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"Unofficial uniform"

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For me, it is really aesthetic.  Not all unofficial flair will make an ugly/cluttered/ridiculous uniform; but UP approved uniform, in full compliance with the guide to awards and insignia, will almost never look too bad. 

I don't have much artistic or design ability, so I stick to a simpler uniform.  I don't even like temporary patches much because they are either a pain to sew on and off or they are dangling things that can get caught on stuff.  Same reason I don't like the powderhorn or emergency preparedness insignia- more stuff to catch, clang, remove before washing, and put back on after. 

Wearing medals is a pain. That's why square knots exist.  They are tiny, unobtrusive, lightweight decorations that are harmonious with the uniform shirt design.  Heck, I kind of wish they would bring back the old minimalist council strips for the same reason.   

I try to keep the uniform something that I don't mind wearing in 90 degree heat while doing physical work.  It probably started as a youth habit because OA events frequently required a lot of physical work in full uniform. 

I say, if you look at the uniform and think it looks better with more stuff, no one is going to stop you;  but I recommend a backpacking shakedown approach- 'is it worth it to me to carry this extra stuff all day?'  For me, more stuff has always been more of a pain than its worth.  

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@Barkley421, I concur and would like to lend additional support to two of your thoughts.

1.  The uniform should be functional and outdoor oriented.  The BSA has moved away from that concept over the decades, unfortunately.  The expense alone causes many folks to leave it at home when going anywhere other than a meeting.

2.  Definitely bring back the plain council strips!  Or, the old community strips.  Simple and cheaper.  (Councils may not like it but so be it.)

 

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The clothing a Scout wears in the outdoor program is described in the The Boy Scout Handbook, 13th Ed., (2015)  as follows: 

"When you're headed outdoors to do something active, you can pull on a T-shirt with Scout pants [sic] or  shorts, or wear other clothing that is appropriate for the events of the day."

Id. at p. 21,.

 

Similar language appeared in earlier editions of The Boy Scout Handbook.

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23 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

@Barkley421, I concur and would like to lend additional support to two of your thoughts.

1.  The uniform should be functional and outdoor oriented.  The BSA has moved away from that concept over the decades, unfortunately.  The expense alone causes many folks to leave it at home when going anywhere other than a meeting.

2.  Definitely bring back the plain council strips!  Or, the old community strips.  Simple and cheaper.  (Councils may not like it but so be it.)

 

I definitely see the value in what you're saying, and agree with most of the points Barkley mentioned.

A few other inconvenient bling items of dubious utility....

* sashes (be it merit badge or OA)

* epaulets (...esp. with all the stupid little color tabs...)

* den chief cords

* anything with beads (WB, Cub Scout progress beads)

 

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

I definitely see the value in what you're saying, and agree with most of the points Barkley mentioned.

A few other inconvenient bling items of dubious utility....

* sashes (be it merit badge or OA)

* epaulets (...esp. with all the stupid little color tabs...)

* den chief cords

* anything with beads (WB, Cub Scout progress beads)

 

MB sashes...they are either too big or too small...about the time the sash fits properly, it's age-out time and the sash is entombed in a footlocker....

OA sashes...seeing these at more and more events that aren't OA or courts of honor.  Overkill.

Epaulets:  the single worse thing about the ODL uniform.  Unfortunately Oscar set a precedent and we must live with them still.  Completely unnecessary, they only add to uniform costs by including them in the shirt design.  Does it really matter who has blue or silver tabs?  It shouldn't.  And if we really must know what level someone works at, we can glance at their position patch on their left sleeve.

Den chief cords:  I'll admit, when I was a Second Class scout and received my first set of den chief cords, I was pleased with the bling factor.  But a position patch would suffice just as well.

Beads!  Plus their costly sibling, metal belt loops!  Pins, etc.  Add in a new neckerchief, slide and hat every time they progress and good grief, there's 30 bucks right there.  I believe the doo dads for the Cub program keep National Supply in business.  No hard facts, just seems that way.  When I visit a scout shop, I walk past the Cub Bling aisle and shake my head.  Are the cubs that impressed by all of this?  I don't think so.  Receiving their Wolf, Bear, Etc in due season is probably good enough.  As long as they are active and having fun, that's the main thing.

The older I get, the more I wished we could go to our local store and buy Dickies shirts and pants and call that our uniform.  Perhaps have a couple patches that are easy to sew or pin on and jettison the rest. 

PS  Added:  You mentioned WB badge beads...that was brave! :)  I think the WBers would have some "very strong words" against such a suggestion!  A critter revolution in fact :)

Edited by desertrat77

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18 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

PS  Added:  You mentioned WB badge beads...that was brave! :)  I think the WBers would have some "very strong words" against such a suggestion!  A critter revolution in fact :)

I actually don't find the WB beads too awful if worn with the necker.  The tuck around keeps them pretty unobtrusive and I do like how the turks head woggle actually holds everything together without slipping off.  I don't bother with wearing them on their own though.  

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

definitely see the value in what you're saying, and agree with most of the points Barkley mentioned.

A few other inconvenient bling items of dubious utility....

* sashes (be it merit badge or OA)

* epaulets (...esp. with all the stupid little color tabs...)

* den chief cords

* anything with beads (WB, Cub Scout progress beads)

Knots?

This really gets down to what belongs on a uniform? How about what you are currently doing is okay and what you've done in the past belongs on your wall? Other than military dress uniforms what other uniforms have history?

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I can tell this is an adult discussion. I relate with Barkley421 as to being a minimalist and my uniform represents that style. But, my scouts on the other hand liked adding to their uniform most of mrkstvns list. They didn't care to wear their MB sash on their shoulder, but really liked wearing it on their belt. On the other hand, they liked wearing the OA Sash on their shoulder and hated being restricted to only OA events. Our Scouts like all that pocket stuff, especially the OA. I don't know of any official BSA beads for the youth, but when we created our own Unit JLT course, they wanted to design their own beads for staffers. 

As for knots; again being a minimalist, I only wore the religious knot. However, I observed scouts starting conversations with adults about their knots. I was surprised to learn the many scouts actually knew what each knot represented and was intrigued with the adults scouting experience. For that reason alone, I don't mind adults wearing knots. 

I'm different from Barkley421 that I only liked wearing WB Beads because it was minimal visibility compared to the rest of the regalia. But, I didn't even wear the beads around the scouts because I felt like I was trying to bring attention to myself. 

Barry
 

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On 1/29/2020 at 2:51 PM, desertrat77 said:

 (Councils may not like it but so be it.)

That should be our new motto.

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23 minutes ago, David CO said:

That should be our new motto.

I may have been subconsciously thinking of my ASM/SM days in the '80s when I typed that....

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

I can tell this is an adult discussion. I relate with Barkley421 as to being a minimalist and my uniform represents that style. But, my scouts on the other hand liked adding to their uniform most of mrkstvns list. 
 

100% relate.  As a boy, I'd look for any opportunity to put anything I had on it too.  

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16 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I can tell this is an adult discussion. I relate with Barkley421 as to being a minimalist and my uniform represents that style. But, my scouts on the other hand liked adding to their uniform most of mrkstvns list.

Yep, it's so much easier to sew it on than talk about it. That has to be a guy thing. Even the adults say they like the knots so they know what to talk about when meeting another scouter.

I don't want to pick on wood badge but there are the stereotypical wood badge folks that used to give me grief because I didn't wear the WB neckerchief. I would tell them I had taken WB but I am a scoutmaster and so I will wear the troop's neckerchief. Let's be honest, if there were knots for WB then there would be no beads.

I know that people want recognition, I do as well, but there's a point where pride turns bad. When I was a scout I wanted bling, too. I'd rather some adult had sat me down and said "that's great! Enjoy your day in the sun, but tomorrow is a new day and you'll need to start over."

 

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The merit badge part of the discussion made me think a bit about the "oldest" days.  Shirts were long sleeved then, not sure when a uniform with short sleeves became available.  The first six MB's could be worn on the right sleeve up from the cuff in two's, though again will need to review, maybe the limit was not there initially.  Merit badge sleeves, attached sleeves for jus them, became an addition for a while, then replaced with the sash.  Early sashes were narrow.  I have seen some seriously cool early photos with scouts wearing sleeves covered shoulder to cuff almost.  Have tried to find even one for my assortment of stuff, but they are few and far between and more money than I prefer to pay.  I still remember though having three or four mb's on my right sleeve when I was first starting.  It was a big deal.  I occasionally wear WB beads alone with T or the basic shirt, but usually I have a neckerchief with the beads twisted to hold the tips down.  Only wear the complete WB setup on rare occasion.  Have one of the English neckers that is larger, and it fits well; my original one was way too short.  

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

I know that people want recognition, I do as well, but there's a point where pride turns bad. When I was a scout I wanted bling, too. I'd rather some adult had sat me down and said "that's great! Enjoy your day in the sun, but tomorrow is a new day and you'll need to start over."

 

And at what point does bling (stature) recognition become a bad thing? It's easy for us adults to have an opinion after a life full of experiences that teach us the values of vanity and integrity. But the biological instinctive nature of scout age humans drives the value of image over, well over everything it seems. I remember after doing a 5 miles shakedown for Philmont, we had all the scouts unload their packs so they might eliminate a few things to reduce weight. One scout had a 48 ounce jar of hair goo. And, he wasn't yet ready to unload that anchor because image was very important for him at that time. 

So, at what point does bling (stature, image, cool factor) become a bad thing? That is a challenging question for scout leaders. But there hope, we don't always have to have all the answers, after two more shakedowns, the scout decided to leave the hair goo in the car at Philmont. 

Barry

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I understood beads for WB, back when it was an advanced course for experienced scouters. Now that it is an intro to leadership (nothing wrong with that), having beads or other regalia for completing an intro course seems a bit much. There aren't beads, etc... for IOLS or SM Specific. Maybe it would make sense if there was an AOLS course.

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