Today's Tidbit... Dressing Up for the Queen and Game
I wrote the following with the accompanying image in 2020. Given the news of the Queen’s death, I thought I’d republish it today.
Among the more tribal changes in fan behavior over the last few decades has been the trend of fans dutifully wearing team colors and gear to games. Wearing team colors, especially clothing with team logos and slogans, is now the norm, but it was not always so. Back in the day, it was enough to wear a pin or ribbon with your school colors or a slogan. Men attended games in suits and wore fedoras. Women wore dresses and liked them. (They still do at many Southern schools.)
Fans did not wear team gear in the old days in part because more formal dress was the norm and because team apparel was not available to the general fan. Here and there, team jerseys and other gear could be acquired through the sporting goods shops that supplied college and professional teams with their uniforms. The local stores ordered extra gear, added appropriate numbers and logos, and sold the goods to the public. These unlicensed sales occurred in such low volumes through the 1970s that few teams bothered enforcing their trademarks.
That changed in the early 1980s with the growth of brands such as Nutmeg Mills and Starter. The newly founded Collegiate Licensing Company brokered nonexclusive deals with brands to sell products comparable to those supplied to the teams. Team apparel proved popular with the public, particularly as everyday fashion became more casual.
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