By the numbers, Carolina Panthers jerseys or team T-shirts and jeans are the clear winners at Bank of America Stadium on game days.
But take a hard look in the right places, and you can see actual fashion taking place.
High couture? No. But some female fans are donning their teal and black in stylish ways, whether it’s layering a colorful fitted blazer on top of a team tee, or pairing a contrasting scarf and burnout tee with their favorite jersey.
Earlier this month, Bank of America Stadium hosted the NFL Style Lounge, a pop-up boutique that stops in a different stadium each week to appeal to female fans who care about fashion. The Style Lounge wares, most of which are also available through nflshop.com and at the stadium store, range from silver bikinis with teal accents to Panthers UGG-type boots.
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(In case you’re wondering, the Style Lounges launched in 2012, before the recent rash of domestic violence and child abuse charges led to concerns that the league was alienating its female fan base.)
Charlotte stylist Erica Hanks was commissioned to style eight mannequins for the Style Lounge using Panthers fan-wear. Hanks mixed team tees, jerseys and sweatshirts and hats with statement necklaces, leather skirts, sequined tanks and even a black ballgown skirt to create looks ranging from sporty to glam. Supporting pieces came from local high-end stores including Poole Shop, ChezElle, Coral, Monkee’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
“This shows that sports style doesn’t have to be jeans and a T-shirt,” Hanks said. “Dress to your personality. Look in your closet – you have a ton that goes with Panther blue.”
At one side of the Style Lounge, sisters and shoe designers Kathleen and Kristina Cuce of Virginia Beach, Va., chatted with customers about their $125 Panthers black UGG-style faux fur and microfiber boots. The sisters became licensed four years ago to design shoes for the NFL, when they noticed a gap in the market.
“Women love football, and women love shoes,” Kathleen Cuce said.
At the Style Lounge, Jennifer Siebenaler’s eyes lit up when she spotted the Carolina Panthers long-sleeve tee with black sequin-bedazzled sleeves. A PSL-owner, she lamented the state of her game-day wardrobe.
“My brother bought me a Cam Newton jersey, but it’s like a tent,” she said, “so I tie it back with a ponytail holder.”