Pinks and Greens? “Hooah!”

Every time I see stories about the restoration of churches to proper order and purpose after costly wreckovation, the temperature of my beady-black heart warms a bit.

At Stars and Stripes I read that the Army is moving towards a change in uniform again.  This time, however, it forward towards tradition.

The old “Pinks and Greens” with WWII-era belted jackets and brown leather shoes may reappear.

Think about how the sudden and weird changes in the looks of things affected the Catholic identity of the Church Militant.

Tear out statues, whitewash walls, put in carpet, wreck altars…. Of course this did huge damage to our Catholic identity, not just our pocketbooks.  Similarly, uniform changes will affect something of the ethos of those who wear them.

Put priests in polyester gunny sacks and unworthy chasubles, surround them with craftsy projects made by and for 3rd graders, and you will change the presbyterate.

Put priests in cassocks and beautiful vestments, surrounded by precious vessels and art and you will change the men.

Both of those have an effect on congregations.

Which will tend to make a positive knock on effect?  A bunch of guys in shuffling along and grinning at people in the pews with little waves, looking in their loosely-fitting white flour bags with sleeves every bit as if they just got off the night shift at the Tasty Bakery, or a reserved line of men in cassock and surplice looking like they are going to worship the King of Fearful Majesty?

There is a connection between the habitus that is in us, interior disposition, and habitus that is on us, what we wear: habit and habit.  Clothes make the man?

So, Pinks and Greens?  Let’s see if I can translate this into “Army”…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. For a while, personnel of all ranks stationed at the Pentagon could be seen wearing the digital-patterned battle-dress Army Combat Uniform (ACU) to work, which while comfortable, might not have been the optimal for an office setting. Some officers were also complaining that the shoulder straps for the laptop bags would get caught on the insignia shoulder boards of the Army Dress Blues. This represents an improvement. Personally, I like the World War II look.

    But what’s with the “pinks and greens” schtick? Those pants aren’t pink … they’re taupe. Let’s get with the program, people!

    [Probably because, back when, depending on the dye and light the “taupe” could look pinkish. But, who cares? They that Pinks & Greens that’s good enough for us.]

  2. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    It’s like the opposite of the KoC.

    [In a way.]

  3. APX says:

    Surely the Army could design a more flattering maternity ensemble? Something cut with an empire waist rather than the shape of a muumuu perhaps?

  4. majuscule says:


    I was going to comment that the maternity smock looked quite comfortable. I guess it takes all kinds. :)

  5. APX: “Surely the Army could design a more flattering maternity ensemble?”

    I can’t get past the very idea of a maternity ensemble. Not much in the way of historical examples, are there?

    Father Z: You got me there. “Pinks & Greens” definitely has a better ring to it.

  6. RAve says:

    The pinks and greens maternity smock screams. It just screams. Incongruity.

    By analogy, I think of a hugely pregnant Catholic woman wearing a fiddle back vestment.

    I do think women should serve in support roles in the armed forces, but any society that seeks to have women serve as warriors – without necessity – is a sick society.

  7. Mike in VA says:

    The Army did away with dress greens about 8 years ago to reduce the number of different uniforms soldiers needed to have/buy. So now when the Army is going 90 miles an hour the best idea that they can come up with is to add a new uniform? And fitted uniforms (belted) look better on skinny models than normal people.

  8. The Egyptian says:

    maybe the better question is why does and better yet why should the Military need a maternity top in the 1st place
    Yeah I’m old

  9. Markus says:

    So the US Army has about 480,000 active duty personal. The cost for a dress uniform runs from $350 (enlisted) to $950 (general) without leather (shoes) and hat. So the cost would be over $240.000.000 for the change(@ $500 ea.), without Reserves and National Guard. The defense Department gets a budget increase and that is how they spend it? Retro uniforms? Will they also bring back the Jeep? The uniform does not make the soldier-the soldier makes the uniform. And then there is the Swiss Guard at the Vatican…

  10. Gaetano says:

    They’re called “pinks and greens” because that’s what the original cast called them.

    As for the maternity uniform, every branch of the U.S. military has a maternity uniform that looks like a potato sack that could double as a small tent. They look awful, and not an iota of effort was expended to give it shape.

    I once had a meeting with some officers in Space Command, one of whom was wearing an Air Force maternity uniform. It couldn’t have looked worse if it were intentionally humiliating. I felt bad for her.

    FYI, the Armed Services developed the uniform circa 1978-1980, to address complaints that pregnant women undermined morale by coming to work in their civilian clothing when they outgrew their uniforms. The result was an awful “jumper” style that the women loathe. Furthermore, they eliminated the pockets on the pants, because you stop needing pockets once you get pregnant…

    The only one that looks somewhat good is are the fatigue uniforms, which have an elastic belly band like civilian maternity pants.

  11. Uxixu says:

    The Army changes its uniforms every decade it seems. As a US Marine, I always found their uniforms rather silly looking but would say the ones I respected the most were their 1980s and 1990s “greens.” Their most recent blues look like they’re trying to rip us off again like they tried with cammies before going to multicam. On the side, I’d probably say only infantry should really have camoflage. Vehicle crewman, pilots, etc wear nomex “hotsuits”… maintenance types should wear coveralls. Snake eaters special ops guys will wear whatever they want.

    Back to priests, while I’m second in my love of the cassock to no man and way too many heretics wear the clerical suit and plastic tab collar to ever fully trust it as implicitly as a cassock, I’m reminded that the cassock wasn’t really widespread before Trent… and that the traditional mark of the cleric was tonsure and pray maintained tonsured is once again mandated at any area not under active persecution (and it’s easier to take off any particular garb… the ancient proscription that those who didn’t maintain their tonsure were automatically laicized comes to mind).

  12. hwriggles4 says:

    The Air Force has kept a basic blue uniform for years. Some will wear the all combat uniform (they were called battle dress in the 80s and 90s), but the office type uniform was basically a light blue short sleeve shirt and long dark blue pants with dark blue socks and black shoes. A dark blue jacket (like a casual blue jacket) or a dark blue sweater is worn with the uniform on colder days. The service uniform with the dark blue coat and tie is often worn for certain billets, special occasions, and sometimes on colder days.

    My dad is a retired Air Force officer, and the Air Force has made little changes in the uniform since the 1960s. My dad recalls being a young 2nd LT and wearing khakis.

  13. Fyrdman says:

    I know my brothers back at Bragg are gonna look sharp in those brown Corcorans! ATW!

  14. Fyrdman says:


    The blues were a nod to the Cavalry uniforms of old. The trousers in first iteration of blues even had the cut (high in the back for riding with suspenders) and a lighter shade of blue (faded blue).

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