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What to Wear Tailgating: Spring Style Essentials for Football Fans

As the days get warmer and the leaves start to grow back, it’s time to think about enjoying the fresh air, good food, and a satisfying cocktail or two in the great outdoors – all in the comfort of your favorite stadium parking lot.

Yes, my champions, football season is here, and with it comes the time-honored, finely-honed craft of the tailgate party (get all your tailgating gear here). Whether it’s pro-ball or college, football or hockey; do the home team proud by winning the sartorial trophy before the game even starts (leave the painted faces to the competition). Here are all the best spring style essentials to keep you comfortable.

Uniqlo Heattech Knitted Gloves – $15
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Light enough to tuck into a pocket, warm enough for all but the bitterest temperatures, these Uniqlo tech gloves come in eight colors, and feature Uniqlo’s Heattech “biowarming” and insulating yarns. They also include touch-screen responsive finger and thumb tips, so you can easily text your location to your buddies or catch up on the latest scores.

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Known Supply Long Sleeve T-Shirt – $36
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This super-soft Pima cotton tee stands on its own, but will also become an all-season favorite to layer under sweaters, sweatshirts and—oh, yeah—shirt jackets. Known Supply goes one further: each shirt is signed by its maker, and you can learn about the crafts-person by going to the brand’s website and entering their name. Championing fair practices and safe workplaces, wearing a Known Supply T-shirt wins one for the home team on many levels. 

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Duckworth Snowcrest Vest – $151
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Duckworth gives the classic insulated vest a tasteful, workwear-inspired makeover. The exterior is made from American-made Helle Rambouillet wool (similar to merino) for a clean elegant finish, is lined with ripstop for durability, and is then filled with the company’s own Woolcloud insulation. The minimal styling looks great over flannel for a hearty outdoorsy feel or under a sportcoat for a sophisticated, urbane look. 

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Life/After/Denim Shirt Jacket – $188
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Is it a shirt? Or is it a jacket? Either way, it’s one of our favorite new pieces for fall. Heavy-weight, but soft cotton twill is great over a T-shirt for the afternoon, but you’ll be glad to have this as a mid-layer under a vest or jacket when it cools down. We like the tasteful, neutral horizontal stripes of this version from Life/After/Denim.

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Dakota Grizzly Tripp Jacket – $168
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With plenty of pockets to accommodate a flask, gloves, hand-warmers, and everything else you need to keep close at hand while tailgating, the Tripp jacket from Dakota Grizzly is a tailgaters go-to. Made from microsuedoe bench cloth, the jacket is super soft to the touch, but durable, and can hold up to the elements. With its workwear-inspired olive color and comfy plaid interior, the Tripp jacket works just as well on date night as it does on game day.

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Patagonia Performance Straight Fit Jeans – $119
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Jeans are practically required for this venue, but since we’re expecting a great performance from the home team, let’s provide a little performance of our own: this denim from outdoor purveyor Patagonia incorporates Coolmax to keep you dry, from the tailgate through to the after-party. Of course, since it’s Patagonia, the polyester mechanical stretch denim is dyed in a way to minimize energy, water use, and carbon dioxide emissions, which is good for you and good for the planet. They also feature a durable water- (or beer!) repellent finish.

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Darn Tough Socks – $20
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Trust us on this one. Go for fine-gauge merino wool socks for long-lasting breathability and comfort. They wick away moisture to keep your feet cool. Darn Tough’s undetectable seam fusion makes for an ultra-smooth feel that’s so lightweight, you’ll forget you’re wearing socks … until you take off your shoes and knock ‘em out with this great modern fair isle pattern. 

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Thursday Boot Company Captain Boot – $199
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Thursday’s Captain Boot, in a tasteful olive suede, walks that fine line between sport and luxury. You’ll wear ‘em all season long for work and play. They feature a sturdy Goodyear welt construction and a comfortable, shock-absorbing insole (perfect for jumping up and down at touchdowns).

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L.L. Bean Insulated Tote – $70
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It’s just the thing to keep your chili warm or your beer chilly, with the added benefit of having a preppy-approved design. Inspired by the classic Bean Boat and Tote, this carrier features a coated cotton exterior, a BPA and PVC free liner and a detachable shoulder strap. And yes…it can be monogrammed. 

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And just one more addition to the line-u[, since on a cold day at the stadium (or on the bleachers) you might be happy to have a USB-powered heated seat. A crowd-funded project, the seat features a sturdy steel frame, foam-padded construction, a beverage holder (natch), and features low, medium, and high settings of 100, 110, and 115 degrees, as well as an adjustable back. Are you ready for some football? 

If you’re not into serving an entire look for a tailgate, you can always just throw on a favorite flannel and call it good.

John Jones
John Jones is a Jersey City, New Jersey-based writer who enjoys covering design in all its forms, from fashion to…
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