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What Are the Different Types of Color Guard Uniforms?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 23, 2024
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The different types of color guard uniforms include stretch black pants, eye-catching tunics, and leotards. These pieces may be worn in any combination to create a unique look each time the guard appears for a performance. They may be accented using hats, gloves, gauntlets, and props, depending on the style of dance the team will perform.

A color guard is a type of dance team that typically accompanies a marching band during a performance on a football field. This type of dance squad may also perform occasionally in parades. They may be given a variety of props with which to perform, such as plastic rifles, flags, and batons, among other items.

The color guard uniforms are designed to be eye catching when viewed from a great distance, as well as to blend well with one another. Sequins are often sewn into portions of the uniforms to reflect stadium lighting, and accentuate the movements of the dancers' bodies. They are generally sewn from a cotton material that is blended with spandex, so that the clothing is form fitting, but not tight. Some blends include Lycra®, so that the base material, though not sparkling, is shiny and reflects lighting at a low grade.

All uniform pieces are typically ordered in bulk shipments from specialty uniform suppliers. Separate uniform pieces may be purchased, as well as accessory items specific to each routine, in addition to dance shoes, and props. These companies also tend to supply uniforms for marching bands as well.

Stretch black pants are considered a foundational piece of color guard uniforms. These pants are supportive and form fitting, but are not tight or overly revealing of body shape. They typically bell slightly at the calf towards the foot. Any type of dance top or tunic may be paired with these pants.

The additional pieces of the color guard uniforms are generally chosen based on the music and type of dance the squad will be performing. The tops may be cut in any style, depending on the preferences of the squad. The top portion of the costume generally features eye-catching color combinations accented with bands of sequins and fringe. They may be form fitting, to allow for fast and intricate movement, or open and flowing, to allow for slower, rhythmic dance moves.

Color guard uniforms may also include variations on leotards. A leotard is a one piece body suit that only covers the torso, similar to a bathing suit. Fringe, ruffles, skirts, and sleeves may be added to the leotard to create a unique and beautiful costumed piece. This type of uniform may feature any color combinations and additional accenting.

Accessories for these types of uniforms include hats, gloves, gauntlets, jazz shoes, and boots. Most accessory items are matched to the specific dance number being performed. Gloves are often paired with sleeveless uniforms and hats, and worn during performances on a football field where large arm movements may be best appreciated. Gauntlets, which stop at the wrist, may be sequined or fringed, and are also typically paired with sleeveless uniforms for field performances. The choice of jazz shoe or dance boot for footwear is based on the surface used for the performance, whether AstroTurf, pavement, or a gymnasium.

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