This semester, the Vanderbilt community has been witness to the decline of the once ubiquitous black-sundress-and-cowboy-boots pairing. Now, you have no reason to look at your closet and say you have nothing to wear. Vanderbilt’s fashion horizons have expanded, and anything goes.

This past week, I made the trip out to Opry Mills Mall to see what tailgate-worthy fashions it offers.

For those who prefer a more sporty look, check out Champs, Finish Line and Foot Locker for stylish sneakers to match your cheerleader skirt. Or, if you need new frat shoes for this year, Opry Mills also has a New Balance Factory Store, Nike Factory Store and Converse.

I spotted a cute pleather and mesh bomber jacket at Windsor, which would pair well with a tee-turned bandeau and virtually any type of black or gold bottoms. And at Saks Off 5th, I found an embellished satin bomber jacket that would elevate any outfit, a black knit crop with edgy grommet detailing and a fierce black denim jacket.

A tailgate shoe option from Finish Line

Don’t feel like going too out-of-the-box? There are black lace rompers, gold sequined dresses, burnout velvet shifts, corset-waist knits, cold-shoulder jumpsuits and ruffle sleeve blouses at Francesca’s.

Or go back to the basics—there are plenty of black sundress options from J. Crew Factory, Dress Barn, Rue 21 and more. Don’t own cowboy boots? Complete your Vanderbilt rite of passage and shop at 50 East Shoes or Boot Barn.


But for the fashion-forward, the true gems of Opry Mills are Windsor and Saks Off 5th. Windsor took home the award for most trendy pieces while Saks Off 5th wins for most diverse options. Pair Windsor’s sparkly gold or bronze bodysuits with a black pleather moto skirt (or if it’s cold, black pleather pants with laced-up sides) from Saks Off 5th. Or substitute the bodysuits for a mesh gold long sleeve crop with gorgeous embellishments or a black mock-neck crochet bell-sleeve top from Windsor. Pick up a cute gingham romper at Saks Off 5th, or for a warmer getup, wear this Karl Lagerfeld sheer floral jacket over a Vanderbilt t-shirt bandeau and high-waisted skirt.

By the end of the day, I found my tailgate outfit at Saks Off 5th: a v-neck crochet yellow dress with a T-strap back by Free People. Though pleased to have found the perfect look for Saturday, I was frustrated by how much time I’d spent at the mall instead of being productive. Maybe I would have done it all again had I been a Commodore with a car, but for the average Vandy student with not enough time and too much work to do, perhaps check out the shopping areas closer to campus like Hillsboro Village, Green Hills or even by Belmont.

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