When’s graduation you ask?
It’s ghoulish, but true! Come October 31 and I will become the US Navy’s newest commissioned ensign. A scary thought!
Until then, I have a monumental mission to complete: pay off my uniform bill. Let me explain why it is a feat: The bill is approximately $3000. That’s about half my salary that I’ve earned since coming to this hellhole.
So what have I got for all my hard earned cash? Here’s a brief overview of the outfits I have been and will be modeling in future:
- 3 sets of NWUs–you guys have already seen these beauties. Top and bottoms are about $40 each. The eight-point hats (or covers, in military speak) are $8 or $9 I think. The NWUs are priced more *affordably* because both officers and enlisted wear them.
- PT gear, consisting of 3 pairs of shorts, 3 short sleeved shirts, and 2 long sleeved shirts. Also 2 sets of sweats. (Maybe you’ve heard: We do a lot of PT.) Shirts are like $25, shorts are $20, sweats are maybe $30 per item.
- 2 sets of khakis. Tops are $50 and bottoms are $75. Plus you have to iron them to keep them looking sharp BUT they are so cheaply made that the creases are held together with thin threads of glue, which means you can’t iron them, because an iron melts the glue. For real. This $125 uniform is a living laundry contradiction. The solution seems to be dry them at permanent press and take them out while still a little damp. Screw the iron.
- Of course, the 2 khaki cover options. The hot dog vendor cover, called the garrison cap, was god knows how much. The combination cover (which is the one that cartoon is wearing in the link above) was $135. Naturally, the women’s cover is more than the men’s.
- Service dress blues–these will make an appearance at Hi-moms and graduation. They are the Navy’s equivalent of a suit. I bought the cheaper set of some sort of polyester blend. The slacks were $100 and the coat was $250. The white blouse is some sort of miracle weave which never needs ironing (why this is not available in khaki is beyond me), so that was $50.
- Service dress whites. For when you need a suit between May and September. Again, another $250 for the jacket and $100 for the slacks. Oh, us ladies were not given the choice of buying a skirt or slacks–it was slacks only for us. So ignore the pictures of skirts. Skirts are an upgrade I can make later, when I have money again.
- Summer whites. (Annoyingly, I can’t find a photo of a woman wearing these with the slacks.) A uniform for when you want to look like driving a ship requires zero effort whatsoever. Or involves any oil splatters or black boot polish smudges. $50 for the blouse, $75 for the slacks.
- A crap ton of shoes. NWU boots-probably around $100, but I can’t remember. Black dress shoes for the service dress blues, $100 for the nice, actually real leather ones. White dress shoes for when you want a pair of shoes that get permanent grass stains on them the first time you wear them, $60.
- A crap ton of coats. The all-weather coat, which is a trench coat that serves neither to keep one’s head dry in the rain or to prevent one from sweating buckets, $200. The NWU parka, a huge monstrosity with a removable fleece liner that is itself a jacket, say, $200. I think we paid for the liner and the parka separately. The Eisenhower jacket, for looking too cool for school when paired with aviator sunglasses, I can’t remember how much.
- A crap ton of belts, belt buckles (which are sold separately-naturally), socks for every occasion (PT, boot, black dress, and white dress), undershirts in navy blue and white, insignia of course (your full spectrum of pins for blouses and covers), accessories like blousing straps, which are items which I will not even bother to explain, white gloves, shirt stays, etc., etc. Total expense: A lot.
- Tailoring. Because the uniform shop has to sew your name on your uniforms and also tailor your service dress uniforms and all your trousers. Total expense: Even more.
- Probably more stuff that I’m not remembering. Seriously, I have at least 2 large suitcases of stuff that we had to buy.
On a good day as a candidate officer, I change my clothes 3 times. Some days its 5 times. In the mornings it’s PT gear, then khakis for meals, then maybe PT again if I go to the gym on my own, and then NWUs for pass and review (more on this later) practice (this is because we handle weapons, and NDubs–as they are known colloquially–is the uniform for weapons handling) and then PT gear again for the evenings and as PJs.
Ok, have to wrap this up, but will write again soon. xx