June, 16

US Navy Mess Dress: A Guide to Looking Sharp and Elegant

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The US Navy Mess Dress is a term that often rings a bell for those who are fascinated by military uniforms. It refers to the formal dress worn by members of the United States Navy during special events and occasions, such as weddings, balls, and ceremonies. This type of dress code is considered one of the most elegant and sophisticated in the world.

The US Navy Mess Dress has a long history dating back to World War I when it was first introduced for officers who needed an outfit appropriate for formal dining events aboard naval ships. Over time, this uniform evolved into what we know today – complete with intricate details such as gold buttons, white gloves, sword belts and more. The importance given to this uniform reflects not only its historical significance but also its cultural importance within the US Navy.

If you're interested in learning more about this fascinating piece of military attire – from its history to how it's made today – then read on!

US Navy Mess Dress: A Detailed Guide


The US Navy mess dress is the formal military attire worn by officers and enlisted personnel at official events. It is a symbol of honor, tradition, and professionalism that dates back to the early days of naval history.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the US Navy mess dress. From its history to its design features, we will cover it all.

History of the Mess Dress

The origins of the mess dress can be traced back to 1845 when Admiral David Farragut introduced a new uniform for his officers that featured a white jacket and black trousers. This uniform was later adopted by other navies around the world and became known as "mess dress."

Over time, different variations of this uniform were developed for use in various events such as formal dinners or balls. The current design features a black double-breasted coat with gold buttons bearing an anchor emblem on each button.

Design Features

The US Navy mess dress consists of several components:


As mentioned earlier, it is double-breasted with six gold buttons on each side that are arranged in two columns. The collar has peaked lapels made from satin material while cuffs are rounded with three small gold buttons fastened vertically along their length.


These have two vertical stripes running down either side from waistband to hem; they match color-wise with coat lapels and cuff piping.


This should be white long-sleeved shirt featuring French cuffs which require cufflinks but do not have pleats or texture designs on chest area so as not detract from overall appearance when wearing full-dress uniforms like these ones!


Black patent leather oxford shoes complete entire outfit nicely – no less than shined up best shine there ever was! Remember though never wear brown shoes!

A sword/ saber might also be worn in a scabbard when on formal occasions.

Comparison with Other Military Mess Dresses

The US Navy mess dress is unique to the navy and has its own distinct design. However, it shares some similarities with other military mess dresses such as the United States Marine Corps (USMC) dress blues or Army blue uniforms.

While the USMC dress blues also feature a double-breasted coat with gold buttons, they are typically adorned with red piping around their edges. The Army blue uniform features a single-breasted coat and does not have peaked lapels on its collar.

Benefits of Wearing Mess Dress

Wearing a US Navy mess dress comes with several benefits for officers and enlisted personnel alike:


The formal appearance of the uniform conveys professionalism which is essential for naval officers who represent their country at international events! It demands respect from others who see them wearing it because attire represents competence level within military unit serving under!

Tradition & Heritage

Each branch of service takes pride in its traditions, customs, and heritage; wearing such full-dress uniforms symbolizes one’s loyalty to that profession! By donning these attires navy members become part something larger than themselves; they connect past future sailors civil servants together reminding everyone else what this honorable career means overall!

Tips for Wearing Mess Dress

When wearing your US Navy mess dress:

  • Make sure that every component fits correctly – there should be no bunching or sagging anywhere!

  • Keep everything clean & polished – all buttons must shine brightly as well shoes glistening polished.

  • Accessories wisely chosen – make sure any medals ribbons properly situated upon chest area honorably displayed along coordinating gloves belt worn too if necessary!


In conclusion, the US Navy mess dress is an iconic piece of military attire that has been around since Admiral David Farragut introduced his new uniform back in 1845. The design features a double-breasted black coat with gold buttons, peaked lapels on collar and rounded cuffs, along with trousers featuring vertical stripes running down their sides.

Wearing this full-dress uniform is not only professional but also represents the navy's rich heritage and traditions. Remember to keep all components polished, fit perfectly well while accessorizing wisely so as not detract from overall appearance!


What is the US Navy Mess Dress?

The US Navy Mess Dress is a formal military uniform worn by officers and enlisted personnel during special events such as black-tie dinners, weddings, and other formal occasions. It is also known as the Dinner Dress Uniform or Formal Dress. The uniform features a dark blue/black jacket with gold buttons for officers and silver buttons for enlisted sailors, navy trousers or skirt depending on gender along with appropriate accessories.

The mess dress uniform has been in use since 1845 when it was first introduced in the British Royal Navy. It soon became popular among other navies including that of United States which adopted it early on.

How do I order and wear my US Navy Mess Dress?

To order your mess dress, you will need to go through your chain of command or authorized retailer who carries the official uniforms from manufacturer required by military regulations. You can also purchase accessories like shoes, medals/badges at these locations.

When wearing your mess dress be sure that all components are properly fitted according to military regulations ensuring proper fitment at all times regardless of rank/position held within unit before donning attire (e.g., medals sewn correctly). This includes following guidelines regarding how to tie required knot in bowtie/windsor knot if applicable

Maintain proper hygiene/cleanliness prior to putting items on – if not already done so ahead time:- grooming hair/facial hair/clipping nails/dressing appropriately undergarments/coordinating colors based event standards set forth by service branch being served under).

Can I customize my US Navy Mess Dress?

No changes may be made to any part of the issued standard navy mess dress coat/jacket/trousers/skirt without authorization from higher echelon authorities within service branch being served under,

Accessories can include cufflinks/tie tacks /medals/ribbons/shoes worn per regulation governing specific occasion/personnel involved.
Customization may include addition of authorized badges/insignia/metallic devices per authority providing approval for alterations as allowed.

What occasions are appropriate to wear the US Navy Mess Dress?

The US Navy Mess Dress is only worn during formal military events that require black-tie attire, such as state dinners, diplomatic receptions and other ceremonial events. It is compulsory for officers above a certain rank (e.g., O-4 in the Navy) and optional for lower ranks.

For enlisted sailors, it depends on their status within the unit. In general, mess dress occasions will be more prestigious events with formal restrictions on behavior to match occasion being served under – typically reserved exclusive members or official representatives of senior officer group/unit event being hosted.

It's important to note that wearing a mess dress is not mandatory even during approved functions but considered an honor inciting respect from colleagues and showing commitment towards service duty when done so properly.

How do I care for my US Navy Mess Dress?

You should take proper care of your navy mess dress by following manufacturer guidelines provided with garment at time purchase ensuring all cleaning instructions are strictly adhered too.
This includes washing at appropriate temperature/water level/drying settings without adding harsh chemicals or bleach -recommended hand wash if possible using mild detergent unless otherwise stated by manufacturer. Some parts may require special attention like accessories which can easily tarnish over time which may need polishing before use again after storage period ends.
Also consider storage conditions upon receipt: tightly sealed in clean air tight bag/container free moisture/dust etc until next use/event presentation; hang up fabric portions kept away direct sunlight/heat sources protecting from potential damage due exposure leading rotting/fading overtime leading degradation overall quality appearance/formal standards expected when presenting outfit

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