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If you're really retired, what are you saving your uniforms for?
Old 11-18-2007, 10:02 PM   #1
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If you're really retired, what are you saving your uniforms for?

It's been five years since I've worn a uniform, and spouse has her eye on her the closet space that would be freed up if I disposed of my old Navy uniforms.

I got rid of the choker-collar whites, the bridge coat, the pea coat, the service dress, and most of the auxiliary equipment-- especially the neckties. I have one full set of khakis and one full set of whites, the only uniforms really worn by "Hawaii Navy". They're rigged & ready with shoulder boards, insignia, and all the other decorations. By golly, if the phone rang I could be dressed and out the door in five minutes... as soon as I did something about my ponytail.

I've saved a half-dozen sets of submarine coveralls, including a couple with sewn-on insignia & nametags. But I feel pretty stupid wearing them for oil changes, my spouse snickers when she sees them, and they're too hot for yardwork.

So what am I saving this stuff for? If the house caught fire you wouldn't find me on the floor clutching the garment bags as I crawled toward the door. I don't ever plan to wear them for Veteran's Day or Pearl Harbor Day or any other ceremonies. I suppose I'm young enough to be recalled to active duty (as my retirement orders admonish) but in another decade that's going to be even more unlikely than today's microscopic possibility.

The biggest reasons I can muster are (1) inertia, since they don't have to be thrown away for any compelling reason, and (2) when I'm in my 90s I may wish that I'd saved them. But I've already donated some old midshipman uniforms to the Smithsonian (literally) and I can't imagine that I'll be any more sentimental when I'm in my 90s.

I'm keeping the sword. It looks cool, it's in a nice display case (my father's woodcraft), and maybe our kid will grow into it (but she'll probably prefer mom's sword). I don't mind saving that legacy to pass on someday, or maybe to give to some deserving graduate in USNA's Class of 2032.

What are you saving your old uniforms for?
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:12 PM   #2
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What are you saving your old uniforms for?
The flight suits made great coveralls for working on the cars and oil changes. They were worn out long, long ago. Everything else was thrown out within a year or so...except for the boots. Even thought it's been almost 30 years, I've still got a pair of "jungle boots" up in the attic somewhere. Never can tell when they'll come in handy. Not sure what that might be, but ya never know...
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:23 PM   #3
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FYI,
I have my dad's dress uniform from WWII in the closet. I will keep it until I am gone then someone else can deal with it.

On a similare note but for us former Megacorp escapees.....
I have several boxes of my old books, notes, records, and special documents that I collected over the past 30+ years. A part of me says "What the heck are you keeping this stuff for?" The other part says "You might need it someday if you ever decide to consult." (Gag!).

The same goes for the suits, ties and dress shirts. I have parted with most of the ties and many shirts and two suits but the rest are achieved in plastic in the basement. Me thinks it is time to give these away. I can't see my kids fighting over my old suits or my old briefcases.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:35 PM   #4
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I was never in the military, therefore no uniform. But, like Steve, I have my dad's army uniform from 1954...don't know what I will do with it.

I still have my nameplate. Guess I'll keep it so that I can remember my name when I'm 90.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:51 PM   #5
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FYI, I have my dad's dress uniform from WWII in the closet. I will keep it until I am gone then someone else can deal with it.
I have a little bit of my Dad's WWII stuff, and my brother has some also, along with some of his Japanese souvenirs like swords, bayonets, and a flag he snagged on Okinawa.

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On a similare note but for us former Megacorp escapees.....
I have several boxes of my old books, notes, records, and special documents that I collected over the past 30+ years. A part of me says "What the heck are you keeping this stuff for?" The other part says "You might need it someday if you ever decide to consult." (Gag!).
I gathered up a sh*t load of that stuff a couple months ago, and took it down and dropped it off for my former fellow employees. I had a LOT of laboratory reference material that I had used for many years. I'll never need any of it ever again!

I figure that after I left that day, the guy that replaced me probably took it all and heaved it into the dumpster......he thinks he's a lot smarter than he actually is. So the next time he calls with a question, I'll just tell him to look it up in one of those books......"Oh, really? You threw them away? Too Bad!"....CLICK.
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:04 AM   #6
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Well, after 19 years I still have all of my inspection uniforms (hung up and ready for inspection) in the spare closet...I can't give them away because the uniforms changed...I can't bring myself to throw them out because they are in pristine condition...sentimental reasons I guess...maybee I'll get rid of them when I need more storage space...the only uniform I can justify keeping is my dress blues.

Maybe when I FIRE I'll get motivated to get rid of them.
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:06 AM   #7
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My ex kept his Navy uniforms out of nostalgia - - the Navy was a big part of his life, even if he had moved on. Men keep their Navy uniforms just like women often keep their wedding dresses.

I wasn't that nostalgic about his uniforms, since he liked the cotton dress whites (instead of polyester) when appropriate and I hated ironing them! They had to be just perfect. That was a long time ago, thank goodness.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:08 AM   #8
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I would have thought that most career military people would keep at least one dress uniform out of nostalgia. Maybe a second one for a Halloween costume for the kids/grandkids. Let them throw the darn things out when you are long gone.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:00 AM   #9
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I have read that local theater groups sometimes like vintage clothing.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:11 AM   #10
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Keeping old uniforms is like many mothers who keep their kids' baby clothing or other significant dresswear (like christening outfits).
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:17 AM   #11
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Grandson's got the medals, ribbons. The rest I couldn't find if Dick Cheney called. It's been 26 years since I retired. There are some functional uses for the uniforms. Example, Fatigues while working on the car. DW would wear one of the shirts while working around the house. Brogans were great mudders. Where are the hats? Hey wait, there's a bunch of stuff up in our attic. Betcha some of it is up there.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:25 AM   #12
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Grandson's got the medals, ribbons. The rest I couldn't find if Dick Cheney called.
If he calls, you'd probably be better off looking for a Kevlar vest...
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:34 AM   #13
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All my field uniforms are in a box in the attic, I'll start wearing them for painting/oil changes as soon as the BDU style is officially obsolete in the USAF.

My blue uniforms--I'm keeping them until re-activation is a more remote possibility. I don't think it is entirely out of the question at this point for recent retirees with an in-demand AFSC/MOS/rating/designator.

I'll probably let my wife/daughter throw away my service dress and Mess dress.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:08 AM   #14
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I have my husband's Navy dress coat, and shorter suit coat garment (?) along with ribbons, medals, diving mask and his sword. I used the sword on the memory table for his funeral. I think he kept everything he ever owned during his Navy years. Those short years he was in the Navy was a very big part of his life. I have now given away his khakis and whites (including shoes and socks) but will keep the coats for now anyway. Maybe at some point I will just cut off the buttons and save those....don't know yet.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:33 AM   #15
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All has been used for yard work except the Dress Blues - which after 29 years are current except for the rank insignia (I think they changed that about 12 years ago). DW will not let me dump the Dress Blues - I think she is going to bury me in them (although the undertaker may have to split them up the back go get them to look good in the box).
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:43 AM   #16
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I sold my load to an ROTC senior a year after I got out. Blues, greens, fatigues, khakis... everything. Kept the dogtags and a few badges and some rank. That's been 30 years and I have not really missed it.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:57 AM   #17
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In the past, the Civil Air Patrol wanted donations of some USAF uniforms.
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Old 11-19-2007, 01:33 PM   #18
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i still wear in season a few winter shirts of my long dead partner and a lightweight jacket of the dead ol'man even though it never quite fit. i also have a few articles of clothing from my grandpa. i've got mom's pocketbook just the way she left it (minus all the stolen sweet & low packages--i kept one and sealed it in plastic) and inherited her mom's pocketbook just the way she left it too. and now i also have my brother & my baby shoes, only i don't know whose is whose.
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Old 11-19-2007, 01:53 PM   #19
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Remember... some of us civis had 'uniform'... called suit and tie...

I have them in an upstairs closet and could not put any of them on today as the waist expanded a bit... have two downstairs I could squeeze in if needed.... but there is a lot of money in them and I am a pack rat with stuff that has 'value'....

NOW, tell me why I am keeping my Exxon shirt I got back in high school that is a S and I am now an L.... it is on the bottom rack and I see it all the time... maybe it should go also...
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:58 PM   #20
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I have my mother's WAV uniform from WWII. DH still has his 37 year old army uniforms, field jacket, even shoes and long underwear (of course he wears the long underwear sometimes even though it's wool and quite itchy). One day your children/grandchildren might want them to remember you --daughter wore the WAV uniform in high school for something once. And what does your wife want to put in that closet space anyway ?
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