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Suit up for Team You, in honor of the Chevy Spark’s neon-like color palette.

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s no fun being a fan if you can’t, every once in a while, go a little crazy with your time and your wallet. If you can’t skip work because your favorite soccer side is in the finals or hop on a flight to root on your favorite boxer, what’s the point of following sports?

I’m not suggesting you drop thousands of dollars to prove your allegiance, but in order to be recognized for the true fan you are, you have to invest. Otherwise, you’re not enduring the kind of sacrifice that makes the thrill of victory that much sweeter and the agony of defeat that much more nauseating.

Hence this list of the latest and greatest in fan paraphernalia. Some can be worn while cheering your team to a win; some can be used at the tailgating party before the game.

You’re a fan. We know you are. Now put in the effort to be the best one possible. You owe it to your team. Heck, you owe it to yourself.

Neon colors

If you’re wondering what to wear to the next Grand Slam tennis tournament, take inspiration from some of the world’s top players and from the new Chevy Spark color palette—in a word: neon. Tennis phenoms aren’t the only ones who are going bright and shiny. Heather Zeller, founder of A Glam Slam points out that the NFL’s Seahawks, a line of soccer cleats and U.S. Open golfers have experimented with neon looks recently: “We've seen it incorporated in uniforms across a range of sports this year, so naturally the trend has translated into fan gear as well. Neons have also been popular on the fashion runways this season, so they resonate well with female fans.”

Fashion-forward retro

As the trend continues for major U.S. sports teams to hold retro uniform nights to celebrate fashions of the past, the opportunities for fans to wear T-shirts and hats from the 1960s and ’70s have never been greater. Even teams that didn’t exist before 1998 are getting into the act. As I write this, I’m sporting my 1974 Atlanta Braves hat that first circulated before I was alive, and in major department stores fans can buy the anti-de rigueur trucker hats that once looked appropriate only in Kodachrome photographs and Bad News Bears movies.

Ever-changing rugby jerseys

If you’re going to be current in the world of rugby—which you’ll undoubtedly want to do if you watched the All Blacks win the 2011 World Cup—you’ll have to stay on your toes. As rugby referee Olivia Nigh quips, “I got my boyfriend a South Africa National Panel Referee jersey and my ref coach a South Africa Referee Educator jersey. You name it, they’ve branded it.” Which brings us to our last item….

Team logo branding irons

What’s the only thing missing from the hunks of beef you eat before watching four quarters of college football on a fall day? The logo of your favorite team, of course. Whether you want to brand a big G on your steak to represent the Bulldogs of Georgia or burn the Iowa Hawkeyes logo onto a piece of chicken, now you can do so. Sure, the thrill of seeing the Texas Longhorns logo on your burger (or veggie burger for that matter) doesn’t last long, especially if you cover it with ketchup and mustard, but this might be one of the few times anybody other than you will appreciate a photograph of your hunk of meat.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Josh Katzowitz is an award-winning sports writer who covers the NFL for CBSSports.com. He's also worked for The Cincinnati Post and The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, while occasionally contributing to The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. His second book, Sid Gillman: Father of the Passing Offense, will be released this month. He lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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