Wearing MARPAT in public?

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Kelvar » Mon May 05, 2014 9:45 am

Reminder, folks--let's avoid calling each other names. No one appreciates proper grammar more than I, but I generally try to lead by example. At a minimum I prefer to wait for something particularly egregious before calling someone out on it.
dunamis wrote: Nothing wrong with building good relationships, but in my opinion that doesn't start by a superficial presentation of ones self for evaluation or to be judged by others. It should come from real meaningful acts which reach beyond these invisible and illusory boundaries.
(Emphasis added).

It should, but it doesn't. I completely agree with your premise, but disagree with your apparent conclusion (that because it is superficial we should disregard it).

I have done many things, I have worn many hats (both literally and figuratively) and I have been many places. The unfortunate reality I have come to accept is that we humans are still embarrassingly primitive in many respects. I struggle to think of an area in which this is more patently demonstrated than fashion. Most people make many assumptions about others based on little more than how they are dressed. It is almost like a caveman level superstition or something.

I once read about a sociological experiment in which they had someone standing at the entrance to a parking lot and telling people they were not allowed to park there. (It wasn’t true—parking was allowed). In one version, they just had someone wearing normal street clothes. In the other, they had someone wearing a marching band uniform. Interestingly, when the guy wearing street clothes told people they couldn’t park, he tended to be ignored and people would park there anyway. However, when the guy in the marching band uniform did it, most people followed his instructions. Why? The researchers concluded that it was because he was wearing a uniform. To most people, uniforms symbolize authority. What is especially odd is that it was a band uniform. This tells us that the particular uniform doesn’t matter so much. The mere fact that it was some type of uniform cloaked him with the aura of authority.

I have noticed the same behavior in my personal life. I grew up on a farm, I worked in law enforcement for a while and I was in the military. In my off time, I tend to wear jeans, T-shirts and long sleeve T-shirts, running shoes or hiking shoes, cargo shorts, sometimes cargo pants—sometimes 5.11 pants—not because I want to look “tactical” (whatever that means) but because they’re comfortable, practical and durable. So I’m not what you’d call “high society” by any stretch of the imagination. However, because of my job I often have to wear suits and I’m expected to wear nice ones. Just to be clear for the uninitiated, there is a big difference between a suit and simply a jacket with slacks. Just ask Barney Stinson.

There is a marked difference in the way strangers react to me depending on whether I’m being “myself” or whether I’m wearing a suit. Granted, I’ve been wearing suits long enough now that I look and feel (relatively) comfortable in them. (I can tell a difference between someone who wears suits a lot versus someone who doesn’t). But when I’m wearing a suit, strangers tend to treat me as though I’m important—even though I’m not. I know this is all anecdotal, but I want to mention one particular occasion. I was at a restaurant for dinner with a group of about a dozen people and for some reason I was the only one wearing a suit. The waitress (and even the manager, I think) kept looking to me as if I were somehow “in charge” of the entire party. My friends noticed, too, and we all thought it was really strange. For some reason there is something totemic about suits and ties in our society. I think it is stupid—but I’m aware of it and try to make use of it when it is helpful.

Similarly, whenever I wear a Utilikilt, I feel as though people respond differently. Some people are more chatty, some more standoffish. Ten years ago (has it been that long?) I used to get the occasional insult from strangers. Not as often anymore, but I do sometimes get the snarky, “nice skirt, huh huh huh” comments. :roll: Think about that. Simply wearing an unconventional garment compels strangers to openly insult someone. It is as if humans believe (perhaps subconsciously) that societal sartorial expectations are so sacrosanct that any deviation from them calls for mocking, derision and efforts to either coerce conformity or to “punish” divergent behavior. It is wrong and I don’t like it, but I am aware of it and I take it into account. As analytical as I try to be and as much as I’d like to think I’m above conformity, it does mean I don’t wear my kilts as often as I’d like. Social pressure—even from strangers—is a powerful psychological force.

Given the powerful response to what is generally recognized as a male garment, consider how strongly ingrained is the way we feel about certain garments that are generally considered to be so gender specific that they necessarily preclude even momentary consideration for wear by the opposite gender. We feel such forceful, primal emotions about these garments that we’re rendered incapable of any type of objective pre-deliberative thought about them. And yet, when all is said and done, they’re just fabric adornment for a human body.

A few months ago I read an article about a guy who dressed in a completely normal manner but who liked to wear fingernail polish. He wrote about an instance on the subway where a woman he did not know asked him about it and insulted him (she may have even yelled at him, I don’t recall). And that isn’t even clothing—it is just some color on a small percentage of the body. Why such an emotional response about what a total stranger does to adorn himself?

We are just simple creatures on a small planet in an enormous universe full of mystery and undiscovered secrets about the nature of time and space. We live in a universe that is either infinite or it isn’t. We live in a universe that has either always existed or didn’t. There are planets light years away that may be capable of sustaining human life. We’re complex creatures made of millions of atoms. We can only exist under the right pressure under certain specific, delicate, conditions. We’re capable of amazing feats of philosophy and technological advances like space travel, prosthetic limbs and artificial intelligence. Yet, in a galaxy so full of wonder, we humans place so much significance on what other humans wear. We can’t tolerate the thought of someone straying too far away from established norms about how we are supposed to cover our fragile corporeal forms. It is foolishness beyond comprehension. But it is the world in which we live.

All of this is a long way of saying that no matter how logical it may be to say that we should not be judged based on what we wear, we are. This does not mean that we should always conform to expectations. (In fact, I submit that we benefit from opportunities to challenge our deeply held, preconceived notions). But wisdom dictates that we be aware of such expectations and permit that awareness to inform our behavior. It is superficial. It is illusory. But that’s true of most human interaction, in my opinion. Reflecting on and questioning these norms is wise. But I think it is also wise to know when to break the rules and when to follow them. I follow them at work and work-related functions. And I break them when I’m on my time, when the mood strikes me and when confidence fills me. I think the best way to build new relationships with other humans is to start by demonstrating one’s mastery of social expectations. That fosters confidence and comfort. Then, as time goes on and one learns more about someone, one may discard pieces of that façade to allow some expression of one’s true personality. And slowly as confidence builds and positive bonds are forged, one may be comfortable in being more and more one’s self. Some few will appreciate it. Those few are the ones we call friends.

Hell, eventually we may even tell them we like to frequent a certain zombie themed preparedness forum.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by ZombieGranny » Mon May 05, 2014 11:40 am

Excellent post^^ Kelvar.

I think the disconnect I was having is that folks were posting 'it's okay to wear them to do this, that and the other but not in public', when those activities take place in public.

As the thread gets longer and more people post, it seems to be boiling down to:
'don't wear head-to-toe (especially with patches!) & pretend you are/were a soldier if you weren't'
and
'head-to-toe at a gun show is okay if it's advertising the gun show'.

Does that sound about right?
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Nick Adams » Mon May 05, 2014 11:53 am

In the summer I like to wear a khaki soft boonie type hat that I sew the sides up, it's not even military but guess it looks like it, I bought it at dead guys yard sale.
I sewed a red star on the front, again I don't think it is military. I like the hat, very comfortable and I think rather sharp looking though my girl doesn't like.
I have had guys come up to me and ask me if it's Chinese or North Vietnam and where I got it, I smile, give a little wink and just say the guy I got off of didn't need it anymore!

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Boondock » Mon May 05, 2014 12:11 pm

I want to have nice things.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Mon May 05, 2014 12:16 pm

Avoid military clothing then. It's not the highest quality stuff out there by a long shot.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Boondock » Mon May 05, 2014 12:24 pm

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:Avoid military clothing then.
Talking about not wanting another thread shut down, even if it is a bit insane, because of silliness.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Stercutus » Mon May 05, 2014 12:31 pm

If I wore scrubs would doctors give me shit?
Well actually depends upon context. So maybe.
ZombieGranny wrote:Excellent post^^ Kelvar.

I think the disconnect I was having is that folks were posting 'it's okay to wear them to do this, that and the other but not in public', when those activities take place in public.

As the thread gets longer and more people post, it seems to be boiling down to:
'don't wear head-to-toe (especially with patches!) & pretend you are/were a soldier if you weren't'
and
'head-to-toe at a gun show is okay if it's advertising the gun show'.

Does that sound about right?
Yep.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Doryman » Mon May 05, 2014 2:53 pm

That was a great write-up, Kelvar.

Just to clarify my position, since I get the vibe that people feel as if I'm attacking them personally...

What I'm concerned with in regards to clothing is not so much "fashion" as it is passive signaling. The way you look sends messages to those around you, so much that you engage in social interactions with others, even if you don't even notice that it's happening. Sometimes these messages are quite useful, but sometimes they can be disastrous. Imagine me walking up to a bar full of Rangers fans in my favourite Celtics jersey, mincing around the roughest, poorest section of town in my priciest suit, or showing up to someones funeral in a goofy joke shirt and sloppy pyjama pants. In all those instances I can claim that no-one has a right to tell me how I should dress, and technically, I'd be right. BUT, I have to accept that the passive signals given off by my dress is going to cause me problems, possibly even fatal ones.

We all make gut-level, snap judgements about people based on appearance and context on a day to day basis. If you see a huge dude in a tight black t-shirt hanging around a nightclub, you're likely going to think "Bouncer". If you see a guy near a construction site wearing Carhartts and a high-vis vest, you'll probably think "Construction Worker."

Perhaps it's because of my military experience, but when I spot someone wearing milsurp (and I lock on from hundreds of metres away) I think "Combatant". From personal experience I can tell you that a lot of urban, civilian types think "Threat" or "Crazy Guy" or something along those lines. I know, I used to be that guy when I was younger. I used to laugh it off whenever friends told me that other people referred to me as "that militia guy" or half-jokingly bet that I'd be the next school-shooter. Eventually, though, I really sat down to think about what affect that has on my life. Do I really benefit from those around me thinking I'm a possible threat? Does engendering unease and suspicion in people make me more secure and effective, or less? When I speak to others about issues that concern me, am I more convincing in a ghillie suit and balaclava, or less so?



Social relationships are much more powerful preparedness tool than milsurp trousers, no matter how many pockets they have.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by dunamis » Mon May 05, 2014 11:47 pm

Great post, Kelvar! I appreciate yours also, Doryman.

I've never had any problems with people about my clothing, camo or otherwise. I think people can tell if they want to confront me about something (camo pants not exclusively) that they're going to have a problem. It's really no one's business. And, regardless of what it is the law doesn't support people who take such things to extremes.

As was mentioned, there are some social circumstance where the law doesn't have much to do with it. But, most places such as this (ironically enough,) as in ghetto neighborhoods, a pair of camo pants probably wouldn't raise an eyebrow :clap:

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by itzybitzyspyder » Tue May 06, 2014 12:41 am

I don't judge people by what they wear because that can be incredibly misleading. I judge whether someone is a combatant by how they move, their general demeanor and how they interact with others. Maybe it's my experience of living in the ghetto. As far as how other people perceive me...I couldn't care less. If someone has a hang up over what I'm wearing it's their internal issue.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Browning 35 » Tue May 06, 2014 4:25 pm

Like it or not, every day we are judged by how we look. This plays a part at work (in regards to pay and advancement at said employment), in education, in relationships (both romantic and platonic) and even how we interact with strangers for short periods of time.

Physical attractiveness, physical fitness, how we clothe ourselves and what jewelry we wear, what we carry on our person, habits, tattoos/no tattoos, scars, ear rings, hair style (haircut, dye, highlights, whether its combed or brushed), grooming and so on are all indicators of our personality and its how we present ourselves to the world. So people judge on the smallest of things in short encounters, small amount of information to go on.

You are judged by your appearance

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sub ... appearance

There is even some study saying that people are able to semi-accurately judge someone's honesty or criminal nature by their facial features.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the ... ncriminals

http://shell.newpaltz.edu/jsec/articles ... l5Iss1.pdf

For millions of years how someone looked and how they conducted themselves is what we had to go by as humans. People are generally drawn to other people that are good looking, physically fit, well groomed and appropriately attired. That was true 4,000 years ago and it's true today.

If we choose to wear something extremely unusual for that locale then others are likely to look at us funny, at worst make unwelcome comments or at best regard us as eccentric. Much of it is location dependent, around here a camo pack is pretty common. People also wear real-tree clothing to weddings. In an urban area in another State that might be an entirely different story.

I guess we can shake our fist at the moon and say that it shouldn't be so, but it is and there's a reason for it.

Even on something as small and insignificant as a backpack that tells us one of three things about the person.
1) They could have been in the military.
2) They're a poseur and they want to appear to have been in the military.
3) That person is cheap. They want something tough, but at a decent price and they don't give a shit what it looks like (those saying that military equipment isn't 'the best' have a point, the military's usually a few years behind the times in terms of gear and it doesn't matter what we're talking about...shooting, boots, pack weight, rappelling, sky-diving etc, however it's usually really sturdy gear at half the price of similar gear).

Wear or use what you want. I saw some douchebag at the range the other day decked out in not only the wildest array of the worlds camo clothing and gear (Rhodesian, those Eastern bloc 'Rain' pouches and USMC digital I think), but also a beret, goatee, bloused boots and John Lennon rimmed glasses. After the entire shooting line looked at him, smirked (or in some cases laughed openly) and exchanged glances we all went back to shooting. It made him happy to wear that shit, so who gives a fuck? He wasn't at a job interview, trying to get a supervisory position or trying to get a professor to extend a date to turn in extra credit (I did see that the range officer saw him and immediately went over there to make sure he didn't do something unsafe though. So if the idea behind his outfit was to look professional and competent it had the opposite effect).
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by ZombieGranny » Tue May 06, 2014 4:39 pm

That third one - that's me! :D
Cheap and I don't give a crap what it looks like, all I ask is that it does what it is supposed to do.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by mr_slappy75 » Wed May 14, 2014 11:25 am

So…this thread keeps coming back, no matter how much we try and put it down, huh?

I have diligently read all posts and am a huge fan Kevlar’s last post and Ms. ZG’s always practical, no-nonsense summary.

I understand that while the subject matter is dear to the hearts of some, patently because they have paid/ are still paying for your garb in sweat, blood and service, it is ‘meh’ to quite a few others, many of whom used the same currency to make their .gov gear purchase. Thank you all for your service and manning the wall for the rest of us.

Boondock pretty much hit it on the head; you see I too want to have nice things and Doc Fab ‘nice’ is a relative term and utterly subjective.
In this instance “Nice Things” may very well be items that are not prohibitively expensive, built to last, even if they are not the most high-speed or high comfort and ergonomic , it doesn’t hurt when they are manufactured either here or at the very least in a country the is either an ally of, or likes the U.S, in other words, pretty much what Browning 35 just said.

Doryman adds to Kevlar’s rationale by delving a bit more deeply into the heft of social perception and individual willingness to use appropriate (and sensible) passive cues and situational empathy.

Itzybitz’s post reminds me of a real-life example of clothing being misleading: for the better part of the ‘90s there used to be this fellow who’d hand out around Michigan Ave. and Wacker in Chicago, colloquially referred to as “The Magnificent Mile”.
At the time this gentleman must have been in his early to mid ‘40s was always impeccably attired in a 3 piece suit, loafers. He looked like a poor man’s Sam Elliot, complete with handlebar ‘stache and long salt-pepper mane of hair. The man used to carry a quality, leather attaché case.
Now to the untrained eye be it the tourist or the native Chicagoan who did not spend time in the area the man might been taken as being a lawyer or other white collar high powered type enjoying a leisurely stroll, people watching between high-stakes meetings.
Us bike messengers who were in the area every day of the week knew him to be homeless and often time would speculate on what his story was.

That guy at Browning’s range might have just been color blind or maybe now there are gun range hipsters who wear mish-mash camo ironically?

Just like Ms. ZG I am looking for cheap and purpose-capable, so now that ACU is on the outs, with most manufacturers liquidating their new stock of the stuff and the current glut of GI surplus, well between those two factors call me fashion backwards and penny wise, so I’m buying.
No clothing but have been getting sweet deals in packs and pouches. I saw a crack on another thread about how wasteful it was for the powers that be to order ACU poncho liners…maybe true but at least they are now available to civilians for cheap.

I think I might have come up with a pretty effective (and if a person has a sense of humor about them) funny way to defuse the situation: I am buying Velcro backed name tape for my new-to-me-pack with one or more of these on:
“IT IS SURPLUS”
“NOT A VET”
“GOT IT USED”
“GRATEFUL CIVILIAN”

I’m open to other suggestions and willing to take a vote
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by mough » Wed May 14, 2014 12:48 pm

This thread showed up in the "active topics" even though the last post is from 2010. whatever I have something to add, I'll necro anyways.



I was in walmart a few months ago wearing my grey wool petticoat. I was out earlier and it warrented a coat a little dressier than a carhartt. A walmart clerk asked me if the coat was real. I'm like, uh, yeah, Thinking that the coat surely wasn't a figment of my imagination.

He asked me when I served in the navy. At first I was really confused because I didn't serve, then it clicked. I explained that I had gotten the coat at JC Penny, he explained that it was exactly like the one he was issued in the Navy.

Now I'm not sure if I should wear it anymore, It is an awesome coat.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by KYZHunters » Wed May 14, 2014 1:01 pm

mough wrote:This thread showed up in the "active topics" even though the last post is from 2010. whatever I have something to add, I'll necro anyways.



I was in walmart a few months ago wearing my grey wool petticoat. I was out earlier and it warrented a coat a little dressier than a carhartt. A walmart clerk asked me if the coat was real. I'm like, uh, yeah, Thinking that the coat surely wasn't a figment of my imagination.

He asked me when I served in the navy. At first I was really confused because I didn't serve, then it clicked. I explained that I had gotten the coat at JC Penny, he explained that it was exactly like the one he was issued in the Navy.

Now I'm not sure if I should wear it anymore, It is an awesome coat.
Thought the Navy stopped issuing petticoats in 1923.

Also, on the MARPAT; I polled me and Mrs. KYZHunters and between us with over 40 years in the Corps we give ZERO shits if someone wears MARPAT. I personally cut the trousers off below the cargo pocket and wear them around the farm.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by ZombieGranny » Wed May 14, 2014 2:54 pm

...
Last edited by ZombieGranny on Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by dunamis » Wed May 14, 2014 5:30 pm

KYZHunters wrote:Also, on the MARPAT; I polled me and Mrs. KYZHunters and between us with over 40 years in the Corps we give ZERO shits if someone wears MARPAT. I personally cut the trousers off below the cargo pocket and wear them around the farm.
This is the sentiment that I wanted to identify in a previous post. It seems to me anyone likely to take offense at another for wearing MARPAT or any other service issue camo pattern or clothing would probably be just as likely to nitpick to find things to get riled up about even if he weren't in the military, it would just be something else not military related. It's probably more of a personality issue than anything really having to do with military clothing.

I have friends and family who have served and my grandfather fought in WWII, but even among strangers who may have served I've never had any aggressive comments directed at me if I were wearing my cammies that day. And even if I did, I wouldn't tolerate it because whoever it was would be out of line and his comments out of context.

One of the great things our service personnel are heralded for is the willingness to sacrifice ones self to the cause of our nation and system of government (i.e. - our people,) but when one wants to get angry or hateful toward someone else because of his choice in clothing attire - I fail to see the selflessness in this.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by itzybitzyspyder » Wed May 14, 2014 6:57 pm

mr_slappy75 wrote: I think I might have come up with a pretty effective (and if a person has a sense of humor about them) funny way to defuse the situation: I am buying Velcro backed name tape for my new-to-me-pack with one or more of these on:
“IT IS SURPLUS”
“NOT A VET”
“GOT IT USED”
“GRATEFUL CIVILIAN”

I’m open to other suggestions and willing to take a vote
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by JRR » Wed May 14, 2014 8:38 pm

In Alabama, I see as many people wearing ccamo as not every time I go out. It's mostly woodland, but there you have it. As for me, I hunt and use what's available at a decent price. I also do a lot of camping and backpacking, and I like to blend in, so I wear camo there a lot too. I never served, and I don't try and pass myself off as a soldier. But my father spent 4 years making sure y'all could bitch at me for what I wear in English instead of German, so I could really give a shit what people think.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by claverhouse » Thu May 15, 2014 3:24 pm

mough wrote:This thread showed up in the "active topics" even though the last post is from 2010. whatever I have something to add, I'll necro anyways.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by 74 or more » Thu May 15, 2014 6:55 pm

Sitting in a bar right now wearing my USMC RAT boots and a guy just introduced himself and told me he wore these boots for a long time. I told him I wasn't a Marine and didn't mean to be "that guy". He said "No harm no foul brother". Now we're drinking whiskey together until our significant others show up.

Made me think of this thread.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Ad'lan » Sat May 17, 2014 2:54 am

Reading this thread makes me recall when at a music festival one summer My 'Buddy Buddy' instincts were screaming at me to tell my fellow revellers "get some twisty's for your trousers" and "Shape your Beret".

And I was just an Ocdt. so you can easily say he's not a Vet. when I walk down the street in my DPM's.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by jeepinbandtrider » Sat May 17, 2014 5:06 am

I honestly don't care if people wear it in public. I also airsoft in my free time. I've had guys ask me if I would acquire them MARPAT if they gave me money. That's something I will not do. I don't care if you buy or wear it but I'm not going to assist you in the effort.

I also believe in "time and place" for such things. I'm a supporter of the Open Carry movement back home (Texas) but everytime they post pictures there's always that one or two guys who are rocking out the Multicam or the Marpat or the ACU pants. IMO that's not helping the cause from just a perception angle with the public but then again I'm not them so wear what ever you want.

I don't even ask people I think are vets if they were in usually unless it comes up in conversation so I generally ignore the guys walking down the street in camo.

I've done it a few times coming home from airsoft in Multicam (Pants only after leaving the field), usually grabbing a bite to eat or a 6 pack from the gas station on the way home. Better not get caught out in town wearing MARPAT here haha.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by HorseSoldier » Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:47 pm

Milsurp cargo pants are so common where I live, I don't think anyone gives anyone a second thought when they see them wearing them, as long as they don't do anything to suggest their wannabes, idiots, or toolbags like, say, blousing them into boots for fashion reasons in town. I don't know if MARPAT specifically sets off anyone -- I've got enough uniforms in enough patterns the army issued to me over the last 20 years that I don't have any need to borrow from other services (an don't wear my former issue stuff, cargo pants or otherwise, though that's just me).

As others have said, if you're hiking, hunting, or otherwise wearing mil surp or military issue stuff for a functional reason, I don't think it's a big deal regardless, whereas in town if you're wardrobe is heavy on military stuff you probably will get people treating you different on the assumption there's something off about you. Pants + backpack, probably not an issue. Pants + camo top, or pants + bloused boots, or pants + some retarded "kill em all" t-shirt, etc., -- probably over the line.

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