Plumes have sometimes been ignored as part of a uniform design, but in the last few years, they have become more prominent and varied.

“I’ve noticed how the trends in plumes have changed really dramatically in the last two or three years,” says Keith Campbell of Band Today and “They’ve gotten a lot taller and fluffier. For years you designed a uniform and stuck something on top of it; plumes were an afterthought, but now they’re really becoming the focus.”

According to Campbell, 10-inch plumes are out of date, and 14- or 16-inch plumes are in fashion. In addition to height, styles have been changing to fountain or upright style plumes, multi-colored plumes and mylar plumes.

“We’ve got to be really careful that you don’t think they will just keep getting bigger,” Campbell says. “Drum corps are fairly mature adults; they can handle a taller plume, but a little freshman in a high school band can only handle so much.”

Campbell previously worked as a high school band director and uniform designer at DeMoulin.

And what kind of plumes does he predict may be popular in the future? “Soon, in the next 10 years, I think we will see an LED plume,” Campbell says. Visit

About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.