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Mess Dresses for Officers of The Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force has a seperate set of dresses for wear in the Officers messes. These lend color to life in the Air Force.

The Indian Air Force is a highly motivated force and as part of this motivation a certain amount of glamour is part of the ethos. Apart from the working dresses the Air Force has a separate set of uniforms for Mess wear. What is a mess? A mess is like a club where the bachelor officers reside and the married officers can come to spend an evening. It has a bar and a dining hall as well as a lounge and a ladies room to entertain women guests. Messes in the IAF are kept neat and clean and are the life blood of an Air force station. They also house parties and dances on occasions and the Air Force band can be in attendance. Messes can also be the venue for personal parties.

For everyday wear in the mess, officers are supposed to either wear ‘whites’ or a shirt and trouser with a tie. Sikh personnel must enter the mess with a turban only and pataka etc is not allowed. “Whites" means a white full sleeve shirt and white trouser with black oxford pattern shoes. In winter the mess dress is a proper lounge suite. There can be no deviation from the mess dress regulations. This is every day wear, but there are two ceremonial dresses for summer and winter wear.

In summer the ceremonial dresses are two. Firstly you can have white shirt and white trouser with a deep blue cummerbund wrapped around the waist. The material is terry cotton and supplied by the Air Force store. The ranks are worn on epaulets on the shoulders. The epaulets are blue with the ranks embroidered in golden thread. Another format of a mess dress is the shirt with a cummerbund and blue trousers. This is dress no 10.The second dress consists of a white tunic with closed collar. Ranks are worn on the shoulders (Dress no 9).

For winter wear the white tunic is replaced with a blue tunic with a blue terry wool trouser. The tunic is closed collar and the ranks are worn on epaulets on the shoulders.. The collar of the tunic has gold thread embroidery with the ranks on the sleeves. The cap used with a winter or summer dress is the Peak cap and black oxford shoes as standard wear. The tunic and other dresses are part of an officer’s equipment and are paid for by the government.

The mess dress is part of Air Force discipline and Officers take great pride in the maintenance and up keep of their uniforms. It is a matter of pride for an officer to wear the uniform in the mess. All mess dresses will require that miniature medals be worn on the breast and this lends glamour to the officer.

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