Game time! What do you wear to kids’ sporting events?

Categories: beyond 9 to 5

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J. CrewI am 43. I manage to dress ok for the office but I struggle with the baseball, soccer and hockey games. I feel like I always fall back on jeans and a tee with sneakers. Flip flops when it is warm. Like you said, bleachers are uncomfortable. The weather is also temperamental in the spring on the east coast. Freezing one day, scorching hot the next. I also worry about looking like I tried too hard or didn’t try hard enough.

I am a total Sports Mom. My ten-year-old plays baseball and basketball; my 12-year-old takes kickboxing and mixed martial arts classes. We have some type of class or practice or game virtually every single day.

And I love it.

Getting dressed for all these kid sporting events can be tough, for a lot of reasons: The weather, the bleachers, the other parents. How do you know what’s the right thing to wear to all those games and practices and classes?

Dress for the weather. In Oklahoma, baseball season covers the full range of weather options. Last week, it was 80 degrees at game time; tonight we’ll be lucky if it’s 50. And it is always windy here. For real.

I’m a fan of layers, especially for early morning or late evening games. A tee, a sweater, a jacket — add or subtract as needed. Swap your everyday bag for a simple tote that can hold all those extra layers (and your water bottle and sunscreen and hat and … )

Wear the right shoes. Playing fields can be wet and dirty, and bleachers can be dangerous. Running shoes and flip flops are an easy default, but you can do better. I have a pair of leather driving mocs that I wear for kicking around; they can be wiped clean if I wander into the mud.

Another good option is what we used to call “cute” tennis shoes — the type that aren’t made for actual sports participation but have a sporty look. My favorite option are the Converse Jack Purcell, in leather. Perfect with jeans or shorts and easy to clean.

Be practical. It’s hard enough keeping the team uniforms clean (my son’s baseball and basketball unis can’t go in the dryer, for example) — don’t head to an outdoor game in anything that can’t get a little dirty. You want to watch the game, not worry about your shorts.

Is there anything you should avoid for kid sporting events? Sure. Heels are a bad choice; they stick in grass and slide on hardwood and are a hazard on bleachers. Dresses and skirts are doable, but be careful, especially if you’re hoping to sit down, either in the grass or on the bleachers (no one wants to see your underwear, ladies, especially not your child’s teammates). And anything too short or too tight is just not appropriate around the kids. Save the hot pants and skimpy tanks for … well, never.

Stick with your style. Sometimes the hardest part of kids’ sports can be the other parents. The pressure to fit in can be huge, particularly if you’ll be sharing the bleachers with these parents season after season. But trust me on this: You just need to be yourself. Just because everyone else shows up in sweats and a team logo tee doesn’t mean you have to. Unless you want to, of course. in which case, go for it.

My go-to outfits for sports are pretty basic: Tee or button down with a pullover or cardi (and a jacket, that can go in the washing machine). Shorts, jeans, or skinny pants on the bottom (today, skinny cords). Driving mocs if it’s warm, LL Bean boots if it’s cold or wet. Hat, scarf, gloves as needed. And yes, I’ll wear a baseball cap to a baseball game. Why not?

What’s your go-to kids sports attire?

Photo via J. Crew

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