Usually this time of year we are glued to our TVs… just not for coronavirus coverage! We should be pouring over our March Madness bracket, hoping it aligns with this year’s “Cinderella story”. We’d be talking basketball, rooting for our favorites, and proudly wearing our team colors. COVID-19 has radically changed the landscape. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to next year! We could use a bit of distraction amid the chaos and uncertainty, right?
Initially, I thought we’d be doing this WISH-TV segment (embedded below) in the heat of March Madness action. It seemed a perfect time to expand my blog post on elevated collegiate style to include Indiana’s other universities. Instead, we’re adding ideas for Butler and Indiana University fans when there are no spring sports and colleges are shuttered. Kinda ironic…
Does fashion feel a little frivolous right now? You bet. However, I also feel it’s important to keep rooting for my favorite university. We are in unprecedented times. Why not grasp hold of “team” feelings and camaraderie any way we can? As a Purdue employee and one of its assistant cheerleading coaches, I can tell you with certainty, college athletes put their heart and soul into their sports. I have a lot of sympathy for the seniors who’ve had this season ripped away. And as the virus encroaches—we are all feeling the pain.
College administrators, athletic directors, business owners, civic leaders, and health care workers are making gut-wrenching decisions on a daily basis. So, consider this my effort to lighten things up, while paying tribute to Indiana “teams” in the broadest sense of the word: teams of doctors and nurses, teams stocking grocery store shelves, teams of governmental leaders, and the teams who should be playing right now. We might be watching March Madness reruns in our pajamas this year, but we will get through this!
Love your Bulldogs? Our Butler University styles lean on color blocking and classic silhouettes. Color blocking is a clever way inject collegiate pride into the workplace because allows for two dominant colors in one garment! Best of all, you can often find the same dress in multiple color variations. For example, my under $30 Amazon dress (shown above) is available in 5 color ways. The purple/white style would be great for Northwestern fans. [Note: Amazon dresses tend to run a bit smaller than standard department store sizing. Additionally, they rarely have a secondary lining. Size up to avoid an overly “clingy” fit.]
A statement skirt/sweater combo is another playful way to give a nod to Butler University. Olivia (featured below) is modeling one of my favorite looks of the bunch. Olivia is a Purdue cheerleader, so this is probably the only time you’ll spot her outside her “true” colors. But she was willing to help us generate some outfit ideas! The ribbed, bow back sweater makes such a statement. It’s great quality and equally darling re-styled with jeans or a blue pant for more casual affairs. Patterns like stripes, pin dots, plaids, or houndstooth are an excellent way to elevate team colors because they link your target colors in a subtle way. Your outfit is 100 percent “on brand” but doesn’t feel matchy-matchy.
In addition to prints, tweed is an excellent way to incorporate team pride into your workwear. The tassled mini Ally, another Purdue cheerleader, is rocking below is a great example. It has multiple shades of gold, black, and tan. Consequently, it’s super versatile—easy to dress up or down. We have styled it for “date night”. However, with black tights and a more traditional heel, it is office ready. I’ve found tweeds in Purdue, IU, and Butler palettes. It takes some hunting, but they are out there!
For more casual affairs, you can spice up a graphic t-shirt with an unexpected skirt and denim jacket. I love the whimsy tulle skirts provide. Their ultra feminine vibe pairs nicely with the super casual feel of denim. Knotting your t-shirt will help define your shape and avoid an overly boxy fit. You can achieve a similar look pairing an athletic t-shirt with a blazer, jeans, and fun heels.
My outfit below leans on gray, one of Purdue’s secondary colors. Most universities have a secondary color palette. If you are struggling to find clothing in your school’s two primary shades, the secondary palette can be super helpful. During our segment, Sadie Welch – a Purdue cheerleader and Miss UNM Indiana – shared another peek at the look.
Finally, a few options for our Hoosier friends. When you’re searching for a specific team color (e.g. crimson), it’s helpful to keep in mind that a wide range of red tones can accomplish the look when paired with cream. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you think about team colors too literally. For instance, I looked for 2 years before I found Purdue’s “Athletic Gold” in a work appropriate skirt.
The heart print dress Purdue cheer member Kristen is modeling above (under $30 Amazon find) is a pretty close match to Indiana University’s crimson, while Madison’s jumpsuit is a true red. However, pair them with faux leather jacket in cream, and they both “read” IU.