Tips for a Stylish Southern Tailgate with Draper James

Orange and white Tennessee football tailgating ideas with Draper James.

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Fall truly is my favorite time of year! Not just for the falling leaves, all things pumpkin & the cozy sweaters … but also because fall means TENNESSEE FOOTBALL SEASON!

(I may live in Texas now, but my heart will always be in Tennessee!)

To celebrate football season, I’m combining my love of parties, food & football and sharing six of my favorite tips on how to host a stylish Southern tailgate with Draper James.

Orange and white Tennessee football tailgating ideas with Draper James.

1. Pop the Trunk

If you have an SUV or a car with a large & open trunk, then you’re one step closer to a bona fide tailgate! We like to pop open the trunk and put a card table front when we tailgate. (Bonus points if the tablecloth is orange & white!) This gives our tailgate enough space for friends to mingle about the food & drinks.

Don’t forget to head to the stadium as early as you can to find the perfect tailgate spot!

Orange and white Tennessee football tailgating ideas with Draper James.

2. Your Team is Your Theme

Center your theme around your team’s colors, whether they be bright orange, red, white or blue. I like to use serving pieces and decor in my team’s colors to show off my school spirit!

My Tennessee burlap banner is one of the focal points of my tailgate setup. I found this one on Etsy, which is a great place to shop for tailgate decor unique to your favorite team.

I also grabbed faux florals in shades of orange from my local craft store that are guaranteed to stay fresh every Saturday this season. A mini chalkboard is also a great way to personalize your tailgate with a cheer for your team.

Draper James Cheers Y'all Tailgate Tumbler Set

3. Score with Sips & Snacks

Tailgate food is in a league of its own. Think “ultimate party” food, and you have traditional tailgate food. I like to choose options that are easy to serve and please a crowd. I also try to mix it up with one of something sweet, savory, & salty.

Styling Draper James Tailgate Sweater in Orange for a Tennessee Tailgate

Draper James Tennessee Tailgate Gameday Plate Set

4. Serve in Style 

If you’re the hostess, the festive serving pieces are sometimes the most fun part of setting everything up! (It’s not every day we get to use our designated tailgate goodies!)

I am absolutely loving the Tailgate Collection from Draper James! The melamine serving pieces come in shades of blue and red, and feature quirky slogans such as “Cheers Y’all” & “Gameday.” While red isn’t necessarily a color that fits in with a Tennessee vols tailgate, blue certainly does! It’s one of the official colors of the Lady Vols, so I couldn’t resist the chance to serve with these adorable blue gingham pieces.

Orange and white Tennessee football tailgating ideas with Draper James.

5. Fuel the Fun

Once you have the tailgate spot, decor, serving pieces & food all set up, it’s time to start the party! We typically bring a speaker, chairs, blankets and a football with us when we tailgate. This gives friends a place to sit and chat, music to listen to, and a game to play while we “pre-game!”

Styling Draper James Tailgate Sweater in Orange for a Tennessee Tailgate

6. Dress Your Best

And last but not least, and perhaps my favorite tailgate tip, is dress your best!

Orange and white outfit ideas for a Tennessee football game.

In the South, a football game is one of the best excuses to dress to the nines. Depending on the weather, I’ll opt for an orange and white seersucker sundress with wedges (yep!) or an orange striped sweater with some of my favorite accessories.

I’m wearing Draper James’ oh-so-adorable Tailgate Sweater and it comes in a shade fit for almost every team down South too!

Draper James Tailgate Outfit

The “Go Y’all” pin on each sweater is such a fun touch!

The Draper James Go Y'all Envelope Clutch in Tennessee Orange

Outfit Details:

sweater c/o || clutch c/o || polka dot blouse c/o || maternity jeans || lace up flats c/o || bracelet

And seriously, I can’t get enough of wearing my cheer on my sleeve, or purse for that matter. Draper James’ “Go Y’all” Envelope Clutch is the cutest way to carry your gameday essentials.

And just like that, I’m ready for the first Tennessee football game this Thursday!! (Even though we’ll be tailgating from Texas, we’ll sill be giving our “all” for Tennessee this week!)

Are you just as excited about football season as I am an? And what are some of your favorite tailgate traditions? I’d love to hear! And as always, thanks for stopping by the blog!


photos by Bertuzzi Photography

*This post was sponsored by Draper James. All opinions are my own.*

  • So cute and classy! I wish Draper James made those “go y’all” items in purple and gold 🙂

  • Whitney H

    You always look gorgeous but I think this is probably my favorite post you’ve ever done! Orange is such a gorgeous color on you. (And I’ll just pretend all that orange is for Clemson and not Tennessee… Go Tigers! hehe)

  • Dawn Princess Darnell

    love this post! so creative! I love the Volunteers because that’s where Peyton Manning is from. 😉

  • This post is my fave! I pretty much need everything I see on Draper James, haha! You knocked this tailgate out of the park and I kind of want to road trip it up to Tennessee with you just to set up this tailgate and watch a game. And of course the bump looks great in orange 🙂

  • LOVE this post Alice!!!!

  • This is the absolute cutest tailgate set up! You look adorable and full of spirit! Loving all the Draper James pieces- so perfect for collegiate fans! (PS- Go Gators 🙂 )

  • Nicole Kestenbaum


  • Bridget

    What a super cute and fun tailgate! I love it all, the details are great! Thank you for sharing all the great tips 🙂

  • BNB styling

    This is seriously the cutest Alice! Makes me want to tailgate

  • This entire set up is amazingly fall! Love it 🙂