One of the ongoing discussions around the Dockyard has been NHS apparel. We have shirts from Conquer the Chesapeake, but those are event specific. Ideally, we should have some sort of organizational clothing that is standardized for regular wear. But what that should be, and what it should look like, are up in the air.
The basic principles of the clothing ought to be simple. Something that is functional and to a degree traditional, and wouldn't be found too out of place worn out and about in town. Something you can row in, go out in, meet normal people in - and not necessarily in that order or one at a time. After all, it would be well for us to try to dress like the normals, no matter how far afield we really are. I don't like sharing my abnormality with normal people, which is why only abnormal people know about this blog.
Take a minute to regroup if you just realized you're wierd. I'll wait.
Expense is also an issue. All of these options ought to be fairly reasonable, and I don't think NHS should attempt to make a profit on them. After all, the small numbers moved and slim margins we could reasonably tack on wouldn't justify the added strain of our participants' pockets. Let them sink their money into something more effective than our general corporate account. With some proper hunting, we can probably find some great deals. We also don't need amazing quality. Nobody will be counting the stitches here. Durable is good, but we shouldn't expect these to last more than a few seasons.
So, onto the clothing itself.
First, we ought to have a basic T-shirt. Something with a breast logo of the NHS monogram or something similar. But what to put on the rest of the shirt? Some kind of logo for the back, or a motto. These would be our standard default shirts, for wear in the shop or on the water. Ideally, sailors and marines should have different colored shirts, with the same or similar markings, to tell them apart at a distance. I always hate calling over to someone asking them to do something and getting a quizzical look and the response, "I'm a Marine, sir. I don't understand." Take another moment if you just realized that you, as a Marine, do that way too often to be considered a non-vegetable. I'll be here.
On the strictly Navy side, one thought was to use rugby shirts for boat crews. Something in Navy blue or blue and gold stripes would have the NHS monogram and possibly a number, corresponding to a specific crew or to the individual participant. These would dress up the crews a bit, and be a little warmer than the standard t-shirt. It would also allow the boat crewmembers to show off, the shirt being something only a dedicated member of a specific crew could purchase. Of course, if you pop the collar and/or wear aviators with it, you lose your elevated status and degrade officially to douche, so wear will require careful attention to detail.
Pullovers or outer wear are another important article. When cold weather sets in, we should still be able to maintain some sort of uniformity. Right now, we sort of take on the appearance of the Donner Party. That would also explain the occasional missing crewmember. But I digress. There are lots of cold/foul weather options out there, and we should explore in detail as much as we can.
The whole mess can be capped off, quite literally, with some NHS ball caps. Something simple, maybe differing for Sailor/Marine as before, but different colors than the standard shirts. Khaki for sailors, OD green for marines would be a good choice.
So, for the next several weeks feel free to chime in with your opinions - we have a while to develop these and I'm all ears, or eyes, as email goes.