Dress Regulations for Rampage

January 6, 2010

Well, for 34 years it was simple.  I got up in the morning and got dressed in the same clothes, according to dress regulations for the Army.  Simple.  Quick.  No choices.  I simply didn’t think about what to wear and, on those rare occasions when I wasn’t wearing uniform then there was an infallible guide to fall back on in the shape of custom and practice.  You know, lounge suit for funerals and weddings and all the easy to understand standards for just about anything else. 

When I left the army, I naively assumed that I would now no longer be subject to dress regulations.  How wrong I was to have thought that this was to be the case.  I have instead discovered a whole new world of regulation, except that instead of having it written down somewhere so that I could read and understand it, the whole thing is unwritten and, in fact, contained within Julia’s head.  I have suddenly come up against the ‘that doesn’t go with that’ rule and the ‘surely you’re not going to wear that?’ rule.  I just don’t get it.  

Why is it that I can’t wear a pair of black trousers with a dark blue rugby shirt?  I mean, looks pretty cool to me and both items were fresh out of the laundry but no, this choice was condemned out of hand and I was reduced to wearing what the boss told me was suitable.  Frankly, I thought that there wasn’t much difference between the blue rugby shirt and the stripy jersey I was told to put on as being a suitable ‘match’ whatever that means. 

I can see that the only way I’m ever going to be allowed to chose my own clothes is to apply to Julia for a chart which says what I can wear with what.  This shouldn’t be that difficult a task, as she insisted that I throw away most of my not terribly extensive wardrobe before we set off on the trip so she hasn’t got to make too complex a listing.  That said, I suspect that the easy solution is probably going to be seeking her permission before getting dressed in the morning so as to avoid any forbidden wardrobe disasters.   

I suspect that this tirade will hit a nerve with many men and their partners.  I mean, unless one is a fashion victim who spends a good deal of time and money figuring out what goes with what, lying awake in bed figuring out how to make their wardrobe work then frankly, what’s wrong with just grabbing the nearest clean clothes that suit the weather and putting them on?  How many people are going to pass out from being exposed to me wearing black trousers and a blue shirt?  In the great scheme of things, DOES IT REALLY matter? 

Apparently, it really does.  The heavens will stop in their tracks and earthquakes will occur if I don’t go ashore in ‘matching’ (whatever that is) clothes.  Can someone explain these mysterious rules to me in words that a colour blind, don’t give a damn bloke can understand?  It really is completely beyond me, perhaps on a par with the wail that used to greet me when we were invited to a wedding of ‘I haven’t got a thing to wear’ when the wardrobe rail was in danger of collapsing due to the overloading caused by multiple hangers full of clothes, all of which looked sensational when worn by my wife.  But no, a new outfit was required, usually at a price that would provide a new cruising chute for Rampage.  I mean, not just a nice dress but shoes, hat, handbag and possibly a jacket in case the weather was a little overcast.  This despite the fact that she’d been to a wedding just a couple of months ago and had a really nice outfit for that one as well (could have had a new genoa for the price of that one).  Now, if I’d raised my head above the parapet and suggested that I might need a new suit, I would have promptly been told to stop trying it on and that I had a perfectly good suit with years of wear left in it…. what price equality? 

I suppose one solution to the dilemma of what to wear in the morning without the guidance of my style consultant would be for me to overhaul my wardrobe and replace it in the manner I did with socks when I worked in London.  I simply didn’t bother with anything other than black socks; I threw away all the multicoloured ones I’d been given over the years and bought 2 weeks worth of simple black ones.  Never ran out in the whole 2 years I was in London and never had to waste any time matching pairs.  Now if only I could do the same with my clothes, it’d make life so much simpler wouldn’t it?  I can see it now; 3 pairs of jeans, 7 white tee shirts, 3 jerseys, all of an approved colour matched scheme so that I could never be caught wearing the ‘wrong’ colour combination.  Throw in some shorts for hot weather and I’m now set up for life.  I’ve floated the idea to the dress committee (Julia) and I’m awaiting their next meeting to decide if it’s feasible to proceed with the concept. 

Clearly, there’ll need to be a consultation process built into this, so if the committee does approve of the idea in principle, then I expect that I’ll throw the thing open to the readership of the blog for your thoughts on the matter.  Should, for example, the tee shirts all be plain or should they have slogans or logos on them?  Important questions, I’m sure you’ll agree.  If I get the green light, I’m looking forward to your help in compiling the shopping list for my new wardrobe.

All the best, the sartorially challenged skipper (still grizzled).



  1. You see, ladies, just what I have to put up with?? That said, those of you who have known Duncan over the years will know this is not a new problem and I have struggled for more than 30 years to make him halfway presentable and now only make the attempt when he is going to be “in company” and I am feeling particularly strong; the ensuing sulks are usually not worth the effort. Jx

  2. I thought Duncan’s post was funny – but then i looked at the third of the “possibly related posts” – “random picture posts”.
    That REALLY made me laugh. Also perhaps gave some insight into what really goes on aboard Rampage.

    However, my main reaction to The Skipper’s moaning is that he’s really struggling to find something to complain about. What it is to have so few worries! Just do as you’re told skipper and you’ll come to no harm!

    Oh and – coloured not white T-shirts – but you will need to be given a list of what they can be worn with.

  3. Another wonderful piece of musing which makes me think that perhaps at the end of your travels, or even before, they should be put together in a book – one of those that sits on a shelf in the loo to help one pass an idle moment/hour in meaningful or mindless concentration.
    As to the subject of clothes, where does one begin or end? I made a faux-pas early on in my relationship with John by looking him up and down one day and saying ‘I think we need to buy you some new clothes’ – well, I might as well have infringed his human rights, the reaction I got and he has never let me forget it!

  4. Humm. ‘Tis certainly a path fraught with danger to negotiate the Syclla and Charybdis combination of Wardrobe and Wife – good luck.

    A word of advice though, beware of people recommending coloured tee-shirts. They will probably have to be orange to fulfill the design specification……

  5. Mmm, never really had this problem – possibly Mrs Eeyore gave up a long time ago. But you could try this:

    Take an outfit – any old outfit, but it should be in fairly lurid colours e.g. dayglow orange T-shirt, lime green jeans and scarlet socks with purple trainers. Wrap them up in a net with assorted cockles, mussels and old fish generally, plus something to weight them; suspend overboard for a week then haul them up and put them on.

    Anything should be acceptable after that.

  6. Just a thought on the clothing problem – there is always the cheap and natural solution to the problem and that is the clothes nature provides. No colour matching needed there just lots of courage and a good sense of humour. Dont think J and the world is ready some how….

  7. […] The busiest day of the year was January 15th with 103 views. The most popular post that day was Dress Regulations for Rampage. […]

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