Soldier magazine: Criticisms of new Personal Clothing System (PCS)

A soldier in Afghanistan wearing the new camouflage uniformA soldier in Afghanistan wearing the new camouflage pattern. Picture: Corporal Barry Lloyd RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010According to the Army's in-house magazine Soldier, the relatively new PCS field uniform in Multi Terrain Pattern (MCP) camouflage material has been criticised as a "fashion faux pas" which is shapeless, too American and more akin to an Action Man costume.

We havent picked up such strong feelings before, to be honest. What do you think?

Inevitably, the dreaded "jacket v shirt" argument has been resurrected again! That particular argument goes back as far as the Second World War, when the Army supposedly rejected a jacket-type top because of representations from the Brigade of Guards, and the undeniably smarter short battledress jacket was adopted instead for temperate uniform.

The Daily Telegraph quotes from a "barrage of complaints" in the magazine:

"I could not help but think it looked like something from Toys R Us," wrote Chrissy Rodgers of 38 Brigade in Northern Ireland.

"Value for money should not exclude quality of material and design, resulting in a uniform as shapeless and uninspiring as Action Man's. I always thought part of military discipline and the pride soldiers take in themselves was down to appearance."

Major Bernard Whishaw of the Royal Engineers Warfare Wing, said the uniform "looks shabby" and that "Velcro is just a cheap irritation".

He suggested putting an elastic or drawstring waist in the jacket to smarten up appearances.

"The lower part of this garment would then flare slightly making any male or female tummy or behind look fine."

He added that "all ranks are keen to look professional and smart".

An angry colour sergeant, based at the Infantry Battle School in Wales, said he found the reasoning behind the design "bewildering".

"It is ridiculous looking when it is left hanging out and should be tucked in while in camp. We are not American.

He then accuses senior officers "getting involved in senior NCO business" and messing it up.

He ends: "Whether we like it or not if personnel believe they look and feel the part then they will perform better than if they think they look like pillocks."

Another soldier, who was not named, said the jacket did not fit and the pockets in the arms were "of little use".

"There is no avoiding the fact that it does not look smart (my wife has confirmed this)."

He added: "We have missed the opportunity to properly modernise and rebrand the Service."

The MoD said in response that it “welcomed” the feedback. It added: “The new combat uniform was specially designed to better accommodate the latest body armour and be easier to wear on the frontline. It is issued to service personnel in addition to barrack dress, which provides a smarter alternative for when troops are not on operations.”

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