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How Taylor Swift’s chic football game fashion has shaped sports for good

There’s no escaping Taylor Swift and her undeniable success in the entertainment industry. The ongoing publicity surrounding the pop star has even intercepted the sports world due to her new relationship with NFL star Travis Kelce. Whether she’s just watching a game from a VIP box or walking backstage with her boyfriend after the event, there’s one thing about Swift that continues to stand out: her game-day style.

The “Anti-Hero” singer has been deemed something of a style icon over the years, from her glamorous red carpet looks to her iconic red lipstick. Unsurprisingly, fans have rushed to embody her looks; small business Little Lies even sold out of its velvet green dress after Swift wore it while getting dinner with pal Blake Lively in New York City.

Swift has also gone viral for the football-themed fashion she’s worn while supporting her boyfriend’s career. Since she began dating Kelce in September 2023, Swift has attended 12 Kansas City Chiefs games – where she’s sat in the Kelce family suite with the NFL star’s parents, Donna and Ed. Now, Swifties are speculating she’ll make her way to the 2024 Super Bowl on Sunday 11 February, where the Chiefs will play against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas, Nevada – only one day after her Eras Tour concert in Tokyo, Japan.

When it comes to her game-day fashion, Swift has never gone for simple. Instead of a basic jersey with “Chiefs” emblazoned across it, Swift has brought a bit of glitz and glamour to each windbreaker and black mini skirt she wears. Given that everything she does makes headlines, could Swift be the one who encourages sports fans to evolve and embrace elegant but casual outfits in the stadium?

Speaking to The Independent, Grace Thomas – a stylist of 15 years who’s worked closely with professional athletes – acknowledged that our senses of style are often inspired by celebrities we admire most. Websites like Star Style, which lists the exact brands and clothing items worn by celebrities, exist solely to help us follow in their footsteps. The ability to replicate a look, like ones worn by pop icon Swift, is also thanks to social media in general – as fans were quick to discover that her velvet green dress only cost $75 from Little Lies.

“Immediately after Taylor wears something, someone is out there scouring to see every brand that she has on,” Thomas said. “I think it’s become a lot more accessible for people to actually recreate looks that they’re really inspired by, or be able to actually purchase some of the pieces too. I think celebrities have decided to wear more up-and-coming brands that might be lower price points, like mix and match that with the high-end products.”

Although we’ll never be able to replicate the same fashion budget as the “Cruel Summer” singer who has an estimated net worth of more than $1bn there are still inexpensive opportunities to recreate her looks. Swifties continue to obsess over the singer’s signature red lipstick, which noticeably remained intact when she kissed Kelce on the football field after the Chiefs won the AFC Championship game. While it’s unclear if she uses the exact same lipstick shade everytime she leaves the house, makeup artist Pat McGrath revealed Swift’s go-to shade is the Legendary Wear Lipstick in Elson 4 from Pat McGrath Labs, which only costs $34.

While attending the AFC championship, Swift opted for a cosy red sweater retailing at the hefty price of $695 from Gigi Hadid’s Guest in Residence line. Her approach to fashion extends outside the stadium too, as Swift paired her viral green dress in January with $2,450 knee-high boots from Jimmy Choo. Speaking to The Independent, Los Angeles-based stylist Shea Daspin acknowledged that while Swift is doing normal activities, such as going out to dinner and attending football games, her everyday style has always been extravagant.

“She always wears the red lip which conveniently matches the red and the jerseys. But the thing is, she’ll wear a sweatshirt that says ‘Chiefs’ on it, but will mix it with Louis Vuitton shoes or Messika jewellery that costs, like, $8,000. If you look at the details of her outfits, it’s crazy expensive,” Daspin explained. “She looks like the girl next door, but when you look a little bit closer, you’re like: ‘Oh no, that’s the really rich girl next door.’”

Her 12 game-day outfits – each one representing the Chiefs’ red, gold and white colours – have all varied. When she first publicly supported her boyfriend at Arrowhead Stadium in September 2023, she opted for a simple look: a red Chiefs windbreaker, a white tank top, and red lipstick. Since then, her outfits have ranged from a Chiefs sweater with a black mini skirt, to a replica of Kelce’s black and white Chiefs jacket, to a vintage black and red Chiefs sweater from the 90s. Last December, she wore a puffy red and white Chiefs jacket with her boyfriend’s name and jersey number, 87, across it, which was custom-made by the wife of San Francisco 49ers player Kyle Juszczyk, Kristin Juszczyk. Days after Swift wore the now-viral jacket, the designer received a licencing deal with the NFL.

According to Amsterdam-based data analyst Molly Rooyakkers – who runs the Instagram account Style Analytics, which covers data-driven fashion insights – other wives and girlfriends of NFL stars have taken on elegant looks in sports stadiums. Patrick Mahomes’ wife Brittany Mahomes even wore her own custom puffer jacket in December, while influencer Alix Earle – who’s dating Miami Dolphins star Braxton Berrios – frequently styles her football-themed jacket with a skirt, tights, or a headband.

“We see these beautiful women who are wearing the merch, but then also with slicked back buns and their Cartier bracelets, and their makeup beautifully done. I haven’t really seen that level of glam be taken on outside of the WAG community,” Rooyakkers explained, using a term that describes the wives and significant others of professional athletes.

Before there was Taylor Swift at NFL events there was Victoria Beckham, who constantly attended husband David Beckham’s soccer games throughout the 90s. According to Daspin, Victoria was one of the first notable faces to delve into an era of embracing her own fashion sense at sports games. The Spice Girls singer supported her husband even amid claims that she was a distraction from the game, which the couple addressed in their 2023 Netflix documentary, The Beckhams.

“Victoria though always stayed chic. She would have a little bit of a sporty element, but she was Posh Spice,” the stylist explained. “She would do a sportier shirt, tiny little shorts or something, but she also wasn’t very well-liked at the time. She would just kind of dress in the spirit, but with nothing over the top, while still wearing her big sunglasses.”

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With the help of Swift’s now-viral looks, fans may be inspired to embrace a variety of outfits for game days. Although some football fans are annoyed over how often the NFL is discussing Swift, that’s not the case for Swifties, or those who only watch the games because their partners enjoy them. Thomas described how women could go about replicating Swift’s football-themed outfits, essentially giving themselves a place in the sports world.

“I think people are gonna be more excited to try to dress up for sports-related events or even make their own gear, like Kristin Juszczyk,” she said. “There could be more girls probably out there that are like: ‘Okay, I’m gonna make my own jerseys.’ I could really see an influence of that, with more small businesses out there starting to cut and sew a lot of jerseys and that kind of stuff to build their own brands.”

Brands have already begun selling Swift and Kelce-themed clothing. TrendyFamousHub, a small business on Etsy, offers a hoodie that reads, “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs,” referencing the singer changing the lyrics of her song during a concert to reflect her relationship. With the Super Bowl fast approaching, Daspin believes that Swifties will not only buy this type of merchandise but also purchase more football-related accessories. “They will buy them and wear them,” she said. “I’ve seen more football pendant necklaces and game day earrings showing up. All these details are really becoming popular, just because this superstar has entered the arena.”

The combination of sports and fashion extends beyond Swift. In 2022, social media users were leaning into the “blokecore” trend, the combination of European football and fashion. At the time, TikTok user Brandon Huntley went viral when he posted a video of himself in a soccer jersey and jeans, along with the text, “Hottest trend of  2022: Blokecore.” This style didn’t necessarily originate on TikTok, considering a popular 90s hip-hop fashion trend involved fitted basketball and baseball jerseys. However, many celebrities have recently styled outfits with a sports jersey, such as Kim Kardashian, who was spotted wearing a vintage AS Roma soccer club jersey and black shorts in January last year.

As Swift’s interest in sports-related apparel has continued to grow, she isn’t trying to reiterate “blokecore”. In fact, Rooyakkers noted that instead of replicating a trend, the “All Too Well” singer is simply reshaping her own look at football games. “It’s not just taking a vintage soccer jersey. It’s having these beautiful, customised jackets and these fashionable pieces with NFL logos on them. I think Taylor’s style is quite separate from blokecore, but the trajectory of these trends are quite similar,” she said.

(Getty Images)

As new styles and fashion trends continue to rise in popularity, it’s important to give credit where it’s due. Who’s to say that she won’t stun in an outfit from a small business during her potential appearance on Super Bowl Sunday? By being candid about her fashion sense, Swift can continue to shape the new and chic style of female sports fans, while helping up-and-coming designers in the process.

“She’s leaned into saying who her inspirations are, and she’s not trying to take that away from anybody. Of course, who she’s buying from, she could maybe represent those Black brands a little bit better,” Thomas said. “I hope that she does do that as this continues, to try to get that visibility to those creators because she has such a big spotlight.

“That’s something a celebrity can do is give these people a moment to shine, which I think is really important to do when you have that big of a spotlight.”

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