Author Topic: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress  (Read 2920 times)

CthulhuChild

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Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« on: November 16, 2016, 11:29:06 PM »
Problem. Member of the Canadian forces. Dress manual requires us to purchase Mess Dress, essentially a tux for a certain type of dinner. I've been in for a few years, I *really* am supposed to have one, and it was noted (critically) by several superiors last mess dinner.

They're about $2000 new. I've watched for one used for 5 years. Haven't seen one that could fit, even with significant tailoring (I am huge dude).

I could probably get away without buying one, but only if I scrupulously avoid going to mess dinners. This happens at least once a year, and there is very serious career pressure to attend (if you're not military, it's really hard to explain. Think office Christmas party, that costs 75 bucks, dialed up to 11 , and people actually have fun, and it introduces you to colleagues you work with remotely 364 days a year but never get to see otherwise). Also, if I am ordered to go to a mess dinner (happens sometimes), the lead time to get dress made is 6 weeks and I will be in shit.

I plan on making a career of the military, and I really love the institution, but I really resent the requirement for this order of dress, and the moustachian in me questions whether it's worth bothering.

To my American military friends who have to buy all of their own uniforms at significant cost: I am sorry, and that really sucks, at least you get an extra cash allowance to do it. Also, your mess dress costs less than 500 bucks.

MsRichLife

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2016, 12:09:18 AM »
If you intend to be in for a while, want to advance and your superiors have already commented on your lack of Mess Dress, then to me it seems like a no brainer that you purchase the mess dress. Yes it sucks, but when in the military you have to learn to play the game.

I just FIREd after nearly 22 years in the military, and there are just certain things that you have to suck up if you want it to be a long term career.

pbkmaine

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Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 02:52:59 AM »
Echoing MsRichLife. This is part of "the cost of doing business". When I had a fancy job, I had to buy fancy clothes and go to fancy events. It was expected. Not doing so would have cost far more in career progression. Spend the money.

human

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 04:40:36 AM »
I'm not in the forces but I used to serve those types of dinners. Those red coats you have to wear are real fugly, I feel for you. Get a monocle and a cane and have some steam punk fun with it.

yachi

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 06:06:40 AM »
At least shop around.  I just found some online in 5 minutes of searching.  $1345 to $1170  for jacket pants & vest depending on rank and branch from Andreitailors.  $1150 to $950 from ralphscustomtailors.  I agree that if you want to keep up the career and the career requires it, then you need it.  I wouldn't hesitate doing your own measurements or having a trusted friend do them, and sending that to an out-of-area tailor to save $600.

bobechs

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2016, 10:12:02 AM »
At least shop around.  I just found some online in 5 minutes of searching.  $1345 to $1170  for jacket pants & vest depending on rank and branch from Andreitailors.  $1150 to $950 from ralphscustomtailors.  I agree that if you want to keep up the career and the career requires it, then you need it.  I wouldn't hesitate doing your own measurements or having a trusted friend do them, and sending that to an out-of-area tailor to save $600.

Hong Kong?

Find one or two other members of your service the same size and enter into a round-robin co-ownership of the basic uniform?  Kind of like shared ownership of an airplane?

Find out the name of every member of your service retiring or leaving service within the next six months (personnel office knows but may not say) and send an email blast to all offering to buy the uniform of your size?

TrMama

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2016, 12:05:28 PM »
My DH does not go to these events and it doesn't seem to have impacted his career at all. Note that he's not an officer, not sure if that's what made the difference. He's about to retire at the highest rank he can achieve without going back to school to get his commission.

CthulhuChild

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 11:15:17 PM »
Thanks for the input guys. The general consensus does seem to be that I need to get one, and the disagreement really only seems to be in how I should go about doing so (and the suggestions are helpful).

Bottom line, shop around or get really proactive in looking for big guys about to retire, but get it done.

Edit: Non-Commissioned Members (US calls them Enlisted) are not required to procure mess dress, and very few seem to acquire it. Service Dress (N2) with a bow tie, no headgear and no name tag, is the accepted alternative.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 11:17:26 PM by CthulhuChild »

Villanelle

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2016, 12:30:04 AM »
Problem. Member of the Canadian forces. Dress manual requires us to purchase Mess Dress, essentially a tux for a certain type of dinner. I've been in for a few years, I *really* am supposed to have one, and it was noted (critically) by several superiors last mess dinner.

They're about $2000 new. I've watched for one used for 5 years. Haven't seen one that could fit, even with significant tailoring (I am huge dude).

I could probably get away without buying one, but only if I scrupulously avoid going to mess dinners. This happens at least once a year, and there is very serious career pressure to attend (if you're not military, it's really hard to explain. Think office Christmas party, that costs 75 bucks, dialed up to 11 , and people actually have fun, and it introduces you to colleagues you work with remotely 364 days a year but never get to see otherwise). Also, if I am ordered to go to a mess dinner (happens sometimes), the lead time to get dress made is 6 weeks and I will be in shit.

I plan on making a career of the military, and I really love the institution, but I really resent the requirement for this order of dress, and the moustachian in me questions whether it's worth bothering.

To my American military friends who have to buy all of their own uniforms at significant cost: I am sorry, and that really sucks, at least you get an extra cash allowance to do it. Also, your mess dress costs less than 500 bucks.

There is a uniform allowance for enlisted personnel, but not officers.  Actually, I think there was a one-time allowance upon commissioning, but new uniforms have been required since then because of changes in uniform policy, promotion, and the fact that Husband is no longer fresh out of the academy and rail thin. ;)

Anyway, it definitely does suck.  Hopefully one of the suggestions below pans out so you can at least get one without shelling out the full $2000. 

Travis

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Re: Canadian Forces - Mess Dress
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2016, 05:32:38 PM »
Problem. Member of the Canadian forces. Dress manual requires us to purchase Mess Dress, essentially a tux for a certain type of dinner. I've been in for a few years, I *really* am supposed to have one, and it was noted (critically) by several superiors last mess dinner.

They're about $2000 new. I've watched for one used for 5 years. Haven't seen one that could fit, even with significant tailoring (I am huge dude).

I could probably get away without buying one, but only if I scrupulously avoid going to mess dinners. This happens at least once a year, and there is very serious career pressure to attend (if you're not military, it's really hard to explain. Think office Christmas party, that costs 75 bucks, dialed up to 11 , and people actually have fun, and it introduces you to colleagues you work with remotely 364 days a year but never get to see otherwise). Also, if I am ordered to go to a mess dinner (happens sometimes), the lead time to get dress made is 6 weeks and I will be in shit.

I plan on making a career of the military, and I really love the institution, but I really resent the requirement for this order of dress, and the moustachian in me questions whether it's worth bothering.

To my American military friends who have to buy all of their own uniforms at significant cost: I am sorry, and that really sucks, at least you get an extra cash allowance to do it. Also, your mess dress costs less than 500 bucks.

There is a uniform allowance for enlisted personnel, but not officers.  Actually, I think there was a one-time allowance upon commissioning, but new uniforms have been required since then because of changes in uniform policy, promotion, and the fact that Husband is no longer fresh out of the academy and rail thin. ;)

Anyway, it definitely does suck.  Hopefully one of the suggestions below pans out so you can at least get one without shelling out the full $2000.

US Army here. We got a $400 stipend to buy our formal service uniform "dress blues" upon commissioning.  With all the bells and whistles I think it came out to around $500 or so.  Thankfully I'm a naturally slender guy and only replaced the pants and shoes in the last 14 years.  The "mess dress" seems to be for Sergeants Major, Lieutenant Colonels and above who really want to rock the formal wear.  It's a $700 outfit for us.  I only ever wear my dress blues about twice a year, and thankfully nobody ever suggested to me that I buy a mess dress.  Attending these events is pretty much required once you reach Lieutenant Colonel, and is just strongly suggested for everyone below that.  If it wasn't for the binge drinking I'd probably attend them more often.

I did a search for Canadian Forces mess dress and found some options that appear to be less than the quoted $2000.

http://www.andreitailors.com/canadian-military-uniforms/canadian-army-mess-dress-uniform/