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These are the best military uniform items authorized for use in civilian attire

Ruddy Cano Avatar
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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Aubuchon) U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Caba Bryan, a Marine with Headquarters Battalion, 3d Marine Division, honors the Marine Corps birthday by conducting unit physical training on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 10, 2020. The Marines executed 10 different exercises and 245 repetitions in total to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 245 years of service. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Aubuchon)

Military uniforms are packed with historical information. From the blood stripe on an NCO’s trouser to the missing Cuba EGA on an officer belt buckle, every article of clothing has a story to tell. Uniforms demand respect not because of the person in the uniform but for the fallen. Out of respect for our country and corps. With this in mind, it is no wonder service members want to show their pride of service without dishonoring the uniform. Technically once you’re no longer bound by the UCMJ any troop could wear their unauthorized uniform items any time they want. Yet, many choose not to do so. This begs the question, what can I wear that would be acceptable to wear? If we do not respect our own uniform it becomes a slippery slope where civilians will misinterpret that. Remember when 50 cent wore those stolen valor dress blues in 2013? I do.

Marines with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion stand in formation during an award ceremony here, Jan. 22, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph D. Scanlan)

One of the most common questions veterans and retired service members have is whether they can still wear their uniform tie claps. It’s subtle yet gently reminds clients and coworkers that you have another perspective on viewing things. I would recommend using all three instead of just one alone for the sake of uniformity. However, I like to use the uniform tie clasp and and my own custom cuff links that may have my unit on them or something to that effect. Believe it or not gents, these items are classified as jewelry for men as well. You’ll be surprised how much jewelry men wear in the civilian world and not realize it.

For individual PT: General purpose trunks and cold weather physical training uniforms

My motivation is sky high whenever I see one of my favorite war movies. So, it is a great time to also bring myself down a peg by reminding myself how annoying group PT is. There is a school of thought of doing so is disrespectful to the uniform so most veterans do not. Rest assured that you can get up at 0400, run 6 miles and some random pyramids, in order to pack more patriotism in your body. After you puke last night’s pizza and beer, as is tradition, you’ll have a moment of clarity where being a civilian is not so bad. Anyone is authorized to wear PT gear in the civilian world because its allowed under Uniform Regulation 1005 and supported by MCO P10120.28.

For camping as a civilian: Gortex top and bottom, combat boots

I do not like rain coats. I’m not sure why I have an unreasonable bias against them. Maybe it’s the yellow, maybe it is that the materials are not a sturdy as a Gortex and any accidental rip would reveal my massive insecurities and soul-crushing existential dread. No, it’s the yellow. I really missed my Gortex whenever I ventured out camping. Not regular camp grounds camping, hike out to nature on a trail and set up shop with a view style camping. So, I sport my personally-owned Gortex whenever I’m out in the wilderness. It’s just a really well designed field uniform item in my book and my personal favorite. The combat boots are pure nostalgia if you want to go all in on the experience too.