9th April 11, 05:43 AM
My advice is more about what sort of uniform you might consider wearing.
Originally Posted by Streetcar
I've been in several bands over the last 35 years and I really pay attention to what bands are wearing here and especially what top bands are wearing at the World Pipe Band Championships each year.
If you're going to be a competion band it behooves you to follow the current style, a style set by the world's top Grade One bands. It's what the judges think of as looking sharp and professional and a band which looks like a serious competition band makes a good first impression on the judges.
At the 2010 Worlds Grade One Qualifiers and Finals every single band was wearing vests, save one. None wore jackets. Most of the vests were black, though a few were charcoal grey or navy.
I really like the vests from Higgins. They have the same Barathea front and back. The trouble with vests with silky backs is that with much wear the back becomes faded and discoloured. Also, Higgins vests are available in different lengths. Be sure that your members get vests the right length! It looks awful when a vest is too short which combined with kilts worn too low gives a gap of the shirt showing in between.
All top pipe bands wear black Glengarries. Beware! Glengarries come in both navy and black and nearly every band on earth has a combination of the two. I think it looks far more professional if everyone wears matching Glens. Black Glens come with either red touries or black touries and once again nearly every band has a mix of the two.
About cap badges, beware that the traditional Clan Crest cap badges come in two sizes, a smaller one intended for Balmorals and a larger one intended for Glengarries. Many bands mix the two, or have all wearing the small ones on their Glens. It looks far better when everyone has matching badges of the larger Glengarry size on their Glens.
Bands are nowadays abandoning their pure white hose, so universally popular in the 1990s. Black is the new white! Anything but white. Bands are nowadays wearing black, navy blue, ancient blue, Lovat blue, charcoal grey, Lovat green, etc etc. Avoid white or especially cream (which screams "seventies" to pipe band folk).
Just as in hose, bands are avoiding white shirts nowadays, preferring blue or grey.
For sporrans, most bands wear black leather Pipe Band sporrans nowadays. They're the old Hunting sporran, but in black, with a chrome Evening cantle stuck on. They're sharp looking and have no tassels to fall off and get lost.
In general, black is great for bands, for vests, Glens, bagcovers, and cords because 1) many people already have them and 2) black is always easy to match later.
Here's SFU, a great example of many of the points I made above. Ancient Blue hose, blue shirts, black or navy bagcovers and cords, Pipe Band sporrans, black Glengarries with large badges, etc etc. Here they are wearing jackets but at the Worlds they wore vests.
and Triumph Street, with a very clear view of the Pipe Band sporrans:
and the Los Angeles Scottish
all photos taken in 2010 or 2011. Note that no white hose or shirts are to be seen here.
Last edited by OC Richard; 9th April 11 at 06:00 AM.
9th April 11, 09:47 AM
I know my kiltmaker, Kathy Lare, seems to forever be sewing kilt orders for pipe bands - at least when I place my kilt order. www.kathyskilts.com
Nice lady, can't hurt to include her on your list. No clue about bulk prices since I'm a one man band.
Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
Lifetime Member Scottish Tartans Authority, Owner Freelanders #4 & 5
"I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."
9th April 11, 04:46 PM
With everyone following the lead of the grade one bands for uniforming, aren't we then falling back into the 'cookie cutter band' look, just with a different color shirt and hose?
I think the best bet would be to simply make sure everyone's wearing the same thing (hence the term uniform), regardless of the colors eventually chosen. I would hope that everything coordinates (not necessarily match, but at least doesn't clash). A band (whether competing or not) can then appear professional and still have their own look.
10th April 11, 04:02 AM
It is for sure! All serious competition bands are always going to look more or less alike. All serious competiton Highland dancers are always going to look more or less alike. All serious competition Irish dancers are always going to look more or less alike.
Originally Posted by EagleJCS
There's a pattern here... all of these people want to win! And it was discovered a long time ago that "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down".
Or to put it another way, there's always going to be a "look" which is perceived by the judges as marking a competitor as "being in the loop" or being up-to-date with current trends. A dancer wearing an outmoded costume is going to do outmoded steps, a pipe band wearing an outmoded uniform is going to play stale music.
These things aren't necessarily or inherently true in theory, I admit... but in practice judges know that they're true 99.99% of the time.
Sure a competing band have have pride in cooking up a strange or outmoded costume and bask in the feel-good factor they get by taking a heroic stand against the dreaded cookie cutter look. Most competing bands, however, are more interested in winning than in making social statements.
Originally Posted by EagleJCS
At a Highland Games recently I noticed a band wearing a very outmoded costume, the costume that was all the rage in the 1970s: Balmoral, Prince Charlie, offwhite Aran knit hose. I made some comment about it to a guy beside me. This guy knew something about that band and said "they're very traditional, and they're not interested in following current trends. They've been wearing that uniform for a long time."
He didn't realise that when that band adopted that uniform it WAS the current trend! The only difference was that the band back in the 70s was aware of current trends and dressed accordingly, and the band today is clueless and out of the loop.
On another forum I was challenged when I stated that any experienced pipe band person could accurately predict a band's playing level simply by seeing a photo of the band. To prove my point I posted three photos 1) of a grade two competition band 2) of a grade four competion band 3) of a noncompeting street band and asked people to guess which band was which. EVERYONE who guessed got all three correctly. (Funny how pipers in Australia and New Zealand and Northern Ireland could accurately tell the level of three California bands they'd never seen or heard of.)
Last edited by OC Richard; 10th April 11 at 04:09 AM.
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