Cheer squads look for any way to build a team identity. Some of these ways are more subtle than others, such as keychains, but there are also ways to make it obvious. Team jackets are the best way of expressing that team spirit, allowing the squad to show that they are both one of the school’s athletic teams as well as that they are belong to the same team. Although there are ways to individualize them, the ideal is for the jackets to be worn in the same way so as to make the team jackets a uniform of sorts for the cheer squad, demonstrating that they belong to each other.
Although traditional team jackets follow the same construction of leather sleeves on a fabric body, not all cheer squads follow that tradition. The traditional jackets are just too bulky for some, and others just want something that is either more feminine or simply something less traditional. Silk jackets have been in style before, as have even sweatshirts, both suit tops and hoodies, but the traditional team jacket continues to be the standard against which all other team jackets are judged. Although it can be bulky, it is also warm and looks good with with medals and ribbons.
The traditional team jacket is also a favorite because of how easy it is to individualize. The zipper pull alone sees a lot of decoration done to it; ribbons and cel phone hangers are commonly used. The lapels are another area of decoration, with pens, embroidery, and even glued-on gems. Some jackets can sport some serious detailing, especially if the person has owned it for several years. A team jacket can thus represent not only the team but the individual as well, making for something that works as a uniform as well as a personal statement.