Fall opens gameday wardrobe

 

Despite the often blazing Texas heat and hours of standing, an increasing number of girls are choosing to trade comfortable clothes for finer football wear.

Junior allied health major, Sarah Jane Jones, said she dresses up for games to show her support for the team.

"It's almost symbolic of our support, kind of like how you want to dress well to test well," Jones said. "[The players are] putting in the time and effort to serve their team and University by playing well and putting the time into practice, so I don't mind dressing well to support them in their efforts."

While dressing nicely is certainly not a requirement for support, Jones said it is an expression of her respect for the work of those on the field.

"I enjoy seeing everybody dressed up," she said. "I think it's a great occasion and reason to look nice because we want to support our team. If I'd been working so hard for something and I went out for a choir performance or something and everyone was out there wearing a T-shirt and shorts, I'd be a little offended."

Morgan Ransleben, junior biomedical sciences major, said taking the time to dress nicely sets the games apart from other events of the week.

"Just dressing up shows how important the game is to us," Ransleben said. "If we weren't to dress up, it would be like we just think it's a casual, everyday affair."

With the shift to the SEC, many Aggies, such as junior health major, Gaby Bunting, were left wondering exactly how they needed to dress to fit in with the culture of the new conference. Among other things, SEC fans are well-known for their tendency to dress nicely at games. This reputation encouraged Aggies to make football a more formal affair than it has been in past years.

"Since it's a tradition in the SEC and we were a part of it in the athletic sense, I wanted to be a part of it culture-wise as well," Bunting said.

Kyle Field has seen a change in the way opposing teams' fans act and dress, which Ransleben said could be due to the additional media attention focused on SEC teams.

"People are more aware of how the opposing teams are acting just because the SEC teams and their fan bases are so hyped up that we are curious as to whether their fan base is accurately portrayed by all the media," Ransleben said. "Whereas Big 12 fan bases weren't nearly as criticized or powerful in the media."

While other SEC teams may emphasize dressing nice and intense tailgating, Texas A&M has been able to bring its unique brand of hospitality and love of tradition to the stands.

"From our perspective in going to the SEC, there's more pressure to behave and be classy just because that is SEC reputation," Ransleben said. "And I think that has also carried over to the opposing teams' fans as well, because they have noticed that our behavior as fans is a little bit different than what they're used to. So they have reflected similar attitudes when they come to College Station."

Because the team has come into the conference as a strong contender, Ransleben said it has increased A&M's room for influence and individuality.

"I think if we weren't successful athletically, we would be more pressured to fit in because not doing well athletically is not fitting into the SEC," Ransleben said. "But because we have come out and been so strong and so successful, I feel like we should just be us. I don't feel like we're pressured to conform to anybody because we are setting the example for athletics."

Ransleben said the differences in the way people dress accurately represents the diversity of the University's student body.

"I think there's a good amount of our school population represented by looking nice at games," she said. "And I think that if we all looked the exact same that that wouldn't represent Texas A&M as a whole. So I don't feel like everybody else needs to dress the same way some people do."

Students do not dress identically and the different styles of dress have given people the freedom to support their team and express themselves fully.

"You don't have to dress up for the games, but it's a fun tradition to be proud of your team and dress up for them," Bunting said. "You only get so many games as a student, so you might as well dress up and go all out."

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