Cadets at Royal Military College will be getting a makeover this September.
The college is changing its standard daily uniform for cadets, moving away from the daily dress that indicates the branch of the service they will be entering in favour of a new standard uniform that all cadets will wear and that will only be worn by RMC cadets. The new uniform will be black pants or skirt, a white shirt with a black top for colder weather and a forge cap.
Cadets will wear the new uniform four days a week and, on the fifth day, which is devoted to their individual military training, they will wear the uniform of their branch, whether that be army, navy or air force.
Maj. Bruce MacLean, who oversaw the committee of cadets who recommended the new uniform, said the change was ordered last year by Brig.-Gen. Tom Lawson, the commandant of RMC, and was intended to create a spirit of cohesion among cadets.
"It was the cadets themselves who designed this uniform," MacLean said, noting that the group of 13 was heavily weighted toward third-year officer cadets, who were at the college the last time the dress of the day was changed in 2006 and will be wearing the new uniform during their senior year.
"I'm actually impressed by what they came up with - I think it looks pretty sharp."
The committee evaluated four designs, including the cadet dress that would be familiar to longtime Kingstonians of a blazer, grey pants and a tie, which was abandoned years ago.
The uniform, which will be issued to all cadets at the school as early as this fall, was judged on comfort, appearance, cost and ease of issue. The prototypes are currently at DND headquarters in Ottawa in preparation for manufacture.
The uniforms will be visible around town: first-year cadets are required to be in uniform at all times, while more senior cadets are allowed to wear civilian clothes into the city. In previous years, only the fourth-year cadets had the privilege of wearing civilian clothes off-campus.
While anyone who owns a black jacket or a sweater is keenly aware that the fabric shows up every loose piece of lint or dirt, MacLean said it won't present an undue burden on the cadets, who are accustomed to keen-eyed inspection.
"They're used to it," he said with a laugh. "When you wear a uniform, you get used to keeping it a certain way."