By Erin Foley
HottyToddy’s Fashion Contributor
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first column about Ole Miss fashion by Erin Foley, a freshman at Ole Miss from the Boston area. She is a double major in Integrated Marketing Communications, specializing in Fashion Promotion and Media, and in Journalism, with an emphasis in Visual Journalism. She also is a double minor in Classics and General Business. Her column will appear biweekly on HottyToddy.com.
Having come to Ole Miss from the suburbs of Boston, I bring a different perspective on a lot of things, but especially daily fashion.
I do have family that attended Ole Miss, so I’ve been coming to one game a year since I was about 14 years old. Still, I still feel overwhelmed by game day in The Grove and all that it has to offer.
Where I’m from, we normally wear casual clothes with the team logo to show our support. I learned quickly, however, that things are done very differently in The Grove.
Women, and men, go all out for their outfits and always look their best, but nowhere is there a set of “rules” for Grove fashion. If it weren’t for my older sisters, who also go to Ole Miss, I would have never known much about the fashion scene at The Grove.
Now that I’m here, I set out to learn the Do’s and Don’ts of Grove Fashion by surveying about two dozen students. What I found is that while there are no formal rules, 91% agree that there is an unspoken set of Grove fashion standards.
No. 1, most agreed, was: Dress up.
When asked what they recommended people wear in The Grove, they had various responses, such as:
- Classy clothing
- Khakis and a nice Ole Miss polo for men
- Dress, romper or skirt for women
- Clothing appropriate to the weather
Respondents also commented on what not to wear to The Grove:
- Expensive shoes, most people find they get ruined quickly
- Most jeans or all jean shorts
- Other school attire
Lucy Cavett, editor-in-chief of Square Magazine, an Ole Miss fashion magazine, had this take: “Honestly, I think people should wear something that makes them feel like themselves. My go-to for the warmer games is either a dress with sneakers or a top with dressy shorts and booties.
“When it gets a bit chilly, I swap the top with a sweater and add layers. Collars are definitely in this year, and I am excited to see how people will style them all season.”
During this year’s game day against Tulane, rain began to pour right before kickoff. Everyone seemed to know that it would rain, and yet I barely saw anyone in rain boots or weather-appropriate attire. Even my three friends and I all wore dresses and carried around ponchos until it started raining, so I think it is fair to say nothing will stop Grove fashion.
Another big tradition in The Grove is to wear game day colors. Each year, Ole Miss designates a color to wear to each game so the fans look unified in the stadium. In my survey, 91% said they follow game day colors. Most said it doesn’t matter too much, but it unifies Ole Miss fans and shows team spirit.
I’m sure there are many other unspoken rules of Ole Miss tailgating, but now that we’ve researched the rules, I found myself asking, Why this is the tradition?
Carleigh Holt, a senior and fellow columnist at HottyToddy.com, told me: “Ole Miss students do not dress up for other sports nearly as much. I think it’s the atmosphere of the Grove. The Grove is a whole experience as it has been called the No. 1 place to be on college football days.”
Everyone should experience The Grove at least once in their lifetime. It’s not just an opportunity to dress up but also a time to meet new people, see old friends, eat great food, support the Rebels and show off personality.
“On game days,” said Cavett of Square Magazine, “I will see so many looks I love, but each is their own. What I love about Oxford is that you really can express yourself through fashion however you want. In a Southern town that can be hard to come by.”