Once practice is done and you're ready to compete, you need to choose your drill team uniforms. Make sure you take the time to get the right uniform for your squad, from a place that specializes in outfits specifically for drill teams.
Elements of a Drill Team Uniform
Some online stores offer themselves as one-stop shops for all drill and dance team needs. While it's true you can get a wide variety of tops, bottoms, or jump suits from all-in-one sources, you are not going to have as wide a selection of shoes, accessories, or props. In addition, buying everything off of one site increases the chances that another drill team will have similar outfits and props. Taking the time to comparison shop online from specialty stores can help ensure your drill team has an individual look.
Although a custom designed uniform is the dream of every drill team out there, sometimes you have to go with a stock choice because of budget considerations. Whether you have a little more to spend on a custom design, or you want something off the rack, there are several online resources that can help you outfit your entire team.
- A Wish Come True - Although the uniforms at A Wish Come True are not custom made, there is such a wide variety that can be mixed and matched that you should be able to put together a unique look. The uniforms are categorized into performance, competition and spirit choices. They also offer glitzy tops, which can be paired with readily available jazz pants. You'll find accessories here too, such as boots, poms, gloves, hats and even shoe bows.
- Down Patt - If you are lucky enough to have the funds to order a custom drill team uniform, Down Patt has experience creating team uniforms for junior highs, high schools and colleges. They offer a consultation where they'll help you come up with a concept that reflects your team and school spirit and is unlike anything else another drill team might wear. They do offer a quality guarantee, but have some specific requirements for non-Texas based schools, including a letter guaranteeing payment and a deposit.
- Georgie Girl Costumes - This online retailer offers standard uniforms via a catalog, but also offers a custom uniform option if you want to take it one step farther. If you see a design that you like but it isn't quite right, Georgie Girl will help you make adjustments to turn it into a custom-type job for a fraction of the cost of custom work.
A lot of drill team choreography involves hat tricks of various kinds, and hats can be a good way to minimize the variations in hairstyles and hair color and give your team a more uniform appearance. Companies can create hats in a variety of styles with your own custom bands, colors, and even sequins.
- Floyette Originals - The family-owned Floyette has been in business for more than 50 years. During that time they've perfected the art of making drill team hats. Not only is each style customized for the school and team, but each hat is custom made for the particular drill team member who will wear it. Some of the styles offered include sequined, gaucho, cowboy, derby, top hat and Aussie.
- DanceCheerNET - If you're looking for a basic hat and don't need a lot of added frills, then DanceCheerNET has several options that are fairly affordable. The owner of the site, Leslie Goettsch, was a dance and education major at Sam Houston State University and a Kilgore Rangerette for two years. You'll find styles like western drill team, gaucho, Spanish, derby, herder, rodeo, telescope and Aussie. Although the hats aren't custom-made, you can customize them by choosing from a variety of colors and adding sequins.
Footwear is arguably the most punished and most vital part of a drill team costume. It has to provide the secure footing necessary for dance, and will probably get a lot more wear and tear as it is worn during practices as well as performances.
- Happy Feet Boots - When it comes to shoes, Happy Feet Boots shows a good variety of shoes that are created specifically with dance in mind, including "flexor" soles which give great traction and support while maintaining a dancer's flexibility. Linda Lewis-Hall, founder and CEO of the company, released a new type of drill team shoe in 2013 that she says "guarantees effortless point and danceability."
- Just For Kix - This company offers a wide variety of items for dancers and a wide selection of dance shoes. Depending on where your drill team is performing, you may need different types of shoes. Just for Kix covers many different categories, such as jazz shoes, gia-mia sequined jazz, capezio slip ons, dance boots and dance sneakers.
Props and Accessories
Dance team props are one of the easiest ways to set your team apart from others. However, making them part of the uniform means that there will be a learning curve of manual dexterity, and it's a good idea to order a few extras in case one breaks. Some drill teams use a military style drill and include performance rifles in the mix, which team members twirl, toss and catch.
- Algy Team Collection - Algy carries just about everything you'll need for your uniforms, but where they really shine is with their selection of props. You'll find everything from poms to sabres and rifles, and a wide selection of flags in lots of colors and prints.
- pomexpress - You'll have to dig around the site a little to see everything available here, but there are some fun props listed throughout. Metallic and matte drill team poms, "drill" award pins, megaphones, banners, and pennants can all be found here.
- DanzGear - In addition to some staple items like shoes, you'll find accessories on this site. Choose from a wide variety of poms, jewelry and bags to carry your gear in.
More Than Just Clothes
Like any outfit for the performing arts, drill team uniforms need to be stronger than average street clothes. The material needs to be flexible but strong to handle all the extreme dance moves and repeated washings. The seams should all be reinforced, because the odds are they are going to have to hold through the most severe stress that clothing can be subjected to. Fasteners like snaps and zippers have to be industrial-strength, to make sure there aren't any wardrobe malfunctions along the way.
Then there is the matter of style. Remember, as you watch videos or browse catalogs online that the uniforms that look great on the screen may or may not look right on your team. Body types vary widely, and you want to make sure to pick out drill team attire that looks good on all the members of your team. Pay attention to the music and style of your routines, as well. The best drill teams have outfits that reflect the genres they are performing -- canes and bowler hats and fishnets for a Fosse-inspired number, for example.
Ask for Help with Your Purchases
The whole process of shopping for uniforms can be complicated by the fact that since you will probably need to order the drill team uniforms online, you may not have a chance to even try on the outfits, much less see how they work with your drill routine. This is where it pays off to find an experienced drill team costume designer or at the least coach or member who can give you recommendations based on the needs of your squad.