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First Down Fashion

Jessie Christian | Friday, September 7, 2012

It’s officially college football season, and tomorrow the Fighting Irish will be suiting up to battle the Boilermakers of Purdue in their first home game of the year. The players, however, are not the only individuals who will be suiting up. Students, faculty and fans from all over will be showing off their Irish pride in various ways during the game day festivities. Many fans of Notre Dame football will pick up the classically essential game day top, ever-so-modestly named “The Shirt”. However, if you are one of the few who is not hip to this traditional look, or if you’re interested in finding an alternative approach to game day fashion, then this section is for you. I’ve traveled to the Hammes Bookstore and back to give you the breakdown on ND’s fashion tradition, as well as the inside scoop on some of the bookstore’s best tops for maximizing stadium style.

The Shirt:
For those of you who don’t already know, The Shirt is one of the fundamental elements of the Notre Dame student fan section. Time and time again, students have lined up to purchase the top that is reinvented annually so as never to become boring or fall out of style. The success of The Shirt’s influence on the student body and other fans over the years has been attributed in part to the ceremonial “Unveiling”. The ceremony involves football players, coaches and performances celebrating the unveiling of a new design and a new season to come. In terms of its power in the stadium, the overwhelming cluster of students all wearing the same top creates a unified sea, in this year’s case, of navy blue. The unity brought about not only by the color but also by the messages and imagery that The Shirt displays is truly the cherry on top of the most lively student body in college football.

The League:
Because I honestly couldn’t pick my favorite, I had to cast my vote on this brand as a whole. The League, a brand known for making collegiate wear, is all over the bookstore with a large variety and endless stock of cute pieces. Their biggest trademark is the their tri-blend polyester, cotton and rayon fabric which makes so many of the brand’s pieces unforgettably soft. The bookstore offers League apparel with a wide mix of different ND logos, some of which immediately draw the eye while others are more subtly chic. This Leprechaun T-shirt is more the latter, as the muted colors blend nicely with the cartoon depiction of the school’s epic mascot.

Sun’s Out:
Boys, if you know the rest of the title phrase then this muscle tee is for you. The polyester sleeveless top is perfect for guys who are reaping the benefits of those long hours spent in the gym. Created by Adidas, the style and lettering of the shirt will have you looking like a Notre Dame football player yourself, as they are almost identical to that of the Notre Dame official issued gear. Going for a more conservative look, yet still want the swag of a Notre Dame student-athlete? Not to worry – the shirt comes with sleeves as well.

Clover Will-age:
Ready for another dose of Irish tradition? Look no further than this t-shirt, branded with the phrase that has led the football team and many others to victories over top-notch competitors. Located on a plaque within Notre Dame Stadium, the players give the words “Play like a Champion” a final high-five before heading through the tunnel and rushing out onto the field. The popularity of the phrase has led to a mass production of “Play like a Champion” products, bringing good luck and great determination to Irishmen, women, and fans alike. Players will be ready to go if they see you sporting this driven slogan as they travel to the stadium during the player walk. Wearing the shirt on game day is also a great way to pump up the fan section so that they make some noise as the Fighting Irish storm the field.

Tailgating Touchdown:
The Notre Dame lacrosse pinnie has become one of the most popular styles regardless of pre-game intentions, and it’s easy to see why. The look is perfect while the weather’s still warm, and because pinnies were developed initially as athletic gear, this top is particularly airy and yet still resilient. Spilled something on your top that has caused an irremovable stain?

This pinnie is reversible, so just flip it inside out and a brand new shirt is born! Feeling the temperature begin to drop? No problem – – just slip on a long-sleeve thermal and you can still rock this shirt! The bottom line here is that this pinnie is comfortable, versatile, and extra cute. Oh, and did I mention that its unisex? You just can’t lose, and with the Irish heading into battle tomorrow, that’s an offer you’d be crazy to resist!