today. It makes sense; women make up 40 to 45% of football viewers, according to Chulamorkodt. She adds that women are even playing fantasy football and make up about 10 to 15% of all players. She says that in a little more than one year, TheFootballGirl.com was named one of Forbes.com’s Top 100 Websites for Women.
Seeing an opportunity for football fashion for women, Chulamorkodt says, TheFootballGirl.com is launching its own line of apparel in the fall to showcase women’s football passion with close attention paid to fabrics, cut, and message.
“We're engaging women into the NFL experience,” she says.
And the NFL experience means supporting the hometown or favorite team by wearing their colors and logos. While merchandise is often offered in the stereotypical feminine color — pink — Miller and Chulamorkodt both caution that wearing pink instead of authentic team colors conveys a newbie fan status that hard-core and longtime fans may not respect.
“If you are a true fan of football — and I am a true fan — then you should show the pride in your team by wearing their colors,” Miller says.
Chulamorkodt agrees. “Die hard fans don't wear pink unless pink is the team color, it's that simple. If you're going to wear fan apparel, the colors should be there.”
Miller has one more football fashion “don’t” for the female fans — high heels.
“Women, please do not wear heels to a football game, or any other sporting event unless you are part of the cheerleading squad,” she advises. “It simply is not appropriate for the occasion.”
Written by freelance talent for Ai InSite
Contributing writer for EDMC.