Ask Abe: Red-and-White-Striped Overalls

Rose S. ’13

When did red-and-white-striped overalls become a thing?

Abe

A common sight in sections N, O, and P is the undergraduate dressed in red-and-white-striped bib overalls, typically over a red T-shirt or sports bra. Not yet commonly referred to as agro-leisurewear, it’s a look that says, “I am equally at home in the classroom, at hot yoga, or lubricating the family tractor.” Bibs have been part of Badger game days since the 1970s — they received a mention in the 1979 Badger yearbook, making it clear they were already an established tradition. Even plain denim overalls became a fashion statement in the 1980s (the entire band Dexy’s Midnight Runners sported them in the video for “Come On Eileen”), and in the years since, bibs have become less rebellious and more tied to school spirit. According to University Book Store clothing buyer Angie Maniaci ’99, the campus shop has carried bibs since 2005, purchasing them from Game Bibs, a company founded in 2003. Game Bibs offers striped overalls in a wide variety of colors, including the red-and-white pattern “unique” to fans at Wisconsin, Indiana, Nebraska, Rutgers, Alabama, et al.