As music blasted through speakers in the trunk of a crossover SUV, scores of students tossed footballs and played cornhole in parking lots outside of Heinz Field Saturday before the football team’s game against Rice University.
Students wearing blue-and-gold hoodies and knit Pitt beanies danced to the music and took part in the fun outdoor games, enjoying the fall weather that had finally arrived after weeks of heat. Other students used this tailgate as an opportunity to show off their fashion sense while also hailing to Pitt.
Alexander Keller, sophomore politics and philosophy student, took full advantage of the cool weather. He dressed for the occasion in a thick navy blue sweater with a knitted gold “P” on the front — a bit reminiscent of the sweaters worn by the Weasley family in the “Harry Potter” films.
“I love the traditional Ivy league, pretentious fashion, and I wish more people would wear sweaters like this,” Keller said.
Keller’s sweater can run for $85 on Hillflint’s website. It would make a great gift for a Panther who has a strong sense of style, but the price tag might turn away the average college student.
In an effort to save money, plenty of students at the tailgate took to some more inexpensive options for their football fashion. Senior emergency medicine major Sam Antoon displayed his vintage-style Pitt varsity jacket while tossing a football and dancing around the tailgate. It was a vibrant shade of navy blue with deep gold details and a patch on the right side of the chest with a fierce-looking golden panther. Antoon purchased his jacket from eBay for an affordable $36.
“This jacket is used, but I love it,” Antoon said. “It was cheap, but it had a slightly strange smell to it when I got it.”
While there are four stores on campus for buying Pitt gear — the University Store on Fifth, the Pitt Shop on Forbes under McCormick Hall, the Pittsburgh Panthers Team Store in the Petersen Events Center and the street vendor on the corner of Forbes and Bigelow, known as the Pittsburgh Stop Inc. — some students search for better deals.
One cost-effective approach to game day fashion some students take is to simply make the clothes. DIY clothing is prominent in the Panther Pitt on an average game day — students can be spotted wearing a T-shirt trimmed into a tank top or hemmed to a crop top.
Roommates sophomore anthropology major Julia Sjodahl and sophomore pre-medicine student Dominic Hendrickson took this trend to a new level. Hendrickson bleach-dyed some Pitt shirts he and his roommate already owned to show off their Pitt pride with a fun, cheap twist.
“I love this idea because a lot of the shirts are free from different events on campus,” Sjodahl said. “We get to wear something we like that can show our style while still supporting Pitt and saving money.”
Sjodahl wore a cropped and dyed shirt advertising Pitt’s Outside the Classroom Curriculum program. She found YouTube has plenty of ideas for DIY T-shirt fashion.
Hendrickson went for a similar style with a classic navy blue Pitt T-shirt, bleach-dyed for a blue and gold tie-dye effect. He paired his look with an ensemble of blue jeans and a denim jacket.
“I love the denim on denim trend right now,” he said. “I saw some students at the last tailgate with dyed shirts, and I thought it was a great idea! It’s so much fun to cut and dye the shirts, and it‘s a great way to express yourself. This one goes great with my denim style, too.”
Gabrielle Goodman, an undecided sophomore, took a different direction with her T-shirt. Her gold shirt was cut into a halter top, tied in the back like the top of a bikini. Pairing her chopped tee with a long black cardigan, Goodman was prepared to cheer on the Panthers in the cool fall weather.
“There’s so many different ways to cut a T-shirt! This one was cool because I cut the sleeves and the entire back off and took some off the bottom,” she said.
Some students decided against wearing school colors and instead opted for outfits of sentimental value. Clad not in blue or gold script, sophomore Spanish major Jaya Mills wore a pair of overalls. While Mills’ fashion choice may have seemed out of place to other fans, it made sense for her.
“These were my mom’s when she went to Pitt,” Mills said. “I think it’s really cool for me to wear them to events like this and think about her wearing them when she was my age.”
Whether students choose to wear an expensive, fashionable sweater, a stylishly chopped up T-shirt, a family heirloom or a vintage jacket, Saturdays at Heinz Field often turn into a Pitt pride fashion show. Showing of individual fashion also give students something else to look forward to on Saturdays.
“I’ve been waiting for a cold day like this,” Keller said. “I haven’t been to a tailgate yet because I thought it wasn’t worth it until I could wear this sweater.”