Urban definition: Marching Band Uniform

Uniforms: (Yoo-nih-form) Ridiculously hot and stuffy articles of clothing forced upon unsuspecting band members by their superiors. Generally worn during parades, football games, and competitions. Only remotely comfortable/warm when the temperature is below 65 degrees.
While some bands are lucky enough to have decent-looking uniforms (thankfully mine's one of them), most are cursed with odd/old/ugly/uncomfortable ones. The general make-up of a band uniform includes (but is not restricted to) some sort of hat, a jacket, suspender pants, gauntlets, gloves, and shoes.

The most common marching band hat is the shako. Shakos are your typical marching hat: they have a tall, cylindrical shape, a strap that goes under your chin, and a hole for a plume to be placed in at the top. If your shako is the wrong size, you will have an uncomfortable season; it will either squeeze your head until your brains pop out (if we lived in a cartoon universe…), or continuously fall behind your head so that the strap strangles you.
If it fits, you'll be A-okay, and can march around feeling cool with your big, fancy shako and fluffy plume.
While most of the band wears shakos, the tubas generally wear berets, as anything larger would continuously hit their instruments.
Keep in mind that the shako is not the only type of marching hat; there are many others that, like the shakos, are based off of military headgear (the shako, however, is the only one I know anything about). Some others include bearskins (don't know what they are? Think Buckingham Palace guards…), combination hats (think armed forces' service caps), and pith helmets (kind of safari/postal worker hat).
The absolute best part of marching band headgear is the plume. Plumes are long and fluffy, and can come in a variety of different colors: There are your typical, boring black/white plumes, and there are your more unusually-colored plumes, some examples being red, orange, or even purple.
Most bands, however, are doomed to have boring plumes (although if they're lucky, there's shiny mixed in with the black or white).
Plumes serve as a constant attraction to band members. They're tall, fluffy, worn on top of your head, and are an excellent source of innuendo. Plus it's very fun to head butt somebody while wearing a plume.
You can also use them to confuse innocent, naïve freshmen. Telling them that their plume is on backwards is very fun (to any who would argue that it's not nice, it's been done to all of us who like to do it now).
No matter what type of headgear your band has, or what color plume, they all make you look pretty stupid anywhere outside of a competition.
Plume escapades:
-A friend telling the bass clarinet rookie that her plume was on backwards three times in a row at the same competition, and she actually believing him (one example of why I'm constantly in hysterics over the stupidity of the human race).
-Having a jousting tournament with our plumes while they were attached to the top of our heads (fun, but inadvisable).
-Making inappropriate plume jokes on various occasions (I seem to remember one about stroking a long, fluffy, plume…)

There are many variations of the marching jacket: there are some that you zip/button in the front, some that you zip/button in the back, and others that you don't even have to zip or button. The jackets that close in the front are pretty straightforward; you put your arms through the sleeves and then either zip or button it closed.
The jackets that close in the back, however, are another matter entirely. As it's rather hard to reach around to your back to close the jacket, you generally get a friend to do it for you, sparking the perverted conversations about "doing" somebody. There are the occasional people who can "do" themselves (it's actually not that hard…this whole paragraph sounds perverted, though). Jackets, like plumes, provide excellent material for innuendo.
Your jacket is generally colored to coincide with the school colors, or to make an effect during competitions. Even if the latter is the case, odds are that at least one of your school colors will find its way onto your jacket. With that being said, there are some schools that have their uniforms set up differently; some jackets have black on one sleeve and white on the other, or one color on the front and another on the back.
You can generally find the band's logo and some funky design (there's one band in my state whose jackets resemble those of the Power Rangers...) on the jacket as well, and there is usually a sash running diagonally across your chest. Sashes are very fun; they generally button onto the uniform, and are therefore easily removable. Because of this, sash raping came into being (more on sash raping at the end of the segment).
Cords and capes are also quite common (I wish my band had capes…), and are there either to show rank or for decoration.
Even if your jacket looks awesome, you will, at some point in time, want to take that hot, stuffy thing off (unless you live where it's continuously cold), as a lot of jackets are made of incredibly heavy fabric. Most of the time, you experience this feeling during the August/September football games, when the weather is still stifling. If you aren't allowed to go jacketless in the stands, it sucks to be you. However, once October rolls around, and the weather turns more fall-y, you will probably want to keep your jacket on.
Five steps to a successful sash raping:
-Silently approach chosen victim (it doesn't matter whether you come in from in front of them or from behind them, so long as they don't know what you're planning).
-When close to victim, quickly reach out and grab their sash.
-As soon as you have a good hold on sash, pull as hard as you can (for best results, pull down).
-If done correctly, sash should come completely off. However, the victim will most likely become aware of your plans soon after you grab their sash, so it may not always work to perfection.
-Run like hell afterwards (if caught, plead the fifth).

Oh, what can be said about the ever so wonderfulsuspender pants? For starters, they're generally awkward, pocket-less (if they're cheap…most of the time the pockets are in the inside), and annoying (the suspender part…the pants themselves are fine).
Now, you might be wondering what exactly I mean by suspender pants. They're basically overalls that aren't made out of denim and that only come up to your chest (for that reason, wearing a shirt underneath your uniform is strongly encouraged).
No matter how much you tighten them, those suspenders will always pick the worst possible time to slip off your shoulder. Generally this happens when you are waiting to perform, and when you already have your jacket on; the jacket, obviously, complicates the normally-simple matter of slipping the strap back onto your shoulder.
The pants typically come in two colors: black and white. Black is probably the most common, as it is harder for judges to recognize who not marching as well as everyone else. White, while it makes bad marching easier to see, looks a lot cleaner as a whole (what's really cool is when half the band marches in black, and half the band marches in white).
Black pants are also quite handy for hiding stains and dirt. Obviously, when you sit on bleachers, you pick up the occasional dirt/stain; however, this really isn't noticeable in black pants. White pants, on the other hand... White pants can be the bane of your marching existence. If you spill anything on them, people can (and will) notice. The same goes for what you're wearing underneath. Even if you wear white shorts, if you're wearing colored underwear it will be seen. Admittedly, this is pretty funny.
One hilarious thing to do to your friends while they're wearing their marching pants (generally best at a football game) is to drop ice down the back. Then, they'll have to either dance around until the ice falls out of the legs, or unzip the pants and reach around to get it out.
If you can, dump it while they're wearing their jacket as well; it makes it even harder to get the ice out.
Embarrassing moments in white pants (none of which have, thankfully, happened to me):
-Eating chocolate on the way to BOA, and getting some of it smudged on your crotch (one of my friends)
-Having a certain event that occurs once a month start while wearing them (I felt so bad for her...)
-Sitting on anything brown (generally very entertaining)
-Falling/sitting on the grass and turning part of your pants green (claim that you're redecorating for St. Patrick's Day...)
-Wearing colored underwear (even though the directors warned you not to) and having all of the parents in the stands laugh

Pretty much all bands wear gloves and gauntlets. The gloves are pretty generic as they generally match whatever color the jacket/pants are. You can always identify the flutes and clarinets by their gloves; to effectively play their instruments, they have to cut off the fingers.
Gauntlets are annoying, plain and simple. Yes, they look really cool when combined with your gloves, but they are always falling off or coming loose. No matter what, somebody's gauntlet(s) will fall off during every performance. Also, the different sizes complicate matters (gauntlets come in medium, large, and extra large).
Most of the band should wear mediums, which means that about half of those who wear mediums end up wearing large gauntlets, thus adding to the percent of gauntlets that fall off. It's always a fight to see who gets to the gauntlets first, as there aren't medium gauntlets for everyone who needs them. If you want to ensure that you will have the right size, stick a pair in your hatbox. It's sneaky but very effective.
There are also the marching shoes. Depending on the band, these are either incredibly uncomfortable, or the most comfortable shoes ever (mine are in the second category). Most probably fall into the latter group, as you will wear these shoes throughout the whole season.
When you combine all of the separate parts of the uniform, you get a very impressive-looking band (usually). Sometimes they just look ridiculous.
If you're uniform is cool, though, you're all set to go.
If it isn't, enjoy looking stupid for the next four years.