Here’s what’s trending this tailgating season

Photo courtesy Sweet Baton Rouge

It’s game time—for sporting our best fashions, anyway. Local boutiques in and around Baton Rouge have always been some of the most foolproof locations for finding the perfect purple-and-gold ensembles. Lucky for those eager to fill in the gaps left by a nonexistent social scene last fall, many of them are coming together with LSU football fashion in mind for Sweet Baton Rouge’s third annual Ultimate Tailgate event Saturday, September 4.

“As a local business, our end goal when putting on an outdoor event like the Ultimate Tailgate is to bring local businesses together at one time so the consumer can be introduced to new brands and aid businesses. It’s locals supporting locals,” says Sweet Baton Rouge owner Meredith Waguespack. “Through our sister brand Local Pop-Up, our mission has always been to connect Louisiana creators and makers directly with customers while celebrating all things local. It doesnt hurt to have outdoor events at Electric Depot, either, since it’s the perfect landscape to bring the community together and shop local.”

After digging into the different shops showcasing their finest Tiger threads at this weekend’s event, we asked some of these shops’ staffers for their trend forecasts ahead of September gamedays. The overarching theme: This is no ordinary football season.

“Since we didn’t have a traditional football season last year, people are really excited to get back to gameday,” says Annie Claire Bass, who co-owns SoSis in Port Allen with her sister Chelsey Blankenship. “We obviously don’t know exactly what will happen this season, but in terms of fashion, I think people are definitely going a bit more bold. They’re getting more glitzy, more dressy, more attracted to statement pieces and just having fun with their tailgating outfits.”

Last year, she says, with so many people staying at home, SoSis sold a lot of more casual T-shirts, whereas this time around, people are looking to build a new wardrobe for every game.

“We’ve been seeing lots of skirts and skorts,” she says, “as well a lot of shiny gold. I’ve definitely seen a trend of pairing a fun, bright bottom with a more casual T-shirt—like from Sweet Baton Rouge—as well as a lot of statement sneakers and booties. It’s the colors that aren’t necessarily bold. On my racks right now, there’s a lot of pale yellow and light lavender, and a lot of neutral tones, which you can pair fun jewelry with.”

This graceful re-entry into society means that refined, of-the-moment style is all the rage—but not without a few key pieces you may have seen in decades past.

“I’m a 2003 baby, so I never got to really experience the puffed sleeves and shoulder pad trends happening right now,” says Madison Punch, a sales associate at Court & Layne in Gonzales. “Then there are the 2000s trends like ruffled skirts and tube tops that we’ve been seeing more of.”

The clear bag policy, Punch says, means that having one in your gameday wardrobe is a necessity, but small beaded shoulder bags have also proven popular as a dainty way to add texture to even the plainest outfit. Just watch out for the one pattern you absolutely must not engage with: zebra print.

“I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of it once or twice,” Punch says, “but come on: zebra stripes and tiger stripes are two different things!”

Anyone ready to roar into Tiger Stadium can schedule a timeout for the Ultimate Tailgate from 4 to 8 p.m., when shoppers will find live music, a special release of Sweet Baton Rouge’s new gameday T-shirts, and the Local Pop-Up Makers Night Market. For more information, visit sweetbatonrouge.com.