Being a sports fan as a woman isn’t always easy. Announcing you like any particular team or player all too often prompts some guy (because, let’s be honest, it is always a man) to demand you prove your fandom by giving the first, last and middle names of five current team members or listing every championship game the team has ever won or correctly identifying the blood type of the assistant coach for the 1997 Green Bay Packers. And that announcement doesn’t even need to be verbal—simply wearing a jersey or beanie is often enough to provoke the “true” fans of the sport. But I sense that there may be a change in the air thanks in no small part to Taylor Swift and Simone Biles.
Taylor Swift and Simone Biles Have Mastered the Art of Sideline Dressing—and It’s Kicking Off a Much Larger Trend for Women Sports Fans
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The two A-list superstars have been getting a flurry of attention for showing up at games to support their NFL-player partners and have caused a measurable spike in women tuning in to watch the games as well. But it’s not just their attendance that’s causing attention, it’s the fact that both women have consistently showed up decked to the nines in some of the most fashionable and fun sports apparel I’ve seen in years. They aren’t just supporting their partners, they’re supporting their teams—and it’s making it easier for the rest of us to loudly and proudly follow suit. Especially as more brands are discovering that women will gladly spend the money to rep their teams in style.
During the 2023/2024 football season I have received a huge uptick in emails from brands announcing new NFL-themed lines or curated collections in the colors of any given team. We’re talking minimalist knits, chic jewelry, varsity jackets and vintage-inspired sweatshirts. And that’s all before heading over to Etsy and Depop to explore the countless new artisan shops making one-of-a-kind fan pieces. The New York Times recently published an article exploring the rise of vintage sports apparel, linking the phenomenon back to Swift, with fans willing to pay exorbitantly high prices to be able to rep their team without looking like a billboard for the NFL shop. Kristin Juszczyk, the wife of 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk and a self-taught fashion designer, has seen her Instagram following absolutely explode after she made custom puffer coats for both Swift and Biles. It is worth noting that Black women were sporting similarly chic custom sports apparel in the ‘90s and early aughts without the same wave of popularity or mass public support. But I’m grateful that now these young celebrities can use their far-reaching fandoms to help create a safer space for women to rep their teams with the support of other women.
Even though Super Bowl LVIII will likely be the last time we see Taylor Swift overtly repping boyfriend Travis Kelce’s team apparel—at least until fall—I suspect this growing trend is far from over. Next will come the collegiate craze of March Madness, followed by baseball in April. There will come more celebrity girlfriends, wives and even just general fans for us to follow and inspire our game-day apparel. And hopefully the fun of repping your team, however you want, will only grow in popularity, with more options for stylish sports fans to shop and wear on the regular.