The TCU Showgirls are easy to spot at athletic events because of their flashy costumes, but that hasn’t always been the case.
The secret to the Showgirls’ well-known costumes is they always keep them “classy, flashy and sparkly,” said Lindsay Westbrook, coach of the TCU Showgirls.
But the costumes have not always held those standards. In the past, the organization was either about highlighting the band or the Showgirls’ personal dance techniques.
Now, the Showgirls have evolved to become more about their performance-based routines. Therefore, their costumes reflect that change.
When the Showgirls were founded in 1976, the group was meant to be part of the TCU marching band. However, the organization grew over time and became something more.
In the 80s and 90s, the Showgirls evolved to be more active performers. The dance moves got stronger, and so did the costumes.
In 1987, the Showgirls wore outfits that were less than modest. The dance leotard, flowy skirt and big hair were all integral parts of their outfits in the 80s.
Many might think the Showgirls would get less modest over time. However, that is not the case.
“I wouldn’t say they were more conservative [back then],” Westbrook said. “In the 80s and 90s, they sported half tops that showed the midriff.”
In 2000, the Showgirls became an independent organization under the TCU athletics program. Since their purpose was to be a dance team, the Showgirls’ costumes turned into more typical dance team uniforms.
The strong dance aspect brought about the introduction of jazz pants and jazz shoes to the uniforms. The jazz shoes helped the Showgirls turn, and the pants helped show their kicks and jumps more vividly.
Jazz pants were the norm for most dance teams at the time, but Westbrook said she wanted to get away from that look.
“This also changed our performance style, from more of the technical dancing to more performance-based routines,” Westbrook said.
In 2009, everything changed with the Showgirls’ image.
“The big transition was when TCU went to the Fiesta bowl,” Showgirls Captain Dakota Canales said. “That’s when Lindsay [Westbrook] got the Showgirls custom-made John Justin boots.”
The introduction of the cowboy boots meant the entire Showgirl “look” had to be altered. This led to the current cowboy look, which is now in the “College Hall of Fame.”
Since costumes are an important aspect of the Showgirls’ performances, they may have up to three costume changes per game.
To keep up with all of the costume changes, as well as the current in-style fashions, “the Showgirls have around 14 uniforms,” Canales said. “Every year we typically get two brand new uniforms to add to our collection.”
The Showgirls also “retire” a dated costume almost every year as new ones come in.
To keep up with the fashion demands, the Showgirls often rely on sponsors for support.
“We are extremely lucky and have amazing donors that make outfitting our teams possible,” Westbrook said.
Since TCU is a Christian university, the dance team must hold a certain image when it comes to its uniforms. The Showgirls currently only have one costume that shows the midriff; years past had more than one.
“Because we are a Christian university, each uniform is designed to be appropriate enough to uphold a good name,” Canales said.
Time will continue to shape the Showgirls’ costumes, but after updates to this year’s cowboy uniforms—they “made the frog on the back sparkly” and added rhinestones to their white belts—Canales said fans should get used to seeing the cowboy look.
“Cowboy will be around for a very long time,” Canales said.