I’m gonna preface this by reminding all of you women out there that it is not your job, duty, or obligation to look cute if you’re going to watch a sporting event. You’re not the window dressing – you get to look however the heck you want. Your job as a fan is to be a fan, period, end of story.
That being said – if you want to show your love for your team or your sport while looking as adorable as I firmly believe you all are, it’s probably not a surprise to you that options are often limited for lady-shaped individuals. Many of you who I’ve informally polled about this have taken to DIYing men’s gear or kids’ gear to make something that suits you, which is pretty cool and something we’ll definitely cover at some point. But say you don’t have the time or the skills to DIY something. Or say, for the sake of argument, that you are on Team Too Lazy To Go Buy Sewing Scissors. (I fly the flag for that team, folks.)
Well, never fear. We’ve selected some awesome lady fan gear that you, lady-shaped fan, can purchase through simple exchange of currency for goods. I’ve divided this run-through of fan gear by type of gear rather than by team or sport, but we’ll look at gear from a wide variety of sports both niche and mainstream.
A final note – you all already know this, but not all of this gear will work for every woman-shaped body, because women come in a whole gorgeous array of shapes and sizes. What fits one size 14 may not fit another, and what looks way cool on a short girl will look very different on a tall one. I’ve done my best to include a wide variety of items that will allow you to rep your sport or team whatever fantastic way your body is put together, but with all things YMMV. And if you have suggestions for other things, please drop them in the comments!
LookHuman has lots of great, non-team-specific shirts for sports-loving women. This one is a favorite, as racerback tanks tend to be my summer and/or workout shirt of choice. They’ve also got some great shirts for other sports, too, like baseball:
If you’re a fan of a niche sport, there’s almost always a specialty store out there that sells jerseys, either national or league. If you live in the US but you find yourself in need of USA Rugby gear to support our Eagles at the World Cup this year, World Rugby Shop has some very cool stuff, including jerseys massively on sale right now:
As well as sweatshirts, my favorite of which is this beaut:
Getting more team-specific, Nike makes some great, simple team logo t-shirts for NFL teams. And best of all, these woman-cut tees range in size from XS to 3XL. So if you’re like me and woman-cut tees are the ones that look best on you, you’re good to go whether you’re a size 4 or a size 24. Plus, the Nike t-shirt material isn’t that thin stuff that a lot of women’s tees are made of – it’s something you can actually wear by itself without having to wear a cami under it for fear of it being see-through. Here’s the one for my preferred NFL team, the Colts:
Most of you are probably already aware of the PINK by Victoria’s Secret collaboration with a variety of American colleges and universities. These do not come in a wide variety of sizes – usually they’re just available up to a size L (10-12) or XL (12-14) and tend toward the sparkly. That being said – in recent years they’ve done a much better job of giving a variety – not only sparkly, not only flimsy tank tops. They also have a collaboration with Major League Baseball that, if I had a baseball team I supported, I would totally take advantage of. This baseball shirt, for example, looks cute and comfy with nary a swarovski crystal to be found:
“But Eliza!” I hear you say. “I like sparkle!”
You know what? Shine on, you beautiful sports-loving diamond. We got you covered:
Note that not every style is available for every team and every size. BUT if you can hit on the right combination, you’ll come out with something pretty cute. They’re also starting a collaboration with the NFL just in time for the season in the fall, so look out for that.
I’m sure you’ve probably investigated your team’s online store at this point, but one thing many people may overlook is that a lot of independent designers from a variety of sports-loving cities are creating some super cool stuff for their city’s teams. Chicago is pretty darn lucky in that regard. A few awesome examples from Chicago sports include this t-shirt with original Blackhawks alt-logo by the fantastic Kat of @RunsOnDuncan:
Chitown Clothing has some great shirts in both men’s and women’s sizes – though frankly not enough women’s sizes. Still, if you’re one of the women-shaped people who prefers mens-cut – excuse me, “unisex” – tees, you’ve got a cool selection here.
Okay, I’ll be frank – most of your options for bottoms are gonna be not super great. If you’re a size 0-10 and you’re wanting undies or a fan-branded bikini, you’ll generally find those in your team’s online store, like this one for Seahawks fans:
Or these undies from the Liverpool FC store:
These are not the kind of things that tend to be sold anywhere but online team shops, and – in general – tend to be in sizes up to about a US 12 or 14, after which you’re out of luck if you want stuff specifically designed for women.
That being said – if you’re wearing team-branded bottoms, you’re probably wearing sweatpants. And there are some seriously cool team-branded sweatpants out there that are supposedly “mens” that are definitely worth grabbing. They tend to last forever and they usually go in sizes through Men’s 3XL.
Mitchell & Ness, purveyor of vintagey style team-branded clothes, has some great sweats for NFL, NBA, and NHL teams:
(These Denver Broncos sweats look mighty comfy, like something I’d steal from a boyfriend or girlfriend and never ever give back.)
Generally the larger Premier League teams have great online stores, so if you’re a fan of those and you haven’t checked out your team’s online store recently, spend a little bit poking around to see what they’ve got. LFC’s online store is AMAZING, but Chelsea’s does okay:
(I’m sorry, but you couldn’t pay me to get the Manchester United store into my browser history. You’ll have to go do that yourself.)
Beyond shirts, this is probably my favorite way to show my team allegiance. I have definitely gone crazy painting my nails for the Stanley Cup Playoffs before, and I have a Colts bottle opener keyring that has made me simultaneously the hero and the villain in Louisiana – Saints territory – when tailgating. You can go as subtle with you want with accessories, or you can go crazy. And best of all, there are no size or fit issues to worry about. The iPhone case you just bought isn’t gonna ride up over your hips or sag around your shoulders.
Nails are a great way to show off your team affiliation if you work somewhere that lets you have funky nails. More and more workplaces are down with this in recent years. Here’s an example – my nails from the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run in 2013:
Sensing a trend, a few teams or leagues have actually launched branded nail polish, like this Blackhawks polish (apparently) from the NHL:
If you’re not coordinated enough with your hands to do nail art for yourself, Jamberry nail wraps are an awesome alternative. They’re kind of stupidly easy to apply and they don’t involve waiting around for your hands to dry before you can do stuff. Jamberry has a lot of awesome college-related prints. My SEC tailgating ladies when I lived in Baton Rouge, home of LSU, were all over these during football season:
They’re a bit spendy, but they come quite a few to a pack and they last on your nails for ages, kinda like a Shellac manicure. Worth it!
As much as I wish I could pull off a snapback with all the panache of Hillary Knight, I’m not that cool. A little bit easier for me – and warmer in the winter – is the beanie, and I absolutely adore this one from the Indiana Pacers:
If you’re not all about the pom poms on top of the hat, well, I disagree with you but I respect your decision. Beanies without pom poms look pretty cool too, especially on us long-haired ladies. Many a brasileira has come to the US, realized it’s way too cold, and grabbed one of these:
My final favorite way to accessorize is the classic soccer scarf, which has thankfully spread beyond soccer. Are you an American football fan? Check your team’s store. This was my favorite of the Colts’ offerings:
As you’d expect from a cold-weather sport, the NHL has quite a few:
For MLS, if you’re a supporter and you haven’t met up with your supporters’ group for your team, you should if for no other reason than they usually have some awesome merch. Scarves are the best example of this – for example, Centennial 38, the supporters group for my local Colorado Rapids, has a really cool scarf with a giant Pablo Mastroeni mustache on one side. Pretty neat! It’s usually not available online, though, so let this be your excuse to go to a supporters’ group event and actually talk to people who like the same team you do. Wear your gear, know that you’re welcome, and enjoy being with your people.
Because that’s really what all of this is about – when you wear your fan gear, you mark yourself as someone who loves a team or a sport, who’s excited and proud to be a part of a fan community. And isn’t that what we’re here for?