Gear and Uniforms: Tips and Tricks

Proper wear of uniforms is essential no matter what the context. It is a sign of respect as well as gives a good physical appearance. Black leather combat boots should be kept shined and in good shape. There is also something known as an “Inspection Shine”, which adds extra shine to the toes of the boots. Laces should always be tucked in, giving a cleaner appearance. Pants are usually tucked into the boots in lieu of blousing. For those that wish to properly blouse their pants, straps should be obtained which are specific to blousing. Various techniques, which can be found on and other sites, are recommended.

Belts should always be worn as well. The color and type of the belt varies depending on the uniform. The ACU (Army) and MCCUU (Marine) uniforms use a nylon webbed belt. The blouse, otherwise known as an over shirt, should never be tucked in. It is designed to fall below the belt. Some uniforms have pockets in the lower areas, so tucking it in would cover those. Pockets should also not be so full as to sag and bulge. Covers, hats to everyone else, are another part of the uniform that care should be taken in their wear. A cover should fit snug but not pulled down upon the head. It generally rests upon the head and should not touch the ears. It is truly just a “cover” instead of a hat. Eight point covers, my favorite, should not sag in appearance. Covers should also not be worn indoors, similar to wearing a hat indoors. Storage of the cover varies by military branch. Some allow it to be folded, others require it to be held to the side. In general, keep it in good shape and don’t just stuff it into a pocket.

Other aspects of uniform wear are more specific to each style of uniform. Marine and Navy uniforms share many design features, though the Marine uniform is more designed for combat. The Navy uniform is designed for work, hence its name “NWU“ Navy Working Uniform. The NWU uses a zippered fly instead of the button fly common to the rest of the combat uniforms. Pockets tend to be buttoned instead of using hook and loop closures. Army uniforms use hook and loop closures throughout the uniform, which has been seen as a design flaw.

So, when you’re going out in a uniform, show it some respect. Our armed forces wear this gear every day and work hard for it. I’ve had many active duty personnel tell me that I not only did a good job with my uniform, but they even offered tips to make it better. I certainly consider that a sign that I have done at least a decent job with my gear. I write this to help others do well with their gear.

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