Cadets Set Standards for Walking Out Dress

A new age of business casual walk-out dress for cadets

By: Catie Keyser

Catie Keyser

Catie Keyser

Gone are the days of flip flops, ragged jeans, and youth-inspired graphic t-shirts. The time has come for the cadets of the Royal Military College to wear a ‘business casual’ uniform both on and off the peninsula in hopes of earning the reputation of professionals in society.

An off-peninsula cadet civilian dress code in the past few years has not existed. Only the first year cadets were restricted to wearing the 4’s uniform until the second semester Cadet Wing Commander (CWC) granted them permission to wear civilian clothing. In more recent years, cadets were instructed to wear the Cadet Dining Hall (CDH) standard in town, although this was never rigorously enforced. In brief detail, the CDH standard consisted of collared shirts, blouses that covered the shoulders for the ladies, any particular type of casual pant including well kept jeans, and appropriate casual shoes (no sneakers or skate shoes).

The Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada, Commodore William S. Truelove, brought forth the motion to change the order of the off-duty dress early in the first semester. He wished to bring back standards similar to those of his days at the Royal Roads Military College, from which he graduated in 1985.

The main intent of the new dress standard is to develop presentable junior officers, and ensure that the student population will better represent both RMC and the CF. The new standard focused on building a business-appropriate wardrobe for the students, with a year by year distinction, and more leniency with each progressing year.

To create the new standards for the Off Duty Dress, first semester CWC Nick Bouchard tasked first semester Cadet Squadron Leader of 12, IV Matthew Hou 24742 to head a committee of cadets in order to make recommendations to the Director of Cadets, LCol Tony J. O’Keeffe.

When asked about the selection of the committee, IV Hou had this to say, “I had the distinct honour of chairing a committee composed of four well-spoken cadets from each year. Each cadet was carefully selected to equitably represent the College’s many facets with respect to gender, language group, varsity status and bar slate position. The minutes of our meetings have been distributed to the Wing to make our work as transparent and responsive to the cadets as possible. Furthermore, we benefited from the experience, advice and perspectives of a very well-respected Div. Cmdr, Maj Parisien, and senior NCO, CWO Chiasson.”

The committee worked hard to develop a suitable standard, and although the cadets were reluctant at first, they cannot deny the positive feedback that has been received from the populous of Kingston. Although like all changes, some cadets are still finding it hard to adjust. When asked about their thoughts on the matter, 92% of randomly chosen cadets answered that their main concern lay within the absence of funding for their new wardrobes. The committee looked into obtaining discounts at retail stores, but have not had much success. This is an area still being looked into.

The new Cadet Wing Commander, Mr. Ian Wookey stated, “I am happy to see that the Cadet Wing has, in large part, embraced such a significant change in our daily routine. Nothing of this magnitude comes without its challenges, but I am confident in the abilities of cadet leadership and I know that all cadets will be able to take pride in distinguishing themselves as lady and gentlemen cadets of RMC through the new dress standards.”

Mr. Wookey has stressed that all four barmen and up will adhere to the 2nd year standard, in order to help integrate the new order of dress, as well as to show the support of the upper years. The Military Wing as well as the UTPNCM’s of Otter Squadron have both agreed to wear the 4th year standard.

The new standard is detailed as follows:

Special thanks to the two models: II Eric Henderson 25191 from 1 sqn, and IV Jenna Cross 24507 from 1 sqn. (Click on photos for larger view)

Males

1st years:

Will wear 4’s until authorized by the CWC, in which they will wear the 2nd year standard.

2nd years:

s

Will wear a long-sleeve dress shirt and tie with dress pants, or dress shirt with sweater and dress pants. Dress shoes or dress boots must be worn, and short sleeve dress shirt is allowed in warm weather.

3rd years:

s

Are entitled to wear a collared shirt (polo) with khakis, as well as any of the second year options.

4th year:

s

Will wear the 3rd year standard with the additional option of nice jeans.

*appropriate dress shorts are permitted in warm weather.

Females

1st years:

Will wear 4’s until authorized by the CWC, in which case they will wear the 2nd year standard.

2nd years:

s


Will wear button down shirts with a pressed collar, blouses that cover the shoulders, cardigans or vests, skirts no shorter that knee length without nylons or tights, and dress pants or capris or knee-length shorts in warm weather. Shoes include pumps, dress flats, dress sandals, and nice cold-weather boots.

3rd years:

s


Can wear any of the 2nd year options, but are also entitled to wear polos and shirts with a minimum of 2cm-wide shoulder straps; all of which must cover the back and look presentable in an office-type setting. Bottoms and shoes are the same as the 2nd year standard.

4th years:

s

Will wear the 3rd year standard with the additional option of nice jeans.

The new standard is detailed as follows:

Males

1st years:

Will wear 4’s until authorized by the CWC, in which they will wear the 2nd year standard.

2nd years:

Will wear a long-sleeve dress shirt and tie with dress pants, or dress shirt with sweater and dress pants. Dress shoes or dress boots must be worn, and short sleeve dress shirt is allowed in warm weather.

3rd years:

Are entitled to wear a collared shirt (polo) with khakis, as well as any of the second year options.

4th year:

Will wear the 3rd year standard with the additional option of nice jeans.

*appropriate dress shorts are permitted in warm weather.

Females

1st years:

Will wear 4’s until authorized by the CWC, in which case they will wear the 2nd year standard.

2nd years:

Will wear button down shirts with a pressed collar, blouses that cover the shoulders, cardigans or vests, skirts no shorter that knee length without nylons or tights, and dress pants or capris or knee-length shorts in warm weather. Shoes include pumps, dress flats, dress sandals, and nice cold-weather boots.

3rd years:

Can wear any of the 2nd year options, but are also entitled to wear polos and shirts with a minimum of 2cm-wide shoulder straps; all of which must cover the back and look presentable in an office-type setting. Bottoms and shoes are the same as the 2nd year standard.

4th years:

Will wear the 3rd year standard with the additional option of nice jeans.

16 Comments

  • Mike Smith

    January 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Just curious about something… is there a distance component to the dress standard? When I was at CMR in the ’80s, we could remove our regulation dress (I think it was 4s for Preps, 6s (blazer and flannels) for 1st years, civilian suits for 2nd years) when we were a certain distance from the college (20 kms maybe?), we could change into anything we wanted. The practical effect was that when we reached the Metro station in Longeuil, we’d all change into jeans and t-shirts and store our uniforms in lockers at the station before catching the metro to Montreal.

  • Jean Caron, major

    January 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Enfin, un retour à la civilisation. Depuis ma graduation du CMR en 1984, mais plus récemment, on remarque un laissez aller désolant de la part des jeunes officiers, même ceux en provenance des CMC, concernant l’habillement en général, et même dans les mess. On a de plus en plus de difficulté à inculquer à nos jeunes officiers que les jeans ne sont pas acceptable comme tenue au mess et cette mentalité vient en grande partie du manque de rigueur à ce niveau dès le début de la carrière. Il n’est pas rare de rencontrer des officiers juniors gradués des CMC qui n’ont ni veston, ni cravate dans leur garde robe. (je parle évidemment des messieurs)
    Merci Commandant de remettre un peu d’ordre à ce niveau!
    jc

  • John R. Graham

    January 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    In the class of 1985, we wore 4s in first year, and most of 2nd year, then college blazer and flannels (6s?) for rest of 2nd and 3rd year, then civvy suit & tie for 4th year (if my memory serves me, although my first two years were at Royal Roads). I recall my roommate (nameless) used to get his uniform more than a little sullied at the pub. He thought that the great benefit of wearing a uniform was that the taxpayers paid to have it dry cleaned. It did nothing to improve his deportment. (He was and is a great fellow.) The newly proposed standard looks pretty reasonable to me.

  • Steve Young 14153

    January 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Interesting that in the active military, the highest ranking officers (and non-commissioned members) tend to be better dressed than their juniors. It appears here that the dress code outlined here is just the opposite. As a cadet, I always found it strange that the senior cadets at the college, those soon to graduate and join units, could dress like bums when I wore a tie. It’s all a matter of balance, of course.

    The junior officers in my unit make a point of being sharply dressed when the opportunity presents itself. At other times, of course, they wear what they like. Those are the lessons that should be imparted on our future leadership, and that should begin at the College.

  • Lionel Boxer

    January 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    This is very slack – rethink it. It breeds the sort of habits that leads to naval officers going out for dinner dressed in soiled t-shirts and jeans with a retired senior Canadian naval officer. Sure, I am 52. While I prefer to dress like a ferral bush-pig at times, I cannot understand how anyone thinks this is an appropriate sort of dress for someone who is representing the Royal Military College of Canada unless they are an off-duty grounds keepers. I remember being offended when I saw RMC civilian staff members walking the streets of Kingston wearing jeans and an RMC t-shirt. I suppose now I will be offended when I see an RMC Cadet walking the streets of Kingston.

  • Don Currie RCNC 280

    January 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Dress code is meant to establish individual pride in one’s appearance and to create a positive impression of RMC in the eye of the public. Perhaps a relaxation of the dress standard might be appropriate on an individual basis, where justified by the activity, for example some sports.

  • Richard Ronholm, 18890

    January 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I don’t believe that the current dress code needs to be based on any specific reminisces of prior years, however far back that goes. If we went by that mind-set, how far back do you go? 25 years? 50 years? 100 years? The main idea is to be suitably presented for the occasion. I believe the standard presented is reasonable except the option of 4th years wearing jeans. Although there is a time and place for jeans, and of course I myself often wear them, I do not think it properly represents the image either of Officer Cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada, or the rest of us as commissioned officers either.

  • Mitch MacLeod

    January 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Looks fair to me again with the exception of jeans mentioned above. On the otherhand I wear jeans daily to work as does everyone else in Fort McMurray, so perhaps my feelings are two faced, ie do as I say\suggest, not as I do. I recently turned down a job offer in part because 5 of 6 interviewers, the sixth being a woman, were wearing ties. No one except lawyers and undertakers in this town wear ties, and given my tie wearing days are long past, I was not prepared to join that company as a manager wearing one.

  • Rob McDermot

    January 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Like Mitch, my dress of the day is jeans due to the fact that my job at CFB Esquimalt requires that, on occasion, I may be required to “get dirty”. So it would be hypocritical of me to suggest that denims should not be allowed, however I will say that of the three photos of both the young man and the young lady modelling the suggested atire the dress for the fourth year cadets is the least professional and in both cases it is NOT the trousers that cheapens the image. Are not the fourth year cadets supposed to set the standard the younger cadets look up to? If we are to use the arguement that we are trying to represent RMC and the CF with a business appropriate wardrobe, then shoudn’t ALL the cadets be expected to sport the same dergree of business attire – they all represent RMC, do they not? I know the senior officers and NCMs around my work place are the ones with the more stringent dress codes.

  • David Lincourt (14791)

    January 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I am from the Class of 1985. We had a similar dress policy back then and like this one, find that it puts the emphasis on the wrong aspect of this topic. It should not be about “rank has it’s privilege”, but rather learning to dress for the occasion.

    Is it appropriate dress to have a burger at a fast food joint in a shirt and tie? Is it appropriate to wear nice jeans at a high end restaurant? I would say no to both of these questions. Just like you would not wear your mess kit on a patrol or vice versa.

    Yes, it’s more complicated to administer but in the end, isn’t what we want the Cadets to learn?

  • Jeff Upton 3387

    January 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    me dress code applied during my two years at RMC. Regimental life required shirt, tie, and jacket in the Mess: the high standard of dress demanded at Royal Roads and RMC prepared one well for that aspect of regimental life.

  • Jeff Upton 3387

    January 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I was surprised to learn that for quite some time cadets have not been required to wear college uniform when “walking out”. At Royal Roads (1951-53), all cadets were required to wear College dress blues and carry capes “ashore” when on leave. No civilian clothing was permitted in lockers.On mid-term “stand down weekends” we were allowed to wear college blazer and flannels , vice dress blues while on leave. The only time jeans were allowed off campus was at Christmas time when cadets travelling east by Colonial railcoach were permitted to wear them ONLY IN the coach: dress blues were obligatory dress for exiting the coach . Indeed, the same dress code was in effect at RMC, and it was excellent preparation for regimental Mess life.

  • Pete Lapins

    January 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I find it sad that the college has to waste time to tell the cadets what to wear on their time off. We are not teaching them responsibility. It would be probably a better idea to have all the cadets spend an afternoon with a fashion designer and they can pick up some points on how to dress well.

  • Alex

    January 27, 2010 at 6:01 am

    “”John R. Graham Says:
    January 18th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    In the class of 1985, we wore 4s in first year, and most of 2nd year, then college blazer and flannels (6s?) for rest of 2nd and 3rd year, then civvy suit & tie for 4th year (if my memory serves me, although my first two years were at Royal Roads).””

    “”David Lincourt (14791) Says:
    January 20th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    I am from the Class of 1985. We had a similar dress policy back then and like this one,””

    I’m confused. You are both from the class of 1985, yet have astoundingly different recollections of what your dress standard was?

  • David Lincourt (14791)

    February 2, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I am not certain who has the best memory on what specifically we wore at what point. Fundamentally, the walk-out dress code was tiered – different year wore different things. It was also built on a “rank has it’s privileges” – meaning that the more senior you were, the less restrictive it was.

    My argument is that this approach does not teach a cadet how to dress appropriatly. In my mind it has the potential to do the reverse. For example, it shows that a jacket and tie is a form of punishment. It’s not. It’s an appropriate dress for certain occasion.

    I like the idea of providing some inkling to the cadets of what they should be wearing in what circumstances and best fits their body type. Also, how to build a wardrobe that can be multi-purposed… specially on a budget.

  • Andrew Stymiest

    February 3, 2010 at 2:32 am

    # David Lincourt (14791) Says:
    January 20th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I am from the Class of 1985. We had a similar dress policy back then and like this one, find that it puts the emphasis on the wrong aspect of this topic. It should not be about “rank has it’s privilege”, but rather learning to dress for the occasion.

    Is it appropriate dress to have a burger at a fast food joint in a shirt and tie? Is it appropriate to wear nice jeans at a high end restaurant? I would say no to both of these questions. Just like you would not wear your mess kit on a patrol or vice versa.

    Yes, it’s more complicated to administer but in the end, isn’t what we want the Cadets to learn?

    Completely agree David, as a fourth year cadet currently at RMC I have seen this exact sort of scenario you describe play out in town. To give you an example, when I returned from my Christmas leave I was out at a local pool hall called RAXX. I saw a couple of cadets from earlier years playing pool as well.

    At first I didn’t know they were RMC cadets; in fact, I hadn’t even noticed them. It was only when my Fiancee pointed out to me these four peculiar looking kids wearing argyle sweaters, dockers, and rockport dress shoes or something of the sort that I recognized them as being from RMC.

    Now I do not disagree that upholding a certain dress standard is important; however, their needs to be some flexibility that will provide for time and place. But this dress standard should be flexible enough that cadets can frequent an establishment; such as RAXX, and not stick out like a sore thumb because they look like models from a J. Crew magazine.