Analyzing trends in the Wake Forest student section
We have all heard about the epic highs and lows of high school football. But in college, football becomes an atmosphere full of high-top sneakers and low-rise jeans. I am, indeed, talking about college football gameday fashion — particularly the outfits of our own student body.
At Wake Forest, students love repping the iconic gold and black. But let’s be real, gold and black are relatively basic colors that lack the vibrancy of Clemson’s Orange or LSU’s purple. I have to admit, I am guilty of choosing to wear colors and outfits that satisfy my current mood rather than outfits that exude school spirit. And by the looks of it, I’m not alone in my choices. I can’t help but notice that our color scheme rarely takes a noticeable role in the stands.
I am not saying all Wake Forest students don’t wear school colors, because some do. Common gameday colors will include black, gold, yellow, white and the occasional patterned mix of all aforementioned colors for many Wake Forest students. Yet, the visual impact of Wake Forest’s student section is faint in comparison to that of state schools like the University of Michigan or Indiana University. At Wake Forest, gameday student sections always boast a multitude of colors, but these hues tend to blur together and fail to explicitly express a sense of unified Deacon pride. School spirit, in general, is rather underwhelming — except for the Deacs who rep the iconic gold and black striped overalls to each gameday and the Clemson blackout game.
That’s not to say that the outfits in the stands aren’t impressive and eye-catching (the striped-overall outfits are visually bold, memorable and my personal favorite) it’s simply that Wake Forest fashion maintains a greater degree of stylistic individuality. And for that reason, I enjoy witnessing the gameday outfits of Wake Forest students because they aren’t afraid to put fashion first.
So what do Wake students wear? For girls, it includes either a dress or skirt, some sort of cropped or ruched top and, most importantly, cowgirl boots. For boys, there’s the classic golf polo and khaki shorts combo. You can’t go wrong with either of these classic outfits. They’re functional, reliable, and ideal for navigating the tailgate and repping school spirit from the stadium seats.
I have heard many complaints about how all students dress the “same” at Wake Forest when they wear the classic gameday outfit. But if you look closely, they are all unique in their own respects. Ironically, there is only one problem with these outfits, which is that no one bothers to look closely enough. The whole idea of gameday fashion is to observe the unity of the crowd. And that’s how I believe the Wake Forest community could improve itself — by repping fashion designed to impress viewers from a distance. Sacrificing some individuality has the potential to implement a visual impact on game days.
I truly adored the game against Clemson for its sense of otherworldly harmony in the crowd (I admit I am a hypocrite for saying this because I did in fact wear an orange, tiger-striped dress). This was the first time I truly felt overcome by the strength of the Wake Forest community — united in both spirit and color — against an opponent. It was powerful. The students asserted a visual dominance while Clemson fans were overshadowed by Deacon pride — and rightfully so.
So, where do our fashion outliers make their mark? Primarily in color choice! I have attached a few paparazzi shots of Demon Deacons with exceptional outfits, and the one factor uniting all of them is their unapologetically bold colors. For me, wearing neon green and pink always works to make a visual statement. In the case of the Clemson game, wearing an orange, tiger-striped dress in the sea of assorted black outfits definitely drew a couple of (rather judgmental and confused) stares. Color coordination coupled with an outfit that stylistically differs from the classic gameday outfit always turns heads.
Although I seem to indicate otherwise, I feel the need to stress that monochrome unity is not essential. If the Wake Forest community can create a powerful visual impact — even without repping the trademark school colors — then it will succeed as a spirit base. The hard part is figuring out just how to do just that — and to also inform the several thousand students attending the game to cross-coordinate their outfits with one another. Is it possible? Maybe! Is it probable? Maybe not – but I am an optimist. Perhaps if someone Fizzed about dress code ideas before the next gameday, we would have better luck coordinating fashion in the forest. Until then, we Deacs will keep on repping our school pride in our own individual ways.