Post Classifieds

Uniform committee fights fashion crime

By Briana Buckles
On November 1, 2011

Norwich is welcoming a new style for the corps of cadets, with changes to the cadet uniform.

What started as a group of friends complaining about the outdated corps uniforms became a full force uniform committee that has already made strides in updating the look.

"It used to be a committee in the corps that kind of dropped off the face of the earth, but now it's back," said Emily Baugus, a 20-year-old junior studying construction engineering management from Kingsville, Texas, and a member of the uniform committee.

The committee has two members from each class as well as representatives from the regimental staff, to provide a broad perspective of opinions, Baugus said.

"It's hard for people who don't like to put on the uniform to get up and put on something that doesn't look very good," Baugus said.

The uniform committee has changed certain uniform items, such as the cadet summer jacket and the physical training (PT) running suit, which have been integrated into this year's rook class uniform issue.

"What we were looking for with the running gear was an update in the look," said Mary Roux, the uniform committee faculty advisor.

Committee members sought inspiration for the new PT suits from the German exchange students who had a sleeker, more athletic look to their running suits.

In pointing out flaws to the old gear, Baugus said, "The jacket was like a parachute and it wasn't easy to run in. It was uncomfortable and it wasn't considerably warm or weather resistant."

The old style running suit had custom tapes and streams that raised its cost.

To satisfy safety requests from the commandant's office, "everything that is written on it (the new running suit) is written in reflective lining," Baugus said.

Before implementing the new PT gear, many tests were run by the committee to make sure it could hold up to everyday corps uses.

"I like the product to be durable because it has to last four years," Roux stated. "It's got to be able to wash and wear because you guys do your own laundry and sometimes you have to be able to turn those around quickly."

Some upperclassmen are jealous of the class of 2015, the first class to wear the new item.

"It looks awesome and I wish I had a pair of the new PT gear," said Richard Jock, a 21-year-old senior physical education major from Port Huron, Mich. "If I wasn't graduating, I would probably buy myself a set."

According to staff at the uniform store, there has been an overwhelming amount of interest from upperclassmen cadets in purchasing the new uniform items.

In addition to the updated PT uniform, the cadet jacket has been changed "from a civilian-looking jacket to a more professional looking, military-style jacket," Baugus said.

The classes of 2013 and 2014 were issued a cadet jacket known as the justice jacket. This year's rook class has been issued the revised version of a cadet jacket, known as the Eisenhower jacket.

"We heard a lot of complaints with the Velcro (name tapes), and the buttons on the epaulets kept popping off of the justice jackets," Baugus said.

The uniform store must distribute the older style uniforms in stock first, before it phases in the new gear, which has caused a mix of uniform types within the class of 2015.

"I wish everyone on the upper parade ground looked more organized and had the same jacket or PT gear," Jock said.

Next year the phasing out of old uniforms will be complete and the entire class of 2016 will be issued the new gear.

The committee is now testing a new winter B uniform shirt.

"From the minute we started testing those (the shirts) out around campus, the cadets are asking a lot of questions because they really like it and they want it," Roux said.

There are many reasons, both practical and visual appeal, that the proposal to change the shirt from gray to black was brought up, according to the committee.

"People say it's a crime on fashion to try and wear the same color, top and bottom," Baugus said, "plus we all know that color fades and my pants and shirt would never be the same color anyway."

Originally, the committee tested out and wore a white and a black version of the shirt to assess the reaction of the campus and gather opinions.

"We took a survey and it was an overwhelming amount that said, ‘Hey, let's go with the black,'" Baugus said.

The committee is also testing for durability and overall effectiveness in the corps environment.

"We are trying to accommodate the cadets as best we can," Roux said, "We have to look at it from many different ways."

Some students say they are eager to see the new shirts become a part of the corps with its integration into next year's freshmen class.

"I think the new uniforms look sexy," said Meagan Snyder, a 19-year-old sophomore international studies and elementary education major from Colchester, Vt. "I can't wait until everyone is wearing them."

There has been a lot of excitement from the upperclassmen cadets who stop in the uniform store to ask about the shirt.

"Most of the reactions I get are that they like the black, they like the change," Baugus said. "Even the people who aren't in the corps like to see that our corps is sharpening up."

"I'm a civilian student and I'm even really excited for the change," Snyder said, "Everyone is going to look so much better with just a simple change in color."

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