Common threads

    Though the Northwestern student body isn’t quite as big as some of its rival schools, its fans always bring passion to the bleachers with their game day attire. “The Northwestern stands are really passionate, but we want the purple to be prominent,” says Medill senior Kelsey Stokes, vice president of NU Wildside. 

    But what sets fans apart in the sea of purple are the custom touches each NU personality brings to its garb. Check out some Northwestern game day looks. 

    The Bro: 

    The term “bro” has a masculine connotation, but when applied to style it can describe either a male or female who exudes a certain chillness in how they act and dress. At a game, bros most likely wear the following: lacrosse pinnies (especially at sporting events that aren’t lacrosse), backwards snapbacks, wayfarer sunglasses in various neon shades and possibly sweatbands or bandanas. “You’ll sometimes see the guys with cut-off jean shorts on, or even see some ‘out-there’ costumes,” Stokes says. These different pieces may or may not be purple and white. To a bro, looking chill is far more important than repping Northwestern’s signature colors. 

    The frat star and the girly girl. Photo by Brennan Anderson / North by Northwestern.

    The Frat Star:

    Several telltale features distinguish the frat star from the bro. A typical frat star outfit on game day might include trendy dark jeans or khaki pants for chilly weather, pastel chino shorts for warm weather, Sperry Topsiders (in rain, snow or shine) and purple polo or v-neck shirts. A crewneck sweatshirt or a purple half-zip pullover sweater will top off the get-up. Though the frat star’s game day look is often preppy, one can also occasionally spot a frat star and his brothers sporting the shirtless, chest-painted-purple look —but only if their muscles are nicely toned. “We always get a section of boys in the front row who paints up regardless of the temperature,” Stokes says. 

    The Girly Girl: 

    A couple of items summarize the game day outfit for most girls: purple tutus, cutoff shirts and leggings. This outfit is sometimes accompanied by purple glitter, the “knee socks and ironic Crocs” style, face paint and more purple glitter. Of course, belly shirts and tutus generally aren’t ideal for cold weather, so cardigans, crewneck sweatshirts, scarves and mittens usually take over once the temperature drops. “Outfits are often dictated by the weather, so you see a lot of girls in the standard leggings and Uggs,” Stokes says. 

    The parent. Photo by Brennan Anderson / North by Northwestern.

    The Parent: 

    Alumni or not, lots of parents attend Northwestern sporting events. Besides not cheering in the student section, parents are fairly easy to spot at a game based on their attire. More than a few parents will be sporting an “NU Mom” or “NU Dad” sweatshirt, cap or jacket on game day. Sure, it’s a little embarrassing for their kids, but they’re parents—they don’t know any better. One might also notice that, besides wearing gear straight out of the Norris bookstore, the moms and dads will probably be wearing “sensible shoes.” 

    That Noob Freshman: 

    There are always those few freshmen who just don’t know what to wear to their first college football game. They can be easily identified in one of two shirts: their purple “Class of 2016!” shirt or that one free shirt with the school song on the back. The effort is there, as both of these shirts are solidly purple, but there’s definitely room to up the spirit and style. 


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