It was a sea of color as the Colts Cheer hopefuls took the field at Grand Park in Westfield on Saturday morning for the preliminary round of auditions.
There were pinks and purples, reds and greens, black, white, and lots of blue. There were sequins, stones, and sparkles too.
"This outfit, Hannah was generous enough to let me borrow," said Caroline B., who's auditioning for her third season. "I saw her in it last year and I loved it. I was like, 'Hannah, you have to let me wear that next year.' So, she let me wear it and I love it."
Picking an outfit for auditions is part of the fun. But with new outfits going for $100 and up, it gets expensive to come up with a new look every year.
"Some girls will make them out of t-shirts, some girls get them from discount dance supply stores and they can bedazzle it themselves or have it custom made for them," said Jessica R.
And the more bling, the more cha-ching.
Now trying out for her third season, Jessica brought back the top she wore to her first audition.
"I'm recycling it because it's been long enough and it's got a lot of memories and history to it."
Every cheerleader has a story and every outfit has a story – some of them have many stories.
For her fifth audition, Cortney borrowed her outfit from a former cheerleader, Anna. Two other cheerleaders have also worn it over the years.
"Rather than go out and buy something new and never wear it again, it's so much better to watch your friend wear your outfit and watch them get to enjoy it or borrow from someone and be like, 'Oh my gosh, it looked great on her and now it looks great on me and I'm so excited about it,'" she said.
It also takes a little of the pressure off.
"I spend a lot of time and I know the other girls spend a lot of time planning their outfits out, so taking the stress off someone else is really nice."
It may be a competition – but it's still a sisterhood. And part of the sisterhood of Colts Cheer is handing down the audition outfit that worked for you – and hoping it works just as well for her.
"They are so sentimental," said Ayda. "Instead of selling them and getting rid of them, you just recycle and share the love with your teammates."
Ayda is auditioning for her third season in the outfit Alexis auditioned in last season.
"It's so fun, deciding on the style, the color, and things look different on everybody and we have a lot to share and borrow from each other," she said. "We essentially have 26 closets that we can go through, if you think about it."
"It's kind of like 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,'" said Rachel. "You find yourself stalking all the photo galleries from the years before – what would look good with your hair color and what really caught your eye?"
Last year, for her rookie season, Rachel borrowed her outfit from a former cheerleader, Lauren.
"This year I opted to buy," she said. "I just really wanted to pick an outfit I felt very confident in that I wanted to wear and was excited about. It helps me out because next year, I'll have some collateral. I can trade with somebody if they want to swap something out."
For the past four seasons, Hannah has bought a new audition outfit every year – and year five was no different. She says loaning them out is part of the fun.
"I walked in the door and the first person I saw was Caroline and I was like, 'Her outfit looks so cute.' And then I was like, 'Wait. That's my outfit!'"
Before auditioning for her fourth season, Sammy sold all her old outfits on Instagram.
"Now, I'm seeing them everywhere and I want them back," she laughed.
And her outfits are easy to recognize because she has a trademark look.
"I always wear sleeves. Every year, I've had some outfit with sleeves, so I always try to incorporate that in. It's different, no one else wears them, and I think they're fun."
Standing out is what auditions are all about.
"We wear a matching uniform the rest of the year and it's iconic and we love it, but it's kind of your one shot to give somebody a glimpse into what makes you you and makes you unique," said Rachel.
2018 Cheer Auditions - FINALISTS
The right outfit can give them a little spark. And the more it's passed on, the brighter it shines.
"I don't think it's so much a superstition as it is, they're with me today – like a good luck charm," Jessica said.
"It's like passing around our little Sweetheart of the Horseshoe," Rachel said. "It feels like we're giving each other a little piece of our magic."