The sport of cheerleading is known for its recognizable performance gear. In the 1950s and 60s the girls’ skirts were knee length as per the style of the time. The skirts gradually shortened and fabric was pleated at the waist for fullness and freedom of movement. Then the skirt style shifted to have less fullness. New stretch fabrics allowed for tight fitting uniforms that also allowed full flexibility of movement.
There is something special about belonging to a sports team and uniforms contribute significantly to create team spirit, positive morale as well as fostering a professional appearance a.k.a. “branding”. We might take team uniforms for granted and not realise the impact wearing a uniform has. When new uniforms are being handed out at cheer gyms anywhere, the excitement level is through the roof!
The photo shows an athlete in full gear. Where does she get that confidence? Even with her eyes behind the sunglasses, we know that her eyes are smiling too. The confidence is from belonging to the team, to the club, to the tribe. A sense of belonging is so important as children and youth voyage through the passage of adolescence into their own identities.
Wearing the cheer gear creates a sense of identity and belonging to the team. This is strengthened by personal relationships with fellow athletes and the entire gym community. Uniforms create equality among athletes. Sporting team gear at a cheerleading competition is to feel responsible for representing the team and the brand of the entire gym. Especially for girls, knowing you look good in a fresh, sparkly uniform promotes positive self-image and confidence. In the context of sport, looking good does not have a sexual connotation, it means athletes are strong and gritty.
Rule making organizations that govern the sport of cheerleading do have some regulations that govern uniform design, but each individual cheer club designs their own signature gear. Gear companies are also eager to use new technology like fabric stamping to create eye-catching team uniforms that serve as advertising for the gear company. New designs and trends emerge every year and keep the sport vibrant.
Gear up and feel good about it!