Uniformly (not) Stupid

I’ve written any number of times about Army uniforms. But one of the most common uniforms I saw growing up wasn’t an Army uniform. Technically, it wasn’t even a uniform at all.

Perusing an old Friday Musings from Lex’s archives, the comments oddly devolved into a discussion of guitars, Cadillacs, and hillybilly music men’s fashion.  And I was reminded of an old anecdote of my father that I left in the comments there.

Blazer and grey slacks? Sure, that’s the unofficial uniform for retired Captains. But a pink shirt? Better not be any shipmates around to see him…

I think I’ve told this story before- at a parade outside NAS Whidbey, Dad and 8 other retired Captains gathered before the festivities. All but one were in blue blazers and grey slacks, white shirts, simple ties.

The odd man out? A black suit. He looked at the other Captains and said, “I have to go to a funeral right after this…”

In the era my dad served in, few officers had any great collection of civilian clothing. But every one of them had the blazer/slacks combo. They had to have something for social occasions that called for civilian clothing.

My mother, of course, worried that I didn’t have a suitable wardrobe after my joining the Army, made sure to send me a blue blazer and grey slacks. I didn’t have any occasion to wear them during that first tour, and I can’t really remember many occasions in the next two tours that would call for it. But I eventually moved far enough up the social scale that wearing a tie to any number of events was a requirement. And yes, hanging in my closet right now, is a blue blazer, and grey slacks.

5 thoughts on “Uniformly (not) Stupid”

  1. Well. Who knew? I wear the same darn thing nearly every day, often called my ‘uniform’ by bemused (or cranky) family members. I hadn’t observed that my semi-formal outfit was so universal. I do branch out, though, for daytime and warm weather; khaki slacks, sometimes fishing pants if I want to stay in character.

  2. I have seen the same briefing about 4 times now by various senior leaders in which, among various sound advice like “buy new t-shirts” and “ensure that your sock color matches your trouser color” (in civvies) describes the unofficial civilian uniform as blue blazer and khaki slacks. I have specifically opted for a nice brown vice blue. It has stood me in good stead, though I do stand out at times….

  3. One thing that got lost in the shuffle of Lex’s death was a stunt I planned to pull this summer, assuming I got to San Dog again (looks like I’m not since BLM has canceled CFedS activities for the summer). Harking back to the post swap between the Castle (by Lex), and on Lex’s place (by BillT). I planned to buy a Pink dress shirt, wrap it with a gift tag with Bill’s name and give it to Lex at Shakespeare’s. Bill said Lex is probably kicked back with a Guinness feeling smug that he dodged that one. Alas, that would have been a good one, particularly if we were able to record it and pass that clip around. Some people will go to extreme measures to avoid the hit.

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