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> updated 30/04/09
Illustration of wearing tie with (legacy) uniform

Whether old or new, "good manners" call for the wearing of some sort of neckwear when wearing a long-sleeved shirt.


All Uniform Neckwear Ties

Wearing Ties with the Official Uniform

Ken Nicholson wrote and asked:

Another question regarding uniforming: these days I've been wearing the khaki BSA tie with my Unit Commissioner's uniform. I like the traditional, business-like message that it sends. I've noticed a couple of people selling BSA ties on ebay, one of them navy, the other brown, and I'm wondering whether these were once official field uniform wear or whether they were for civilian wear.

There's several ties that's being offered through eBay and other auction houses, Ken. All of them are authorized for wear with the official BSA uniform if they have the BSA's seal on them (see below).

The BSA created middle-width ties in green, dark blue and brown, to correspond to the wearing of Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Exploring adult (male) leaders back in the 50s and 60s. These ties were originally designed to wear with the "dress uniform" (special wool or dacron-blended uniforms, some with wool jackets) by both volunteers and professionals.

Examples of ties in green and brown

A little later, the BSA created special "employee ties" in red and brown with yellow BSA emblems (the full emblem, not a FDL That's what distinguishes these ties from "fake ones" offered on the forums...the real ones have the full BSA emblem and not just an outline). Here are examples:

My "employee ties" in red and brown...

The "employee ties" were made available through the Supply Divison, and many Scouters got those ties to wear with civilian clothing or with the green BSA "sport jacket".

Later, those items were shelved when the BSA adopted the "Mason-Dixon" or "Zoot suit", the blue jacket with grey slacks and white shirt in the early 70s. In their places were striped ties in blue and yellow for Cub Scouters; red and silver for Boy Scouters; red and blue for Exploring leaders; and red, blue and silver striped for District/Council/National leaders and professionals.

There were cuttottes for female Scouters and female Explorers to wear in those same color combinations.

From left to right: the Bluegrass Scouting Alliance Club's tie in maroon and silver; the Explorer/Exploring leaders' tie in red and blue; and the volunteer/professional tie in red, silver and blue

This was really popular, and many professionals enjoyed the ties so much that they wore them with their civilian clothing; which gave way to the BSA's removal of that "outfit" as "professional attire" and made it optional wear (until 2008).

As a new Scouting club, my old Explorer Post on campus adopted a special maroon and silver striped tie which I still wear on occasion with my field uniform (see above); I sometimes wear the red, blue and silver striped ties as well with my field uniform (it depends on the occasion I'm going to or speaking at.) Like you, I like the "professional look" the ties give me when wearing them.

But all of those ties (less the maroon and silver, EKU's colors by the way) are official and may be worn with the field uniform. How do I know?? Because they show the BSA's seal on the backside like this:

"See the seal?"

Now, somewhere I read that uniform items are never obsolete. For example, a scout could wear the old rectangular Scout cap or official red beret and not be out of uniform. A number of my senior Scouters occasionally wear their older uniform parts to roundtables, trainings, etc and I'm assuming that old uniform wear is not against BSA policy.

That's right. There's a similarly worded statement and the justification/documentation of that statement here. That question comes up frequently, and was one of the reasons why I created the site. Basically, if the item is serviceable, and if you have "all pieces" (hats, ties, and socks don't count), you may wear it as if you were wearing the official current uniform. The insignia must be either be complete as to that "era" or you must wear the current insignia in the prescribed places as stated in the (current)(official) Insigina Guide.

There is an olive Scouters' tie which is available from the Supply Group; see the photo illustration in the upper left corner. I do not know the olive tie is okay for wear with the current "Centennial" uniform.


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