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helmets and heels: where football and fashion collide
story by Audrey Hanes, photo by Amy Long

As the 2014-2015 Arkansas State University football season steadily approaches, a unique football event for women will offer them a way to learn more about the game, the team and the latest Red Wolves fashions.

The third annual Helmets and Heels event, an idea that originally stemmed from St. Bernards Medical Group Executive Director Christina Ryan, will take place later this month. The evening of football and fashion offers women the opportunity to watch a fashion show with many Jonesboro retailers’ latest red and black looks, while at the same time, learn more about the game of
football and the ASU football team coaches and players.

“It’s a great way to expose the women in our community to A-State football,” said Ryan. “They can be a fan at any level and enjoy the event.”

Ryan came up with the idea for Helmets and Heels after attending a women’s football clinic for the Tennessee Titans. The first ASU women’s football clinic incorporated a few vendors and a fashion show and has grown with each consecutive year.

Now known as Helmets and Heels and held at Centennial Hall, the event will begin with an extended shopping time with a vast collection of local vendors. This year’s Helmets and Heels will also feature football 101 from the coaches, and ASU football players will participate in a question and answer panel, model stages of the uniform and sign autographs. There will also be a live auction
and raffle items with all A-State items. The evening will end with a much-anticipated fashion show featuring the latest A-State game day fashions from participating local retailers and boutiques.

“As women, we like to hear stories and get to know our players and coaches,” said Ryan. “This event gives attendees the ability to form a connection with our team and want to cheer them on. We all want our brothers, sons, grandsons, etc., to excel in their sport and to support them. Helmets and Heels gives us an opportunity to get to know the players and coaches as real people and, in turn,
gets us excited about what’s in store for them.”

The third annual Helmets and Heels will take place on July 29 at Centennial Hall in the Arkansas State University Student Union. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for shopping and drinks, followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. For more information or for tickets, which are $40 each or $300 for a table of eight, call 972-2781 or go to tickets.astate.edu.

What is your typical game day attire to cheer on the Red Wolves?
Wendy Anderson: For game day, first I definitely check the weather. Here, I might check it twice; I’ve decided that it’s rather unpredictable in Arkansas. Second, it needs to be comfortable. I tend to walk a lot on those days. And finally, I will be covered in black and red from head to toe. Hopefully pulling off something stylish and fun.

Julie Mohajir: My priorities for gameday style are school colors and comfort. I was raised around college athletics, and even as a child I was always dressed to represent our team. I’m filled with pride every time I see our stadium decked out in red and black to intimidate our opponent. Comfort is also key, so I consider the weather and my ability to jump up and cheer when choosing my attire.

Christina Ryan: Typical game day attire depends on your age. For college students, they are in the latest fashions sporting their red and black – usually a cute dress or skirt/shorts with wedges or heels. For moms, it’s typically more casual with jeans and a cute logo’d shirt.

How has A-State attire and game day attire in general changed for women in the past few years?
Ryan: Women are more conscious about what we wear to the game. We want to look cute and support our favorite team. It’s not just boxy logo’d T-shirts anymore. There are so many varieties. It’s fun to see women express themselves while sporting their team’s colors.

What fashions can women expect to preview at this year’s Helmets and Heels?
Ryan: It looks like there will be a mix of everything. For the warm weather games, we should see the cute ruffle shorts and lace shorts along side rompers and short dresses. Always a game day staple are maxi dresses and skirts and skinny jeans. Tops include everything from denim to logo’d apparel. And of course, a lady can never go wrong with a little sparkle.