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Fans show off school spirit with fashion

Students, alumni can dress up or down on game day

POSTED: August 25, 2014 1:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Carrie Bickwit holds up a shirt that reads Georgia On My Mind for sale at The Gift Box on John Morrow Parkway. In addition to game day apparel, the store sells game day scarves, watches, sunglasses and everything needed to show school spirit. The University of Georgia Bulldogs' colors are red and black.

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Fashion may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about football season, but fans can express their school spirit many different ways outside of shouting down the referee.

For those for whom the T-shirt and baseball cap will always be the go-to staples for game day attire, new options exist besides the tried-and-true cowl neck shirt you may have been tossed at a game last season. Spirit shirts with long sleeves, wider shoulders and your team or school name proudly emblazoned across the shoulders began as a trend among sororities on college campuses, but the look has trickled down to spotlight high schools as well.

Keith Maxey, owner and operator of The Gift Box on John W. Morrow Parkway, got the idea to sell spirit shirts featuring the University of Georgia and local high schools such as Chestatee, North Hall and Gainesville from his daughter, who recently graduated.

“They just came in Friday and we’re already out of the sizes of some of them,” Maxey said.

The spirit shirts on sale at The Gift Box and many other school apparel stores are popular for their comfort. Roomy, lengthy and made of cotton, spirit shirts are great for lounging on a couch or long hours spent in the stands on a cold fall night.

For a way to show your spirit in accessory form, The Gift Box also sells elephant-themed jewelry and scarves to add accents to a more neutral outfit.

If you want to or are required to dress less casually for a game, however, finding a way to spiff up a T-shirt shouldn’t be on your list of worries.

“In the fall, we always see our brands that we work with really starting to put together school color outfits,” said Hillary Harper, director of public relations for Dress Up on Washington Street.

Dress Up’s instagram account and website have many photos dedicated to a more formal look that fans of Tech, the University of Georgia and Clemson, among others, can get behind.

Red and black maxi dresses, orange and navy sundresses and crop tops in a variety of school-affiliated colors often fly off the shelves before the first whistle is blown come football season.

For a more formal football look, less is more.

“Maybe for UGA, you could wear a red dress with a black bow on the back, or just different pieces that can be mixed and matched together to make those school colors,” Harper said. “What we say is girls look really cute and super trendy when instead of doing a typical T-shirt, they kind of put different pieces together for a game day look that isn’t just a T-shirt but is all their own.”

Outside of the gridiron, a new competition exists in the closets of fans — who has the most spirit wear. In Gainesville, it would appear UGA fans are the most eager to wear their spirit.

“(The University of Georgia) is still the No. 1 selling stuff,” Maxey said.

What school is the most popular seller at the Washington St. boutique?

“Definitely UGA,” Harper said. “The red, black and white definitely flies off the shelves. We can’t keep it in.”



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