Formal Evening Dress (AF) - Historical

Started by Hawk200, November 30, 2019, 04:09:07 pm

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Hawk200

I know it's a uniform, but it's an old design, just sharing because I thought others might find it interesting.

https://usafflagranks.com/usaf_formal_evening_dress_uniform.html

Was reading the latest 2903, and was wondering if there was any pics of this rare beast.

Apparently, it's been reauthorized (?) for Air Force wear. (Or, maybe it never went away, it was just almost never seen.)

I like the design, although I have no practical use for it.

Anyone know if CAP has ever had anything similar? (Yes, I know Mess Dress is currently authorized for CAP.)

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Chad.Rogers

If I'm not mistaken I've some photos at home of an AF band director who'd been Infantry in WW2 or Korea wearing this but that's about all I can think of. I'll try to remember to look when I get home.

Hawk200

Quote from: Chad.Rogers on November 30, 2019, 05:25:41 pm
If I'm not mistaken I've some photos at home of an AF band director who'd been Infantry in WW2 or Korea wearing this but that's about all I can think of. I'll try to remember to look when I get home.
I'm more curious about the Formal Evening Dress (it's at the bottom of the page,) which is basically Mess Dress with a white bow tie, a white vest (instead of a cummerbund,) and a button on each side instead of the front "chained" buttons.

It's distinctively different, but it's only a few items that make it so. It wouldn't surprise me if the cost of the the unique items is pretty low.

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THRAWN

Cool. Just found a couple of sites that compare the formal uniforms of the different branches with links to their current regs.

https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/tuxedo-black-tie-guide/advanced/mess-dress-military-formal/

And this chart makes it pretty clear the the Air Force is without a white tie equivalent
Strup
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HandsomeWalt_USMC

If you read the most current AFI, the AF white tie equivalent is called Formal Dress and consists of the mess dress jacket and trousers but with the shirt, tie and cummerbund replaced with a white wing collar shirt, white bow tie and white waistcoat. One also omits the chain button closure, mimicking the open front of civilian formal tailcoats. I believe it is also an officers only combination, for reasons that escape me.
HANDSOME SENDS

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PHall

I've seen it worn a couple of times by General Officers at extreme formal affairs that called for "white tie".

THRAWN

Quote from: HandsomeWalt_USMC on December 01, 2019, 06:26:06 pm
If you read the most current AFI, the AF white tie equivalent is called Formal Dress and consists of the mess dress jacket and trousers but with the shirt, tie and cummerbund replaced with a white wing collar shirt, white bow tie and white waistcoat. One also omits the chain button closure, mimicking the open front of civilian formal tailcoats. I believe it is also an officers only combination, for reasons that escape me.


Yeah, great, but still no boat cloak...
Strup
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N6RVT

I was one of the last people to have the "informal" black & white uniforms when I was commissioned in 1980.  By 1983 they were gone (and so was I) but they were beautiful.

I got to wear each of them one time.

Hawk200

Quote from: THRAWN on December 01, 2019, 03:59:13 pm
Cool. Just found a couple of sites that compare the formal uniforms of the different branches with links to their current regs.

https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/tuxedo-black-tie-guide/advanced/mess-dress-military-formal/

And this chart makes it pretty clear the the Air Force is without a white tie equivalent



That's a pretty neat site. Although, the ads are for items that are expensive. $300 (or thereabouts) for gloves is crazy.

Quote from: THRAWN on December 01, 2019, 08:11:52 pm
.....
Yeah, great, but still no boat cloak...


Well, not like we have a lot of boats.  ;D

Reading through 2903, I was a little surprised to not find any reference to an outer garment other than the topcoat. I could have sworn that in one time or another, the Air Force authorized a cloak. (Not a boatcloak, but a cloak.)

Quote from: Dwight Dutton on December 02, 2019, 11:33:43 pm
I was one of the last people to have the "informal" black & white uniforms when I was commissioned in 1980.  By 1983 they were gone (and so was I) but they were beautiful.

I got to wear each of them one time.


I remember finding a white coat/black pants style Mess Dress uniform in the supply room out in Colorado wing probably twenty years ago. It was nice looking, but I think I like the current "Formal Dress" configuration better. More "Air Forcey," I guess.  :)

Pinecone

Quote from: Dwight Dutton on December 02, 2019, 11:33:43 pmI was one of the last people to have the "informal" black & white uniforms when I was commissioned in 1980.  By 1983 they were gone (and so was I) but they were beautiful.

I got to wear each of them one time.

Are you talking about the mess dress with white and black jacket?

I had that uniform (also commissioned in 1980).  I purchased it for my UPT graduation dinner.  And then wore it to the MD ANG Military Ball one year.   

That second time, the blue mess dress was out, but the black/white version was still authorized to wear. 

I never did wear the white jacket.

N6RVT

Quote from: Pinecone on October 16, 2021, 01:51:12 pm
Quote from: Dwight Dutton on December 02, 2019, 11:33:43 pmI was one of the last people to have the "informal" black & white uniforms when I was commissioned in 1980.  By 1983 they were gone (and so was I) but they were beautiful. I got to wear each of them one time.

Are you talking about the mess dress with white and black jacket?

No, this.  It was the USAF equivalent to US army dress blue.  The White uniform was still almost identical to the Army one, you wore regular rank on it.  The only way to tell Army and USAF apart was to look at the shoes.  Army wore white shoes like the Navy did, USAF still wore the regular black ones.

Since 1983 the USAF has had no formal dress uniform, except for the marching band clown outfit the top generals wear sometimes.  They went from four formal uniforms to one, the all season blue mess dress we are familiar with today.


PHall

Quote from: Dwight Dutton on October 16, 2021, 03:33:32 pmSince 1983 the USAF has had no formal dress uniform, except for the marching band clown outfit the top generals wear sometimes.  They went from four formal uniforms to one, the all season blue mess dress we are familiar with today.

That must be news to the Air Force since they still have the "Formal Dress Uniform" in DAFI 36-2903.
Basically the Mess Dress Uniform with the following changes. Worn with white vest in place of cummerbund, shirt with wing collar and white bow tie. No chain fasteners are worn on the "formal" jacket.

N6RVT

Quote from: PHall on October 16, 2021, 06:41:13 pmThat must be news to the Air Force since they still have the "Formal Dress Uniform" in DAFI 36-2903.Basically the Mess Dress Uniform with the following changes. Worn with white vest in place of cummerbund, shirt with wing collar and white bow tie. No chain fasteners are worn on the "formal" jacket.

A "full dress uniform" and a "formal dress uniform" are two different things.  The USAF does indeed have a formal dress uniform.  They have not had a full dress uniform since 1983.  Look at the picture I posted.  Does that look like mess dress?

When the tails outfit went away the US Army also started wearing blue mess in a formal version like the USAF does.  This was the case when I was a US Army officer, though I never had occasion to wear it that way.  I also had full dress blues.  All they had in common was they did use the same pants.

I have seen CAP members wear the Formal Dress Uniform despite it not being in our regulations at all.

The Tony Pineda uniform was actually heavily influenced by he already discontinued USAF full dress.

PHall

So which is it? The Formal Dress Uniform or the Full Dress Uniform?
You called it the Formal Dress Uniform in all your posts except the last one.

N6RVT

Quote from: PHall on October 16, 2021, 10:50:54 pmSo which is it? The Formal Dress Uniform or the Full Dress Uniform? You called it the Formal Dress Uniform in all your posts except the last one.

My mistake then.  As the USAF has not had both in 38 years the distinction has faded.  Think of parade Vs. Parties.  You are never going to be in a parade in mess dress carrying a Martini instead of a flag.

FULL DRESS  = a more formal version of service dress in the same style of coat, but a different color

FORMAL DRESS = A waist length dinner jacket (mess dress) made more formal by changing some parts of it. to accommodate "white tie" events Vs. "Black Tie".  White tie events for all practical purposes no longer happen.

CAP does not have either, and as far as I know never has.

SarDragon

OK, folks, the snark level appears to be rising. Let's step back, have a libation, and turn it down a bit.
Dave Bowles
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Shuman 14

QuoteWhite tie events for all practical purposes no longer happen.

They are actually making a comeback. Shows like Downton Abbey and the Gilded Age are part the reason for it... that and three years being locked down.

I have a nephew who's fiancée is planning a "White Tie" dinner for their wedding reception.

As pointed out, the easiest thing is to use the USAF/CAP Mess Uniform, order two extra coat buttons, a white vest and bow tie and a winged collar shirt, and you went from "Black Tie" to "White Tie" pretty quickly and at not too great of a cost.
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Quote from: Hawk200 on December 01, 2019, 02:00:49 pmI'm more curious about the Formal Evening Dress (it's at the bottom of the page,) which is basically Mess Dress with a white bow tie, a white vest (instead of a cummerbund,) and a button on each side instead of the front "chained" buttons.

It's distinctively different, but it's only a few items that make it so. It wouldn't surprise me if the cost of the the unique items is pretty low.

Somewhat accidentally, I have all the components for this.  Truly,  it is not an expensive "white tie" modification to an existing uniform.  I should think the tie cost around $25, the vest just a shade more,  and two Hap Arnold buttons on toggles were in my insignia box.

Robert is my mother's brother.

Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
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flyboy53

June 13, 2022, 01:31:57 am #18 Last Edit: June 13, 2022, 01:41:31 am by flyboy53
I saw this uniform only once -- worn by the commander of the Alaskan Air Command back in the late 1970s. As formal as the uniform was, the likelihood of Civil Air Patrol ever having an event where such a uniform would be warranted is beyond my imagination.

That era was when men and women wore capes with their formal attire and bullion insignia was everywhere. We junior enlisted types were --thankfully -- only required to wear a white shirt and black bow tie, but nothing was as impressive as those uniforms.

My first mess dress uniform was purchased used ($25 dollars) from the thrift shop at Grissom AFB, IN sometime around 1978. It was the uniform with matching black and white jackets and cap covers. As I remember, it cost five times more to acquire the silver bullion stripes, insignia and miniature medals than the uniform was originally worth. Then, about a year or two after I purchased it, the Air Force retired the white mess dress.

I wore the black mess dress uniform three times, which is why I hesitated purchasing the new midnight blue mess dress; which in 1989, cost about $425 for everything. I welcomed that we were not required to purchase headgear, and never saw the need to transition the uniform to CAP insignia. The most major change for me was transitioning to the new stripes around 1994.

Certainly, this formal uniform is striking, but a suit works just fine these days.

Ultimately, I was glad

Garibaldi

Greetings, y'all...been a while.

I am in possession of a white AF dress uniform I inherited from our supply. I can only find one reference to it anywhere on the web. Wondered if it had any relevance to CAP.
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