This past football season, all eyes were on the pitch as usual. But for some, it wasn’t in anticipation of a touchdown, but rather in search of Loreal Sarkisian and her eye-catching and expertly styled playing outfits.
A former athlete and college coach, professional stylist and wife of head football coach Steve Sarkisian, Sarkisian brought a different kind of intrigue to game days with her signature bangs, cowboy boots, leather jackets , her Chanel handbags and even the occasional matching suit set. with her husband. (To see: the one they donned during the Red River Showdown 2021.)
But make no mistake, Sarkissian is not trying to draw attention to the sidelines. It’s just who she is.
“I’m someone who’s always been into fashion, who always dresses for all occasions,” Sarkisian says. “Football games, a basketball game, going to the store, whatever.”
Sarkisian first knew she wanted a career in fashion growing up in Florida and watching her mother, a talented seamstress, artist and designer, at work.
“I grew up being able to watch her do these things and do them well,” Sarkisian says. “So there was a level of interest at a young age because that was my foundation – we would go to the store and choose models and I would look at it.”
She always knew she wanted to do something creative. What it was, exactly, she wasn’t sure, but she was sure of this: “I knew I loved clothes and fashion and how they could make a person feel.”
Sarkisian took that knowledge — and that passion — with her in her time as an All-American hurdler at North Carolina A&T, and later as a coach at the University of Southern California. Sarkissian knew that if she felt good, “I’m going to run well, I’m going to train well.” Even when wearing the requisite track uniform or coach polo shirt, Sarkisian added some of her signature style wherever she could – a hair ribbon here, a touch of lipstick there, perhaps. a unique pair of sunglasses… Anything that made her feel a little more fabulous.
By her late twenties, Sarkisian was working full-time as a professional stylist and started her own business in 2017. It was only natural that her personal style made its way to UT football games when her husband became head coach in 2021. Initially, she and Steve Sarkisian were supposed to debut their matching burnt orange and white suits at the season opener, but they weren’t ready yet. Instead, at the last minute, Sarkisian put together an outfit consisting of a black cowboy hat, white blouse, long black lace skirt, cowboy boots and of an orange Chanel handbag. Without thinking too much about it, she posted the outfit on her Instagram, @lorealsarkisian, as she usually did. But this time, his message drew a huge reaction. The likes and comments kept pouring in.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” Sarkissian said. “But it got me excited, like, Alright great. Glad you all like it. This is who I am. I don’t know anything different. It was a very unexpected reaction, but I welcomed it, and I really appreciated it, honestly.
Sarkisian continued to assemble his high-fashion outfits for each game, incorporating bright colors and patterns, burnt orange and Western-inspired accessories such as a full-length cow-print jacket. It wasn’t long before fans were calling her the new “Texas soccer first lady,” a title Sarkisian feels honored to have received.
“I try to be very classy and professional, warm and welcoming, helpful…all the things that would cheer up the name of a first lady,” Sarkisian said. “I hope I can continue on such a legacy of a name.”
Her husband is happy to see Sarkisian providing another reason to be excited about UT football games, regardless of the final score.
“With football, everyone is looking forward to their own aspect of that day, and there is more to a UT football game than the 60 minutes of play or the three and a half hours that we are on the field,” says Steve Sarkisian . “It’s a one-day event for a lot of people. She captured an audience to get them excited about UT football, some of whom may not be excited about the way we play or the opponent, but everyone gets excited about their own things to get ready to enjoy the ball game. If she can do that for people, if she can inspire people on game day, I think that’s fantastic.
Ultimately, Sarkisian is just following the style mantra his mother instilled in him growing up.
“When you look good, you feel good,” Sarkisian says. “My mom used to say it all the time. We grew up dressing ourselves.
Credits: Loreal Sarkisian