Posted on Aug 23, 2017
MAJ Operations Officer (Opso)
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At what time in your career should you get dress mess? Why? Is it worth it?
Posted in these groups: General of the army rank insignia OfficerNcoa NCO AcademyAfp getty 511269685 Dress Uniform
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Responses: 96
SFC Francisco Rosario
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Edited >1 y ago
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I was a SFC in the US Army when I purchased the Dress Mess uniform. I did it because I truly believe that if you are a Senior NCO then you should not attend any ball or formal function in your Class A uniform with a bow tie. In my opinion that is not what a Senior NCO should do, that is what the lower enlisted do because they don’t have the money. But at the Senior levels it should be required, just like in the US Navy. Once an NCO gets promoted to Chief, they are expected to have such uniforms.
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SFC Gregory Fite
SFC Gregory Fite
5 y
I was a SFC and never bought the dress blues or the mess uniforms I was in the National Guard for 20 years and the pay for SFC national guard is not that great either I am retired now and am contemplating buys dress blues if my son goes in a graduates
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SGT Chester Beedle
SGT Chester Beedle
5 y
SFC Gregory Fite - That was the nice thing about the ASU... well in concept anyway. It was able to take the place of the green Class As, and with a change of tie [EDIT] and shirt, was the same as the old Dress Blues.
In reality it seemed to have just lowered the formality of the dress blues because other than the tie, [EDIT] and shirt for the formal wear, they look the same.
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SFC Michael Krogmann
SFC Michael Krogmann
4 y
I agree. I did the same thing as I believe it is befitting the rank.
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SFC Francisco Rosario
SFC Francisco Rosario
>1 y
SGT Jim Arnold - They both are appropriate, it is a matter of distinction between senior NCOs and junior NCOs (that was my BN CSMs opinion).
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WO1 Sole Proprietor
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To me, it's more of where you stand on etiquette than where you are in your career. I was married in evening mess blues, and to me, it was worth every penny. A proper black tie or white tie ensemble is very striking, and should be worn with confidence.

When an invitation calls for black tie, etiquette calls for more than a suit with a black tie. Black tie is a strict dress code which mandates a tuxedo with a black bow tie (absolutely not a four-in-hand tie). Tuxedo lapels are also different from suits, as they are not notched. If you are to attend a black tie affair, and would like to represent your service, or the event is of a military nature, the mess uniform corresponds to the tuxedo. If you are to attend a black tie affair, the ASU simply will not do; it would be poor etiquette. The Class A uniform corresponds to business attire. Although we wear a bow tie in the Dress Blues variation, I would venture to say it corresponds to cocktail or formal dinner attire, which by etiquette is a bit flashier than business attire, yet still lacks the formality of black tie. Only white tie (AKA: white tie with tails, or "full fig") is above black tie in formal evening wear. Corresponding to white tie with tails is the "evening mess" variation. As the most formal attire, it is extremely rare, essentially limited to presidential or royal galas. So, unless you opt to wear it for your wedding, it's unlikely you'll ever wear it. An advantage to the mess uniform, however, it's essentially black tie and white tie, in one purchase. Evening mess is not an expensive variation: only a tie, shirt, and vest. If you're attending someone else's wedding, remember it would be improper to outshine the happy couple. So, if you're likely to be the only one in uniform, it may seem peacockish, especially if you're not in the wedding party. On the other hand, when the other gentlemen look the same, your mess uniform will be distinguished, and will always outclass a rented tux.
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SPC David Willis
SPC David Willis
5 y
I never knew a fellow grunt could be so elegant. You should represent us all...
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Capt Bryson Blake
Capt Bryson Blake
5 y
Such a well-written post, Sergeant, probably the most articulate and structured post I've ever read on this site. And the points you made were spot-on! Well-done!
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SGT Chester Beedle
SGT Chester Beedle
5 y
Mess dress = black tie
Evening Mess Dress + white tie and tails.

Not many enlisted seem to even know about the Mess and Evening Mess uniforms.
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CW3 Network Architect
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I'm in a group on FB of Army officers where the prevailing wisdom is to buy them once you become a field grade officer, or if you're an aide. That might fly for active duty, and I'd suck up and deal if I were active duty, but for the Army Reserve (or the Guard), if you're TPU (M-Day to Guard personnel), it just doesn't pass the common sense test.
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CW3 Network Architect
CW3 (Join to see)
5 y
How? By spending hundreds of dollars on a uniform we might wear once in two to five years? No. That's foolish. Anyone judging my professionalism by whether I have the mess dress uniform is an idiot. Not worth my time.
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SGT Chester Beedle
SGT Chester Beedle
5 y
Even most active duty NCOs and Officers rarely need anything beyond the standard dress blues. Notice I said most. The people assigned to the State Department working at foreign embassies probably have a good need to have each version of their dress uniform with them, as well as multiple sets of standard ASUs for daily wear. Hopefully they get an extra clothing bonus for that position. If someone truly would need to be that formal, they could just buy it for the one time they would need it.
Then they'd probably just find excuses to wear it whenever they could even if that meant being overdressed at their state's "militia ball," if in the Guard.
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CAPT Hiram Patterson
CAPT Hiram Patterson
5 y
I wore my mess dress uniforms frequently while in the Navy Reserve and on two mobilizations.
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SGT Chester Beedle
SGT Chester Beedle
5 y
The Navy likes to play dress up more than the other services though. It was insane in the 90s when you have like 4 uniforms for just enlisted that they switched out during the year. Plus the BDUs, "cracker jacks," and like one or two others I think.
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