As a cadet, your uniform is provided at no charge. Cadets are responsible for care, cleaning and custody of the issued kit and also to return it at the end of your cadet career OR when/if you outgrow a specific part. If you are in need of any uniform part replacements, please do not hesitate to contact our supply officer.
All of the following information is taken from the revised September 2019 dress regulations (CANCDTGEN-016-19-CJCR). The dress regulations state the policies and instructions for wearing the Air Cadet uniform.
The uniform includes:
wide-brimmed tan summer hat
jacket/tunic w/ belt
grey wool socks
nametag (provided by SSC)
HOW TO WEAR YOUR UNIFORM
At the beginning of your career as a cadet you will be issued a uniform. The uniform is on loan to you and is the property of the Department of National Defense – at the end of your cadet career (or when you outgrow a uniform part), you must return your uniform. As such, you are expected to take good care of your uniform and take pride when wearing it. When in uniform, you represent not only yourself but also 858 Skookumchuk, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and the Cadet Program as a whole, so it is imperative that your uniform is kept in top notch ondition and that you maintain exceptional deportment. If you need help with the maintenance of your uniform, please consult the senior cadets in your flight or the Commanding Officer.
Deportment: a person’s manners or behaviours.
While in uniform, it is critical to maintain exceptional deportment at all times. The following is an excerpt regarding deportment from the 2019 Air Cadet Dress Regulations:
When in uniform, cadets shall conduct themselves in a manner which projects a positive public appearance. Behaviour such as chewing gum, use of electronic devices while walking, placing hands in pockets and walking hand in hand, is prohibited.
Cadets in uniform shall be well groomed, with footwear cleaned and shone, and uniform cleaned and properly pressed. In particular, buttons, fasteners and zippers shall be kept closed; pockets shall not be bulged; items such as personal mobile devices, portable electronics, glasses, glass cases, sunglasses, pens, pencils, key rings or paper shall not be visibly extended, protrude from pockets or be suspended from waist belts; headphones shall not be worn; ear buds may be worn when travelling on transport only. Cadets wearing civilian clothes during cadet activities shall dress and conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively as members of the Cadet Program.
The entirety of the boot must be polished to a mirror shine. This takes time and patience, but eventually you will develop a good shine. There are no tricks – you require only black Kiwi® shoe polish, a Kiwi® polishing cloth, water and an old toothbrush. The following is the recommended sequence when polishing boots:
- Use the toothbrush to apply polish to the welts (side grooves) of the boot until blackened.
- Wrap polishing cloth tightly around index finger, dip in water and cover with a layer of polish.
- Apply polish to entire boot area with small circles, with an initial coat that blackens the leather.
- Reapply a thin layer of polish (and keep the cloth moist with water) in small circles in on the entirety of the booth.
Subsequent polishing will lead to a mirror shine.
- Do not use a polyester cloth to buff as will strip off the polish.
- If your shoe polish is very old and dried out, replace it. Old polish is not as effective as new polish.
- Cover your boots with a smooth cloth to keep off the dust while storing them.
Things to NEVER do to your Boots:
- NEVER Burn shining. This is taking a lighter to your boots to heat up the polish. DO NOT DO THIS. It will completely ruin your boots and you might light your boot on fire or do significant damage to the boot. Friction heat is a slower process, but in the long run it does a whole lot better for your boots. Also, do not light your shoe polish on fire to fill in the cracks. If your shoe polish is cracked that means it is dried out…and time to get new shoe polish.
- NEVER USE other substances. Never, EVER use any other substance other than boot polish on your boot! Black nail polish, craft gloss, floor polish, paint, dye, grease, markers, etc. will completely RUIN your polishing job and wreck your boots permanently.
- NEVER ‘quick shine’. Kiwi® makes products for shining shoes such as “Instant Shine Wax”, and other quick-job products. You shouldn’t get used to using these because even though they do work somewhat, they don’t create a shine up to Squadron standards. Also, polishing with regular polish may become difficult after using these products.
- Use water only (no other liquids) while polishing your boots.
- NEVER get your parents to do it. Your boots are YOURS and only yours to take care of.
Your pants, dress shirt and tunic must all be kept clean and wrinkle free. When ironing, use the correct temperature for the clothing item (use the ‘cotton’ setting for your dress shirt, the ‘wool’ setting for your pants, and ‘wool’ for your tunic), along with ample steam and a pressing cloth.
- Dress shirt: front and back kept wrinkle free, and a sharp crease down the centre of each sleeve.
- Pants: wrinkle free with a sharp crease down the front and back of each pant leg.
- Tunic: wrinkle free with no creases (IMPORTANT: iron AROUND, NOT ON TOP of your badges – the plastic on the back will melt and ruin your tunic).
Cadet pants/trousers are worn with crisp creases running down the center of the front and back of each leg. Trousers must be hemmed such that the length extends to the 3rd eyelet of the ankle boot. Remember that you will be growing while in cadets; once the trousers start to rise past the fourth eyelet, it is time to see the Supply Officer! Click here for a good video guide for pressing your trousers, and see the ‘Alterations’ section below to learn about things to remember when hemming your trousers.
It is important to keep your uniform clean and neatly maintained. Please follow the washing instructions included on the care tag of each uniform piece/garment:
- short-sleeved dress shirt – wash every second wear or so – remove rank slip-ons (the ‘Cadet’ flashes on each epaulette of the short-sleeved shirt), use a pre-wash stain treatment on the collar to ensure stains are dealt with before they set, tumble dry low, iron medium (with ironing cloth – creases as noted above) OR dry clean
- sweater – wash as required – machine wash 30C on gentle cycle, non-chlorine bleach only, iron medium (with ironing cloth – no creases), tumble dry low/permanent press setting (or hang dry if possible to prevent pilling) OR dry clean
- tunic – wash as required (won’t be very often) – machine wash 50C, no bleach, tumble dry low, iron medium (with ironing cloth – no creases) OR dry clean
- pants – wash as required – machine wash 50C on permanent press cycle, no bleach, tumble dry low, iron medium (with ironing cloth – creases as noted above) OR dry clean
- tie and wedge – spot clean with damp cloth – otherwise, dry clean only
- hoodie & t-shirt – machine wash regular or gentle cycle – if you can hang to dry, the insignia/logo application will last longer
- parka – parkas are one of those things that tends to be removed at events and mixed up with other cadets’ parkas… please use removable labels to label your cadet’s parka with their name (e.g., masking tape, duct tape, etc. with your cadet’s name written in Sharpie marker)
If you’re unsure of what all those laundry care symbols mean, here’s a good overview (as of 2019): Fabric Care Symbol Overview
Finally, before every Commanding Officer’s Parade (generally the last parade of the month at 858 Skookumchuk), take a few minutes to review your uniform closely to ensure all of the pieces are up to standard. Some things to look for:
- loose threads on your tunic (trim or fix)
- loose badges (badges should be hand-sewn on using a hidden stitch with dark blue or black thread)
- fallen pant hems or too-short pants
- creases are in the correct places on pants and short-sleeved dress shirt
- sweater, pants, shirt and tunic are wrinkle-free
- boots polished
Cadet items of clothing are not to be altered or modified, except to obtain a reasonable fit. When hemming pants, please hand-hem with loose hem stitches to make it easier to adjust later on as needed (or when you outgrow them and they are passed along to another cadet).
Do NOT use:
- iron-on hemming tape (will ruin pants)
- fabric adhesive (e.g., ‘Quick Sew’ – will ruin pants)
- sewing machine (stitching will be too difficult to remove later)
- scissors – pant hems are not to be cut, as this will ruin them for future cadet use
Badges/insignia shall be sewn on the uniform neatly using a thread that blends with the badge and uniform (dark blue). Badges shall not be glued, machine sewn or affixed with iron-on adhesive. Wondering about the best way to sew on your badges (as well as some tips)? Here’s a handy video from 34 Squadron (Regina) that will help.
A better way to learn uniform maintenance may be to see it visually. For a video tutorial showing you every aspect of the maintenance of your uniform, check out this fantastic video below made by cadets from 395 Squadron (Edmonton).
hair & grooming
A neat and well groomed appearance is important for the Cadet program. Hair shall be neatly groomed and conservatively styled. The length, bulk or style of hair shall not detract from a positive appearance or preclude the proper wear of cadet headdress. (Bulk is the distance that the mass of hair extends from the skin, when groomed, as opposed to the length of hair.) In particular, style and colour shall not present a bizarre, exaggerated, or unusual appearance. Unusual colours, such as green, bright red, orange, purple, etc. are not permitted. Hair must be secured or styled back to reveal the face, and any accessories used to secure or control hair styles shall be as unobtrusive as possible. Hair ornaments shall not be worn, except females’ conservative hair clip. Cadets may use hair-gel or hairspray as a personal choice, but are not mandated to do so.
Hair shall be taper-trimmed at the back, sides, and above the ears to blend with the hair-style; be no more than 15 cm (6 in.) in length and sufficiently short that, when the hair is groomed and headdress is removed, no hair shall touch the ears or fall below the top of the eyebrows; be no more than 4 cm (1-1/2 in.) in bulk at the top of the head, gradually decreasing to blend with the taper-trimmed sides and back; and be kept free from the neck to a distance of 2.5 cm (1 in.) above the shirt collar. Taper trimmed square back styles and shaving of all the hair on the head are permitted:
Sideburns shall not extend below a line horizontally bisecting the ear, and shall be squared off horizontally at the bottom edge and taper-trimmed to conform to the overall hair style,
Beards shall be worn with a moustache, kept neatly trimmed, especially on the lower neck and cheekbones; not exceed 2 cm in bulk. Cadets shall, on their own accord or upon direction from their CO shave off unsuccessful attempts to grow a beard unless beard is grown due to an accommodation; and
When moustaches are worn alone, the unshaven portion of the face shall not extend outwards beyond the corners of the mouth. Moustaches shall be kept neatly trimmed; not be greater than 2 cm (3/4 in.) in bulk; not extend below the corners of the mouth.
Hair shall not extend below the lower edge of the shirt collar. Exaggerated styles, including those with excessive fullness or extreme height, are not authorized.
Pony tails, if worn, shall be styled conservatively and tied tightly by a knot or a small unadorned fastener. A pony tail shall be worn in the centre of the back.
Braids, if worn, shall be styled conservatively and tied tightly: secured at the end by a knot or a small unadorned fastener. A second small unadorned fastener may be used to secure the top of the braid. A single braid shall be worn in the centre of the back. Double braids shall be worn behind the shoulders. Hair shall be a maximum length when gathered behind the head and braided which does not extend below the top of the armpit. Multiple braids (cornrows), shall be directed toward the back of the head, pulled tight to the head and secured at the end by a knot or a small-unadorned fastener. A second small unadorned fastener may be used to secure the top of the braid. Multiple braids extending below the lower edge of the collar are to be gathered in a bun. With the permission of a CO, a reasonable period may be authorized in order to transition from short to long hairstyles, during which time hair may extend below the lower edge of the shirt collar; all the while maintaining a positive military appearance and subject to the cadet’s safety.
Indigenous cadets whose spirituality embraces the wearing of braids, and who formally state their intention to grow their hair in a traditional manner with identification of the group or nation they belong to, shall be granted permission to grow their hair. For the transition from short to long hairstyle, hair shall not extend below the lower edge of the shirt collar and be styled neatly. Long hair that does extend below the lower edge of the shirt collar, and is not long enough to be braided, shall be gathered behind the head with a small unadorned fastener of a colour that blends with that of the hair itself. As soon as the hair is long enough, braids shall be styled conservatively and tied tightly; secured at the end by a knot or a small, unadorned fastener as above. A second small unadorned fastener may be used to secure the top of the braid. A single braid shall be worn in the centre of the back, double braids shall be worn behind the shoulders. Hair shall be a maximum length when gathered behind the head and braided, which does not extend below the top of the armpit. Permission must be obtained before growing or cutting hair. Cadets shall commit to one hairstyle or another, they should not be changing their hairstyle every few weeks unless it is required for a specific tradition.
The wearing of headdress on different occasions reflects a combination of the cultural etiquette of formal Canadian society, military custom, and religious practices. As a guideline, the norms of formal etiquette should be followed. Further guidelines for common situations are provided in Section 3 of the most recent Cadet program dress regulations (CANCDTGEN-016-19-CJCR). These highlight the differences between those whose customs require removing headdress as a sign of respect, especially by males in religious circumstances (the North American and European Christian norm); and those who cover the head as a sign of religious respect (Jewish faith and others under varying circumstances). Similar requests to retain headdress may also apply to cadets who choose not to have religious affiliation. For more information, please download the dress regulations at CANCDTGEN-016-19-CJCR
Cadets may wear a wrist watch, a Medical Alert identifier and a maximum of two rings which are not of a costume jewelry nature.
Cadets in uniform may wear a single pair of plain gold, silver stud, white diamond, or pearl earrings in pierced ears. The single stud earring, worn in the centre of each earlobe, shall be spherical in shape and shall not exceed 0.6 cm (1/4 in.) in diameter. In addition to authorized earrings in pierced ears, conservative, non-visible, clear body piercing adornments are permitted to be worn by cadets in uniform or during cadet activities in civilian clothing.
Cadets are authorized to wear a minimal amount of make-up. During cadet activities, make-up shall be applied conservatively. The use of false eyelashes, heavy eyeliner, brightly coloured eye shadow, coloured nail polish, bright or vivid lipstick and excessive facial make-up is not authorized.
Cadets shall not display visible tattoos that could be deemed to be offensive or otherwise reflect discredit on the Cadet Program.
numbered orders of dress
Below you’ll find the various orders of dress for Air Cadets. If you have any questions, just ask a senior cadet or your Commanding Officer. Note that there is no diagram for ‘winter dress’ – it is essentially the same as ‘travel dress’ but with the light blue sweater instead of the t-shirt. If you haven’t received your sweater yet, know that it is on order.
badge, pin & medal placement
Below you’ll find diagrams that explain where the various badges, pins and medals cadets can earn for camps, optional activities, awards, etc. are to be affixed.
Note that fabric badges are to be sewn on with complementary colored thread – never glued or affixed with adhesive.
Left Sleeve: Achievement & Certification*
*with the exception of the Proficiency Level and Drum/Pipe Major badge, as depicted in the sleeves diagram.
right Sleeve: Summer Course Qualification
Below you’ll find diagrams that explain he various ranks attainable through the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program.