The armed forces of our allies in Great Britain don’t think too much of the combat uniforms they have to wear in Afghanistan. Which is a pity, considering the British government has spent almost $62 million on them.
The Daily Telegraph reports that soldiers have called the new Multi Terrain Pattern uniform every unfashionable name in the book — they say it doesn’t fit right, is poorly designed and (horror of horrors) is made of cheap, low-quality fabric.
But that might be because the Ministry of Defense rushed into things when creating the new garments — they were introduced just last year to troops in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, and as we understand it the Ministry sort of shoved their soldiers into the uniform in a rush.
Like any fashion decision, military uniforms probably shouldn’t be rushed — especially when you have to outfit as many as 100,000 members of an active operation. And while the soldiers have different ways of saying they don’t like the uniform, the general consensus is that it’s bad for business.
“I could not help but think it looked like something from Toys R Us,” wrote Chrissy Rodgers of 38 Brigade in Northern Ireland.
“There is no avoiding the fact that it does not look smart (my wife has confirmed this),” an unnamed soldier said. He added: “We have missed the opportunity to properly modernise and rebrand the Service.”
We guess we never thought of fashion being an important thing to the military, but it goes without saying that when you look good, you feel good — and when you feel good, you’re generally in a better frame of mind. Does looking bad mean the British Army won’t function as well? Maybe not. The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that it designed the uniforms to work better, not look better.
“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.”
Maybe looking a little more polished day-to-day will carry over onto the field.