Anyone who is part of a marching band will probably end up having to wear one of the official band uniforms when an actual show comes around. This always goes for college bands, and sometimes applies for high school and middle school bands, although sometimes there is just a dress code that can be fulfilled with clothes from home. These uniforms can vary greatly from school to school, and usually give a sense of identity to the members of the band. Marching bands try to be fairly creative in choosing their uniforms, and over the years there have been many interesting things.
The uniforms usually try to be expressive, whether they are trying to reflect the music or the spirit of the school. Colors are a very important part. Usually the theme will be the school colors. It is a common element to see a uniform with separate color themes on each side, so that the band can collectively form one giant blob of color, then rapidly change it by switching to the other side. Naturally, it is usually accompanied by a shift in the tempo or a dramatic part of the song being played.
Accessories are also very prominent in marching band uniforms. Hats are carefully selected from various styles that match the uniform. Plumes, gloves, capes, and batons may be included when possible, but not if they will get in the way of the member’s ability to play his or her instrument. During important football games, marching bands may wear uniforms that mimic those of the football team. The accessories are rarely the same from performance to performance, as they like to switch them up and have a fresh look every time.
Some schools even decide to go against the flow by having uniforms that don’t follow any of these standards. This could be t-shirts and shorts, or a minimalist robe. Some Ivy League schools hold marching band performances wearing jackets and ties. But while these schools might not have the fanciness of the other schools, they are still recognized by what they wear. When schools are picking out uniforms, recognition is a huge factor. It allows for schools to have a good reason to wear the uniforms and gain respect from the other schools that witness their band.