“You get to enjoy something masculine, but you get to be feminine while you do it.”

Don’t laugh, but this is a well-researched, interesting story about why women in the South, particularly in Athens, Georgia, dress as they do for football games.

“You hear that saying,” says Kerr, “‘Girls in pearls, guys in ties.’ But the ‘guys in ties’ in our data, they were not nearly as present.” Schmeichel agreed, “There were men who were maybe wearing a polo shirt, but in comparison the women were much dressier.” The researchers considered “dressy” outfits as involving any kind of dress, skirt, low-cut/spaghetti strap top, heeled shoes, or items of clothing that don’t have a “masculine” equivalent. “We heard a lot about cowboy boots,” says Schmeichel.

As to why this is more common among women rather than men, a little bit of sports history can help explain. It turns out, the practice is actually more of a preservation of tradition than a creation of one, as Kerr and Schmeichel discovered. According to local newspaper articles from the 1890s cited in The Ghosts of Herty Field, women from neighboring girls’ schools (because UGA wasn’t integrated at the time) were present at what the book claims is the very first football game in the deep south in 1892. And by 1893, women were such a fixture that at away games, their absence was notable.

“This was somewhat of a disappointment to the men… Athens is far superior in this respect, as the Lucy Cobb and Home School girls have become almost as essential to a game as the referee and umpire.” — The Red & Black, as quoted in The Ghosts of Herty Field

So, if there have always been women at UGA games, and up until the ‘60s, they were always — quite literally — dressed up, women in attendance at SEC games didn’t start dressing a certain way, they just never stopped.

Tradition!  (Bonus points for the boots reference.)

Oh, and it’s not that guys are complete schlubs.  It’s just that we spend our clothing budget on sneakers.



Filed under Georgia Football, Stylin'

24 responses to ““You get to enjoy something masculine, but you get to be feminine while you do it.”

  1. baitstand

    Students stopped dressing up for football games after the 1967 football season, when drugs swept the campus.


  2. Athens Dog

    Not everyone. We dressed up still from 75-79. The fraternities still wear ties.


  3. SCDawg

    Wore a tie to games until my senior year in 1997. Don’t see as many ties nowadays, other than the pledges.


  4. Ginny

    I wear a dress because it’s so damn hot and a dress is cooler.


  5. Faulkner

    You just can’t beat a girl in a sun dress on football Saturdays. God bless them.


  6. Uglydawg

    Pat Dye bought back the tie at Auburn.


  7. Debby Balcer

    I don’t wear dresses but my 28 year old daughter does and has since her college day. She even dresses up in November.


  8. Macallanlover

    I love the “old line” SEC schools that cling to the traditions of dressing “appropriately” for CFB games and not following the sloppiness of NFL fans. UGA, Bama, Old Miss, and Auburn, in particular are the leaders. Florida never got it, heritage problems I think, same with Mizzou, LSU fans never fit the mold entirely either, and TN is a mixed bag that seem to be trending to jerseys and jeans these days. Ties have definitely declined significantly but that is understandable given the weather, and polos are a satisfactory replacement. Sneakers have also become acceptable given the distance one must walk due to the new parking issues and size of stadiums. Just please, never sink to the level of NFL fans.


  9. TomReagan

    It’s always interesting to read articles like this from outside observers. You read it and think that it’s obvious that this is a tradition that has held on, but that’s not so obvious from the outside.

    On a side note, the girls at Alabama don’t “wear colors”. They just dress up in whatever color they want, including the opponent’s. My girlfriend, now wife, was absolutely floored by that. It really was weird.


  10. 69Dawg

    I graduated in 1969 and we were still wearing ties and sport coats to games. Not just the fraternity guys either. I remember ruining a sports coat by sitting through a rain soaked UGA UT game.


    • Macallanlover

      Yes, that is what I meant as well. They aren’t UGA girls elite, but might fine anyway. Don’t recall about not wearing the colors, marvelous sight before the game. After we beat their butts, it didn’t matter, I was willing to leave before they started destroying things.


  11. Uglydawg

    Can you even still buy Duckhead Pants?


  12. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    An undergraduate male at UGA is a fool in paradise.


    • Macallanlover

      Indeed, nothing finer. I will never forget that first night game against Clemson when the sorority rush was lined up around the block as we walked around campus during the day before the game. I had been out of college a few years, but still in my twenties….oh my how the memories came flooding back. I hope dementia never erases all those college memories.


  13. Bart Rich

    Girl who wrote this graduated in my class from UGA in 2013. She’s a great writer and an even cooler chick, and she’s spot on in this article. Go Stephanie, and Go Dawgs!