Scottish Drum Major Resources
Dress No-Nos

Drum Major was, and is, a military role and, thus, DM dress has a military origin. Whatever band you may be in, service or civilian, remember that your band kit is a uniform. The simplest rule in deciding what to assemble into your uniform is whether it is respectful of the military origins and whether current Scottish Regimental soldiers would be okay with how you wear your uniform.

The Regimental Drum Major Association has an excellent, thoughtful Dress Manual. While they aren't necessarily the last word on dress, please pay attention to the spirit in which they judge what is appropriate.

The pictures below demonstrate potential mistakes made by Drum Majors as they try to spice up their uniform, or simple errors due to a lack of information about correct usage. We are all tempted to bring added attention to our bands but let us not mix civilian dress and military dress.

The faults shown below are not meant to imply that I am an arbiter of good DM dress but are merely meant to point out to new DMs what falls outside the RSPBA and RDMA dress manuals. (I have blurred DM faces as this is not meant to embarrass anyone and want to focus on DM dress.) While your band is the final judge of what you will wear, I simply would like us all to be respectful of the Regiments and the uniforms they have bled and died for.

Baldrics are part of a military uniform and should not be worn with civilian dress. We all would like our bands to be identified but that is what the banner in front of the band and the bass drum head is for.

Red sashes are military officer designators and should not be worn with civilian dress such as an argyll coat or a vest. Sashes may be worn with Shirt dress (Class 14).

The left photo is probably from a massed bands event and so the DM may not be a part of the band following. But if they are from the same unit, the DM should wear the same hat as the band.

A pet peeve of mine is incorrect positioning of hose flashes. The front edge should be aligned with the the center of the shin bone (I put my index finger on the bone and set the flash edge against the finger, checking the alignment of the hose ribbing when I do so). But a bigger issue in the left photo is that the flashes are in different places for each band member. Pipers on the right have their flashes in a consistent position; they care to look good!

While I would prefer for the flashes to be visible from the front, at least decide as a band where you want your flashes and then check each other that you are all consistent.

This gentleman may be entitled to wear the feather in his cap. But be careful in copying him. Certain feathers are reserved for specific military units and for civilians, feathers usually are worn only by clan chiefs. Sunglasses are a no no for drum majors (although certain eye conditions may require you to wear them). Bands should not wear sunglasses in competition but for casual parades, they can be fun. Our band had neon green sunglasses made with the band name on them and we hand them out to kids and band fans.
Shirt sleeve dress (Class 14) requires the glengarry, not a feather bonnet. Also, plaids are never worn with shirt sleeves; you need a doublet with the plaid. (The Irish Defence Force uniform does use the brath (shoulder plaid) in shirt sleeve order but this gent is in Scottish uniform.) If you are going to wear a mustache, grow something glorious like Callum Marr!
This DM is fine as he is with a UK band. But if you are in a US band, salute with the palm down. The rule is to salute the same way the military forces in your country do.

DM Resources
Drum Majors
Regimental DMs
DM Tips

Return to Wisconsin Piping and Drumming

The Copyrights for all images on this page reside with their owners. Text Copyright 2020 by D. Bruning
updated: Feb 2020