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Tiger Threads: MU Homecoming history in fashion

Thursday, October 13, 2011 | 4:07 p.m. CDT
1928 These members of the Women’s Athletic Association are wearing the forerunner to the wool and leather letterman jackets we are familiar with today. Underneath the jackets, their formal attire can be seen in the loosely tied women’s neckties and pleated skirts, the typical female fanwear for football in the early 1900s.

Although Tiger spirit has been a constant at MU since the first football team was fielded in 1890, Homecoming fashions have come and gone. From fur-trimmed coats to black and gold body paint, students have sported fashion favorites and faux pas. Laurel Wilson, curator of the MU historic costume and textiles collection, and Gayle Strege, curator of the Ohio State University historic costume and textiles collection, offered their expertise to break down Homecoming attire during the 20th century.

1935 Although the cardigans and full skirts were part of the formal attire, students wore these garments to classes and football games in the ’30s. Women still predominantly wore skirts, and pants were not commonly seen on females until the ’60s. Loose neckties also continued to be fashionable from the late ’20s into the 1930s.
1936 Saddle shoes were originally reserved for sportswear, but much like leggings and tennis shoes, they worked their way into everyday clothing. During the Great Depression, garments reflected the status of individuals. The woman wearing the fur coat was most likely wealthy because not many people wore fur during that time.
1969 Despite the formal feel of these women’s getups, football game attire had become much more casual by the late ’60s. Big corsages were as much a part of the female football fan uniform as an M-emblazoned sweater. Compliments of the doting date, these botanic embellishments sadly fell out of fashion with the rise of casual spirit wear.
1971 Nylon jackets, jeans and long, shaggy hair marked a shift in school and sport fashion. Casual clothes became the norm in the ’70s and stuffy suits were left in the closet for special occasions and funerals.
1989 The casual look was continued throughout the ’80s with jeans, T-shirts and baseball hats constituting the college uniform. This fraternity member’s shirt is a creative spinoff of an athletic jersey. In the last 20 to 30 years, athletes have permeated the celebrity sphere, influencing fashion in the way only movie stars and singers had in years before.
1991 The use of logos and branding gained popularity in the late ’80s after designers such as Jordache, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein began printing symbols and initials on their fashions. This trend trickled its way down to more affordable fashions such as spirit wear.

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