What to wear to a basketball game? Fashion people are stereotyped as being more interested in the latest controversial runway trend than sports. I grew up as an overly dedicated football fan, so for me, that isn’t necessarily true. If you’re a person who loves fashion and sports, I can guess that you already know the thrill of getting dressed up to go to a basketball game.
Contrary to sporting events where the stars hide in private boxes, the best part of an NBA game is seeing your favorite celebrities front and center. Since they’re wildly on display when seated courtside, celebrities tend to arrive dressed to impress, which always inspires me to do the same.
In 2023, I want to do more activities in New York City, so I decided that a trip to Barclays Center is definitely on my to-do list. As I start to think about what I’ll wear to this exciting event, I’m browsing my favorite celebrity courtside moments. Below, find seven potential outfits to choose from.
Forget Fashion Week or the red carpet — it’s courtside at a basketball game where we tend to spot the most exciting celebrity outfits. Actresses, musical artists, and models seem to show up and show out while getting a front-row seat to all the action, proving that printed unitards, knee-high boots, micro mini skirts, and statement coats are all a go for these sporting events.
Still, deciding what to wear to a basketball game — be it a local gathering or the NBA playoffs — can be tricky, even with all that inspiration. That’s why, when picking out your own look, you should start by deciding how elaborate you want to get. You could opt to go full athleisure in an oversized hoodie and Nike Dunk Lows, or show some skin in a tailored suit, just like Megan Fox.
1. Basketball Game Tops
When you’re headed to a basketball game and you want to keep your look cool and casual, build your outfit around a playful statement top. Look for Nike T-shirt styles in fun colors, unusual prints, or with splashy graphics. If you’re planning to do lots of cheering from the sidelines, you’ll want a tee that can handle a few rounds of the wave.
2. Nike Team Merch
What do you wear to a basketball game when it’s your favorite team suiting up? Nothing shows your pride better than merch celebrating your hometown club. A jersey is the go-to choice, but there are plenty of hats, sweatshirts, and tees that will also shout who you root for without you saying a word.
3. Basketball Game Pants
For game night, comfort is key. Since you’ll be sitting in the stands for a few hours, you need pants that are cozy without feeling too casual. Either track pants or elevated sweats make for an easy addition to an outfit to wear to a basketball game. Since your top will call the shots, try to keep the color of your pants on the neutral side.
4. Basketball Game Jacket
A simple combination of a tee, pants, and sneakers is a great getup for a basketball game. But, when you’re coming in and out of the stadium, you’ll need a jacket that’s cold-proof (basketball is a winter sport, after all). A zip-up basketball jacket is a must-have layering piece that can be kept on in the stadium. Alternatively, fleece and fur are playful textures to try, as well.
5. Nike Dresses
If you’re looking to forgo your go-to pants-and-tee combination, try a dress as an alternative — especially if you’re heading to the game for a special celebration. Walking up and down the stadium stairs means you’ll likely still want to stick with sneakers as choice shoes. But, a Nike Sportswear bodycon dress or a cut-out style like from Nike’s collaboration with Jacquemus will play nicely with your favorite kicks.
6. Basketball Game Sneakers
As for sneakers, what should you wear to a basketball game? Styles designed in collaboration with players, like the LeBron Witness 7, are an easy choice. But, if repping the sport head-to-toe is a bit too on-the-nose for you, try a standout style like a bold Air Force 1.
7. Basketball Game Accessories
An outfit to wear to a basketball game isn’t complete without accessories. Since many stadiums don’t allow bigger bags, try a crossbody or small fanny pack for taking inside with you.
A beanie or bucket hat can act as the finishing touch to your game-day look. Or if you have long hair, try tying it up with a bow for a unique twist on a sporty pony.
8. Keep Things Coordinated
Game night is the perfect excuse to twin with your pals or significant other. Don’t overthink it and instead, keep both parties satisfied with sports jerseys, athleisure tracksuits, or black and white ensembles.
9. Consider Your Coat
Basketball season begins during fall and ends in spring — meaning your coat may very well be part of your game day look. For a more uniform vibe, coordinate your top layer with the rest of your outfit, or use it as a way to add a colorful pop. Adele definitely got the cool coat memo here, keeping things monochromatic by wearing a brown Louis Vuitton monogram coat over her walnut leather suit.
10. Be Bright and Bold
The focus may be on the players, but it’s totally fine to steal some of that spotlight from your own seat, too. In that case, incorporate sparkle or embellishments into your outfit, much like how Saweetie dazzled in floral bomber jacket. Worried it’s too much? Light wash jeans and a sports cap will prevent things from feeling over-the-top.
11. Make It Minimalistic
One outfit idea that strikes the perfect balance between fancy and laid-back is a solid tank dress paired with a bomber jacket. Jordyn Woods spiced up her own variation with bow-embellished heels, but sneakers or slides complement this combo, too.
12. Get a Set
A bunch of our fashion dilemmas have been solved by co-ords, so it’s no surprise they’re also a great solution for what to wear to a basketball game. This pre-made ensemble makes things especially easy if you’re coming from work or heading out after the event, so slip it on with heels, like Gabrielle Union, ballet flats, or sneakers, before swinging on a denim jacket.
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