Redskins cheerleaders remind fans of 50 years of costumes

This evidently seemed like a good week for the Redskins cheerleaders to remind the world about the costumes they used to wear 52 years ago.

And so the cheerleaders tweeted out this image of their costumed history. Because there aren’t any parts of this image that will raise anybody’s eyebrows this week. Cool.

I don’t have an exact date on the first outfit, but it appears to be from the 1960s. The second outfit was adopted in the late 1970s, prompting this piece from legendary Post scribe Henry Allen:


(The Washington Post)

The roar! After years of bad crowds and a worse press, back when they looked like an ice-staking team from the Vatican, the Redskinettes just listened and listened as it crashed down from the Kennedy Stadium stands on Sunday, the great beery id-bellow of the American football fan.

“Did you hear that whistling ” said Redskinette Karen Anctil, moments after they dropped the capes. “You hear that?”

Redskins’ assistant general manager Joel Margolis worried yesterday.

“Some of those costumes have to be altered,” “Four or five of the girls were in them a little too far, if you know what I mean.”

And there’s the tan-line problem. The back of those new red-fringed, crocus-yellow uniforms is scarcely more than an afterthought, leaving twin triangles of untanned tushie in view. Some crowd debate also centered on the diamond-shaped panel which unleashes the naval as part of the Redskinettes offense against the rest of the league.

Up in the top tier on Sunday, Buck Meier of Silver Spring squinted out under his silver crewcut and over his beer belly.”Definitely,” he said.

Down on Halston Alley, in the mezzanine boxes, double-taken matrons wielded their most crushing sighs, one of them even warning: “I certainly hope we won’t see those costumes again next week.”

Mary Jo Horan, who gave her occupation as “mother of six.” countered: “Why not? We want ours to look as good as Dallas.”

In any case, the Redskinettes are making their bid to join the race which the Dallas Cowgirls have been winning big, with ever-closer competition from the Denver Broncs’ Ponty Express, the L. A. Rams, Embraceable Ewes, the Buffalo Bills’ Jills, the Miami Dolphins’ Starbrites, the Chicago Bears’ Honey Bears, and the Oakland Raiderettes, among others.

Dallas: The Redskinettes hate the word – they get so sick of telling friends that they work this hard, three and four hours every Wednesday night starting in April, fighting through 200-girl tryouts, sweltering in the D.C. armory . . . and then the next word out of everybody’s mouth is “Dallas.”

“We’re different type of organization than Dallas,” insists Redskinette captain Brenda Mosley, a D.C. probation offier. “I hate to see us copying a style, I’m a bit of a conservative on these uniforms, but the fans will like them.”

Says Margolis: “In today’s market, the old uniforms were conservative. We’re not gonna be left behind.”

In one of those mystifying generational leaps that takes us from Mozart to Beethoven, trench warfare to blitzkrieg, adding machine to IBM 360s, cheerleading has just vaulted into the future.

“Cheerleading is becoming nothing more than a battle of bellybuttons b-bs and bottoms,” says Bill Allen, once head of the Dolphin Dolls, a teen pep squad that got blindsided by the callipygian Starbrites.

Esquire put the Cowgirls on its cover last October. Last week ABC billed them as “the 36 Most Beautiful Girls in Texas” in a TV special. Cheerleaders are the biggest publicly acknowledged sex symbols since T-shirts started jiggling on television. Not that male minds haven’t always been getting permanently scarred by blinding flashes of tights as cheerleaders arched impossibly high into those flame-blue autumn skies over the eternal high school football field . . .

But, as usual, it’s not the heat, it’s the publicity that bothers guardians of virtue. It’s gotten so bad that Lawrence Herkimer, president of the National Cheerleaders Association, simply denies that the problem exists.

“They aren’t cheerleaders,” he says. “Most pro groups are dancers and performers. But they don’t lead cheers, so they aren’t cheerleaders.”

And so on and so forth. Here’s a visual history of the team’s cheerleading costumes, which suggests that several variations of the first costume were worn in the ’60s.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · June 24

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