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Dress blues too dressy?


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Although I am retired Navy Chief Petty Officer  and have been for a number of years, I still take pride in wearing somethings that makes it clear of to others that I was in the in the service.  On formal and semi formal evening, will wear one of my CPO devices, mini medals and my warfare badge.  I believe in being proud of my service.

 

 

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On 1/28/2020 at 8:38 PM, iraschurig said:

The only times I ever wore my mess dress was on cruise formal nights.  Not out of place at all.

 

We had issues with the "Mess Dress" many cruises ago.  All of my group is retired and some wanted to wear the "Mess Dress" (AF equivalent of a tux) and a couple did.  But someone asked if they were retired and when they replied they were they were told it wasn't authorized!  Sure enough the AF regulation for retirees says unless you are on the cruise (or whatever event it is) or invited only because of your military service - the "Mess Dress" is not approved.  The Class A (Blues) uniform is - and you can wear your miniature medals from the "Mess Dress" on your suit coat.  Had I been able to fit into my "Mess Dress" I might have worn it..but as someone above said, then it all becomes all about the uniform and that wasn't appealing 🙂

 

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On 5/1/2021 at 8:13 PM, jeynon said:

Definitely appropriate!  I am retired Navy O-5 and would not hesitate.  I have been on cruises where retired flag officers dressed out in Dinner Dress Uniforms...the most formal a Navy officer can dress. (equivalent to civilian Tuxedo wear) Wear the Service Dress Blues with pride!

 

Concur.  I am also a retired Navy commander.  So far, my wife and I have taken only one pleasure cruise, and I wore my service dress blues on formal night and the nights we dined in specialty restaurants.  (I would have preferred to wear my mess dress on formal night, but I didn't want to haul an extra uniform that I would wear only once.)

 

WRT what Billoftt warned about someone in a Navy dress uniform being mistaken for a ship's officer, aye, I had that experience---twice.  Once, when I walked into the Neptune Lounge on the way to dinner, and I saw the concierges instinctively snap to.  "We thought you were the captain at first," one of them admitted to me later.

 

The other occasion arose when my wife and I were in an elevator to attend formal night in the MDR.  One of the two other ladies in the elevator asked, "Excuse me, are you the captain?"

 

After we stepped off the elevator, my wife said, "You loved that, didn't you?"  I had to admit, I kind of did.

Edited by CDR Benson
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  • 4 weeks later...

I wear mine at least once on every ocean cruise. I am 71, retired from USAF in 96 after almost 30 years.  I like waving the flag and have always had very positive responses.  Especially from the ladies.  The ladies seem to really like to see men dress up and mess dress is all I would wear.

As to fitting, one can always go to uniform shop on base and just get one that fits.  So far mine has not shrunk beyond where I can wear it.

20160826_172445.jpg

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2 hours ago, Retired grandparents said:

I wear mine at least once on every ocean cruise. I am 71, retired from USAF in 96 after almost 30 years.  I like waving the flag and have always had very positive responses.  Especially from the ladies.  The ladies seem to really like to see men dress up and mess dress is all I would wear.

 

 

Navy sends Air Force its respects!

 

I couldn't agree more.  I firmly believe in dressing for the occasion.  I recall hearing an account from one of the more well-known cruise bloggers about attending a formal night on board a cruise, in which a ship's photographer was set up to take photos of the couples before they entered.  The blogger related many instances of the ladies being dressed to the nines for the occasion.  Hair perfectly coiffed, elegant cocktail dresses or evening gowns, all set for the big night.  And then their significant males showed up in t-shirts, beard stubble, and baseball caps turned backward.  The dismay and disappointment on their ladies' faces was palpable, reported the blogger.

 

I would have preferred to wear my mess dress to formal night, as well.  But wearing my service dress blues was a forced compromise.  During the voyage, I had other occasions in which a suit would have been appropriate.  Instead of packing both a suit and a mess dress uniform, I opted to conserve luggage space (and, more germane to airline charges, luggage weight) and pack just my service dress, which would serve on both the formal night and the instances when I needed a suit.

 

Being able to wear our service or mess uniforms with pride is one of the privileges we earned with retirement.  Yours does you credit, sir.

 

 

Edited by CDR Benson
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  • 4 months later...

As much as I would like to wear the mess dress as a Legalman Chief Petty Officer, USN, I have not had the opportunity nor the inclination to purchase a new dress uniform for sailing occasions.  But what I do wear for formal nights, dining and formal gatherings is a dark jacket and pants.  On the lapel of my jacket would and will be mu CPO device, my Seabee Combat Warfare badge and my medals (all in miniture).  Works for recognition, and happy with it.

 

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On 6/19/2022 at 10:15 AM, ChiefLnc7 said:

As much as I would like to wear the mess dress as a Legalman Chief Petty Officer, USN, I have not had the opportunity nor the inclination to purchase a new dress uniform for sailing occasions.  But what I do wear for formal nights, dining and formal gatherings is a dark jacket and pants.  On the lapel of my jacket would and will be mu CPO device, my Seabee Combat Warfare badge and my medals (all in miniture).  Works for recognition, and happy with it.

 

I wear a set of four miniature medals on the left pocket of a dark suit jacket in their order of precedence.  Not sure where I would put my MCPO device and am assuming it would be a small collar device; not the large hat device.  I also served six years as a Chief Warrant Officer, but retired as a Master Chief.  Don't think it would be proper to wear both, though.

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It's possible the Uniform Regs regarding the wearing of miniature devices and medals on civilian attire have changed in the sixteen years since I retired.  But, as I remember them, there was no provision for wearing rank devices with civilian attire.  But, guess what?  In this case, old stickler-for-the-rules Commander Benson doesn't care.

 

You gents have earned it---making C.P.O. is a singular achievement---and I have no problem with you displaying it (albeit tastefully), even if only other old salts like me would know it for what it means.

 

In the cooler months, I wear my leather flight jacket (I'm a S.W.O., but my first duty station was a carrier and I got it there; forty-two years later, it still fits) with civilian clothes.  In fact. I'm bringing it with me on our September cruise to Canada/New England.  So, I certainly understand the reverence one feels for his successful career of military service.

 

Wear your C.P.O. pins with pride, shipmates.

 

 

Edited by CDR Benson
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I think I will leave the collar devices at home and just wear the miniature medals.  Better to be subtle.  Usually someone at our table will ask what they represent and that is enough to start a conversation.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/21/2022 at 10:10 AM, CDR Benson said:

It's possible the Uniform Regs regarding the wearing of miniature devices and medals on civilian attire have changed in the sixteen years since I retired.  But, as I remember them, there was no provision for wearing rank devices with civilian attire.  But, guess what?  In this case, old stickler-for-the-rules Commander Benson doesn't care.

 

You gents have earned it---making C.P.O. is a singular achievement---and I have no problem with you displaying it (albeit tastefully), even if only other old salts like me would know it for what it means.

 

In the cooler months, I wear my leather flight jacket (I'm a S.W.O., but my first duty station was a carrier and I got it there; forty-two years later, it still fits) with civilian clothes.  In fact. I'm bringing it with me on our September cruise to Canada/New England.  So, I certainly understand the reverence one feels for his successful career of military service.

 

Wear your C.P.O. pins with pride, shipmates.

 

 

Thanks.

 

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This discussion goes on for years and years and always makes me go and look at the current regulations.  I'm not one of the "I don't care what it says" kind of guy, and what I found this time really screwed with the only slightly considered plan to wear my medals on my suit coat.  According to the latest AF regulation medals can only be worn (by retirees) in appropriate civilian clothes on military related holiday events (Memorial Day, Veteran's Day etc) or when invited solely because of your affiliation with the AF (which is the same limitation for wearing the Mess Dress).  The other thing that was interesting is that there can only be one row - so pick which ones are the most important if you have several 🙂

 

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  • 7 months later...
On 7/4/2022 at 8:37 AM, ChiefLnc7 said:

Thanks.

 

 

Sir, you know what they always say "A Chief can become an officer, but an officer can not become a Chief."  We have standards.  (Anyone laughing?)

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  • 10 months later...
On 6/21/2022 at 4:11 PM, USN59-79 said:

I think I will leave the collar devices at home and just wear the miniature medals.  Better to be subtle.  Usually someone at our table will ask what they represent and that is enough to start a conversation.

I would just wear the medals, but then people wonder what they are for or from what service.  So, a collar devise and small SCW device usually gives them some indication that they are not Boy Scout or NSCC awards.  Also, on my jacket at work, we are allowed two "pins"  and it has been a thorn in my side, but I wear a full size SCW device and CPO cap device.  Hey, I only have two pins on my lapel for work.  Talk with other vets so it makes for a good rapport with people coming in.

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On 12/12/2021 at 8:55 PM, bjkTX said:

We had issues with the "Mess Dress" many cruises ago.  All of my group is retired and some wanted to wear the "Mess Dress" (AF equivalent of a tux) and a couple did.  But someone asked if they were retired and when they replied they were they were told it wasn't authorized!  Sure enough the AF regulation for retirees says unless you are on the cruise (or whatever event it is) or invited only because of your military service - the "Mess Dress" is not approved.  The Class A (Blues) uniform is - and you can wear your miniature medals from the "Mess Dress" on your suit coat.  Had I been able to fit into my "Mess Dress" I might have worn it..but as someone above said, then it all becomes all about the uniform and that wasn't appealing 🙂

 

You mention that "the AF regulation for retirees says unless you are on the cruise (or whatever event it is) or invited only because of your military service - the "Mess Dress" is not approved."  But in a "sense" we are being invited by the cruise line to join them on this or that cruise, correct?  See ads that say "You are invited...." or "Come join us....." or "Come and be part of.....", so as I said, you or we are being invited to join them.  Of course, it is not an open, free invitation, but we pay for the privilege of being invited.  Just saying.

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