Previous Discussion Topics
Band Uniforms

23 Jul 98

Hi Friends,

     I need some help again regarding band uniforms.  I got a good response
the last time I asked a question, so I'm hoping you can help this time!
     Has anyone had any problems with the quality or construction of their
uniforms.  I know I read somewhere on the internet that some bands were having
problems with the colors running.  Our director is interested in hearing any
problems.  Our school colors have burgundy (maroon) so colors running or
bleeding may be a problem for us.  Our present jacket is solid burgundy so
it's not a problem.  The new design will be more than one color.
     If you can help please let me know.  I'd even love to hear reports of
terrific uniforms if you care to share them.  Thanks so much for the help.

Uniform Mom

23 Jul 98
From:  (Suzette Crim)
In our experience, the running problem seems to be not so much the
uniform itself but the way in which it is cared for.  Our unis are all
white, with navy blue trim and a bit of orange cord.  For the most
part, we have no problems.  However, once in a while a parent will take
the uniform to a cut-rate cleaner, and the trim will run all over the
white.  Most of us use independent, quality cleaners (translation: more
expensive), and have no problem with running.

The same bargain basement cleaners also return our uniforms in various
shades of gray as an added bonus.

Anyway, when the running happens, we have a tailor that we take the
things to - at the parents expense, I might add - who removes the trim,
bleaches the uni, and reattaches the trim.  Pain in the hiney, but it

As a side note....

As great as our kids look on the field, I would NEVER encourage anybody
to  buy an all-white, or mostly white, uniform.  It's always something!
 We have to beat the band to every event and "upholster" their seating
area with white vinyl so that the bleachers won't ruin their little
white behinds.  And after 8 or 9 years, we probably own a uniform in
every shade of white that exists.  

We issue the uniforms each year (along with the MANY parts that go with it).
In addition, we issue a tux or dress for those students that perform in our
Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble (our Concert Band kids do not get a formal
outfit).  It is up to the student to maintain their uniform and our V.P. of
Competition Support (and several boosters) monitor the uniforms and their care
each week.  The student is responsible for keeping their uniform looking nice.
Depending upon the weather, we tell them to dry clean their uniforms 2 or 3
times during the competition season.  The jacket is red with a white and black
baldric, white cuffs and epaulets.  Even though the pants are black, the
booster president (me, for the last two years LOL) washes down the bleachers
where the kids sit during the game to keep the dirt to a minimum.

At the end of the season, our Director tells the students they must turn their
uniform in (and ALL the various pieces) on the date set by the V.P. of
Competition Support or they must take the final exam.  In my six years in
boosters, we have never lost a uniform (we number each piece and check them
out and then back in); however, there are always a small number of kids that
have to take the final because they turn their uniform in late!

Dan Collins
Northwest Guilford Band Boosters
Greensboro, NC  

I am not our "Uniform Nazi" -- as our kids affectionately call her (ha!) but I
do know a bit about her procedures.  As we are all very new to this process,
we are kind of "inventing" as we go along.  Our district bought us new
uniforms last year (and this year.......our numbers keep increasing and they
keep buying the uniforms!  Thank you, Walled Lake Schools!!) with the strict
instructions that they MUST last for 10 years.  Our uniforms are "checked out"
to the individual kid......white coat with blue piping, blue bib pants,
braids, hat, plume, raincoat and garment bag.  Each piece is numbered and
Louise (our uniform Mom) can almost tell by looking at the kid if he has the
wrong pants on!!  The kids are responsible for dry cleaning the uniforms
during the season, as needed.  The district pays for one "mass" cleaning per
year -- they are cleaned over the summer.  The "catch" to this plan, for the
kids, is that every student is charged a $50 uniform deposit just like the
high school's $40 book deposit.  At the end of their senior year, or sooner if
they quit Band, they turn in their uniform for the final time.  The cost of
any repairs other than normal wear and tear are deducted from their deposit.
Roberta Hofmann
Band Mom
Walled Lake Central Viking Marching Band
Pres. WLC Music Boosters
Commerce Twp, Walled Lake and W Bloomfield, Michigan

We bought 250 new uniforms - black bibber pants - royal blue jackets piped 
with silver with black and white stripes up the front)  - black hats - silver 
milar plumes - and 100 new rain coats from Fechheimer.  Joey Orefice from 
Orefice LTD did the designs.  We have been extremely pleased with the new 
uniforms and the service.  We looked at three brands, Standbury, DeMoulin and 
Fechheimer.  We had streamstress' look and take apart all 3 brands.  We (I) 
did a lot of research locally (didn't know about this list at the time).  EMU 
(Eastern Michigan University) had always used DeMoulin but when they bought 
their new uniforms, chose to go with Standbury (based on bids and best made), 
(white pants, green jackets) University of Michigan went with DeMoulin, they 
were not happy at that time.  They had problems with the colors running, 
(navy blue pants and jackets with yellow piping and yellow block M on chest), 
so much that there was a law suit in process, haven't heard what the results 
were, but DeMoulin was claiming it was the manufacturer of the material, they 
were claiming it was the dry cleaning process, etc. etc.  I've since heard 
the Ypsilanti High School, Ypsilanti MI, also bought new uniforms from 
DeMoulin and hasn't been happy for the same reasons.  Their colors are purple 
and yellow, but I don't recall what their uniform actually looks like.

On thing we particularly liked with ours, was that inside the jacket is sewed 
an elastic type strip, which allows the band member to raise their arms up 
in the proper horn position, and the jacket won't pull or scrunch up in the 
front, and you won't see part of the pants.  We have been extremely pleased 
with their service and the uniform itself.  

Just my two cents.

former band booster/guardian angle of
Lincoln Consolidated Schools
Ypsilanti, MI   48197


David Huff wrote:

> I guess it is time for another opinion.  We got our uniforms from the Fred.
> J. Miller company in Ohio.  Ours are from the Cesario (SP) collection and
> they are very reasonable, price wise.  Let me describe what we got.

Ditto on Fred J. Miller.  We are lucky in that Fred's business is just about 2
miles from our school so we go over there regularly.  Cesario designed
Bellbrook's uniforms last year and Fred produced them for us. Like Dave's, our
uniforms are the lighter weight polyester, dark purple/black jacket with black
pants.  Nice part about the pants - they are stock with Miller's so replacements
are inexpensive and easy to get.  We use Fred J.'s for many of our flags and
original guard designs almost every year.  They are very responsive and most
importantly - VERY reasonably priced.

Our old uniforms were produced by Stanbury and were excellent. However, they
were much heavier weight, required dry cleaning, and couldn't be replaced
readily (about $500 per!).  Bellbrook would HIGHLY recommend Fred J. Millers.
You can check out their website at

Bob Engimann
Bellbrook Music Boosters
Bellbrook OH


Our uniforms also NEVER go home.  We dress our kids at school before
competitions if they are not going far away (within an hour's ride).  If they
are traveling farther to a competition, they change on the buses after they

When the contest is over, they change back into street clothes on the buses.
"Box Moms" (uniform moms) make sure the uniforms are properly stored.  

We have them professionally cleaned twice a year, I believe.

We just retired a set of uniforms after 17 years.

Margaret McGovern
Greenwood High School Band Parent
Greenwood, IN

Sep. 8, 1998 wrote:

> I noticed a post mentioning Fred J. Miller, Inc. as a uniform source.  Our
> school, Center Grove, is getting all new uniforms this year from Fred J.
> Miller.  We have worked closely with them over the years and believe the
> quality and value are exceptional.  We are currently hemming the pants and
> expect the jackets to arrive this time to wear for the first time at
> Homecoming on Friday night.

We got Fred J. Miller uniforms in the past month and they look great.

HOWEVER, one bone to pick.  When the jackets arrived, they included instructions
to soak them in salt water to set the colors.  We were surprised that either (1)
they arrived in an unfinished state, or (2) we weren't told that they would need
such additional work after delivery.  Nevertheless, we were prepared to make the
best of the situation we were handed and go forward.

HOWEVER again, even though they told us to soak the jackets in salt water, they
did not say (1) how long, (2) what temperature, (3) what concentration of salt
water, (4) several et ceteras!  And let me assure you that the opinions among
various "authorities" varied greatly.

When our Uniform Moms called Fred J. Miller to ask these crucial missing details,
they discovered that no one there could answer these questions.  The only employee
who seemed to know anything was on vacation and they were unwilling to contact
her, I guess.  So, facing a Friday night ball game, we proceeded, with the lawyer
in me saying the risk of color running, or shrinkage, or whatever, lay entirely
with the manufacturer!  :)  So far though, so good.  :)  The Band looks great in

Raymond Myers, Booster President
John Overton HS
Nashville, Tennessee  USA

Sep 9, 1998

Greetings All!
I'm new to the list and to band parenting -- the older of our two boys is
freshman trumpet-player at Tipton Community High School this year.  My
husband and I both marched in high school band (trumpet & clarinet,
respectively), so I am relishing this experience -- so far!
Am volunteering as one of the "Uniform Moms" and just finished altering
several pants & jackets.  The uniforms are nearly 20 years old -- and I can
see they aren't going last many more seasons.  Evidently discussion to
replace began last year, and target completion is beginning of 2000-2001
school year, so we should have plenty of time.  Seeing Margy's post
prompted me to solicit feedback from all of you on how to approach this
We've got fundraising pretty well under control, in general.  So I'm more
interested in your experiences of selecting sales reps/manufacturer &
design; methods of inventory control; fitting, care & cleaning; etc.  Would
like feedback on what works for you, as well as pitfalls to avoid.  Many
thanks in advance!

I hope that you always relish working with and watching the band.  It has
been one of the best experiences of my life.  My son is a junior at El
Dorado High School in southern California this year.  The parents and the
kids all have a great time and enjoy almost every minute of it.

This is the third year I have helped with uniforms and grooming and am also
treasurer of the band boosters so I have a little bit of experience with
some of the things you are asking about.  We buy our uniforms from Stanbury
Uniforms in Brookfield Missouri.  I don't have the phone number with me but
I could get it if you want me to.  Our inventory control is done on the
computer using "Excel".  We do a beginning inventory spread sheet before any
uniforms are fitted and then use it to "plug" the kids into the proper
uniform.  You will get a list from the manufacturer that will help you to
fit the uniforms properly.  The uniforms are fitted based on height and
weight.  Most kids will fit into the right uniform that way, both pieces
matching.  It is best to put the kids in a matched set if it's possible.
Some of the kids will need to have separate jacket and pants because they
don't fit the norm for the height and weight chart.  Some girls will be more
developed than others, some kids are large around the middle, etc.  This
year we are going to have to have some of the uniforms professionally
altered.  Our uniforms are 10 years old and kids are heavier than they used
to be so we had a few snags but nothing we can't deal with.

When it comes to cleaning choose the cleaner carefully.  The first couple of
years we had our uniforms they were not cleaned properly and the white parts
are grayed now.  The problem was that the cleaner didn't dump the cleaning
fluid after each load and the dirt re-deposited on the uniforms.  Make sure
that whoever you choose dumps the fluid each time.  Also, make sure they
flat press the sleeves and/or pants if you have any braid on them.  The way
ours are pressed has caused the braid to pucker over time.  It will cost a
little more to have the flat pressing but it's worth it.

The main thing with uniforms is to have lots of help and have a great

Denise Wilkinson, EDHS Band Mom

Home Up

Last changed: 10/08/2002

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