Today,Letitia Jett a femme d'un certain age , and I play a weekly game on our blogs. We share our views on our adopted countries, France for Letitia and The States for me, all the while comparing one and the other. We "come up" with a topic to "discuss" and we each publish our thoughts on the subject from our respective sides of the Ocean, never looking "at each other's sheet", so to speak.
There are some things we really love, others we miss. Some drive us nuts and sometimes we are very amused by something typical about our new homes. Whatever our point of view, we bring it to you on Mondays. This is what we interested us today...


Today is MEMORIAL DAY here in the United States. 
A time to remember the sacrifices, the courage, the sadness and the waste of very precious and often very young lives.
Others will commemorate this special day very fittingly with great pomp and circumstance, and they will do it much better than I ever could; 
With all due respect for this day and all it represents, what I want to talk about is a little more flippant; if some of you find this too casual please forgive me; it is not my intention to be insensitive; I would like to bring up the women in the armed forces and more particularly an aspect of their military lives: their clothing- could I say fashion?; well, their uniforms. 
All over the world, countries have allowed women into the ranks of their armies and these countries have had to come up with uniforms suited to the feminine shape. I am sure safety, practicality, comfort, conformity and cost have figured very high in the briefs put to those responsible for figuring out what would best be suited for military women. I would like to bring to you a panoply of what is gracing the camps posts and deployments here, there and everywhere in areas where women are serving in the world. If I may, I will also add a twist to this potentially impertinent subject by visiting countries other than the US and France. I will "digress" a little, and a little more and a little yet again.

A little style even here.
In Tchad the European forces issued these shorts and sleeveless tops to the French peace keepers. I wonder how many other nations have gone along with this cut. This could be the summer line at Bensimon.
This is practical and well suited but not a bad look at all on this Canine Unit officer. 
and this pilot is managing to look quite cool in this slim-cut one-piece overall.
A rolled-up sleeve, a nice belt, a hat worn with flair. Not bad for a regulation outfit.

Professionally pragmatic always.
The US soldier here is ready for very dangerous situations so she cannot afford to worry about the cut of her shirt, needless to say. She somehow manages to be very pretty- Yes, I know, that's not exactly the point. Nonetheless... 
I guess it's the cap I am not too wild about. The shirt is large and shapeless but comfort rules in "the theater". And well it should.

No reason not to show legs when you are NOT in combat these girls seem to say.. That's what the word "parade" is all about I guess.
The PR dept. went slightly overboard?
Wow! Radio City Hall could be interested.

Some uniforms give away the nationality of the wearers without the need for reading their insignias.
(armed police)
who else would wear a scarf this stylishly?
 no mystery there
 very Gorky park

There are some lucky girls who are issued a uniform where the brief was not taken verbatim: uni: one- form: shape...quite the contrary, they wear something avec des formes-shapely.

These women could wear this in civilian life, not that they might wish to...but those hats?

And then there are the make-believe "armies" from the movies, the morale boosting USO performances and ubiquitous posters of WWII. 

More hotel than army.

Men's uniforms with skirts.

Even in French movies is the uniform an asset, sometimes.
French national icon BB looked very sexy in her uniform in the movie "Babette s'en va en guerre". I am willing to bet HER uniform was not standard issue...

If we are to discuss fashion in the military, we must mention the current military in fashion.
No one is remotely suggesting this would work in combat in the REAL military. I don't believe these cute fashions qualify:
not practical 
not cut to fit all
not cost effective 
yes, comfortable
but obviously NOT made for any kind of deployment! 
Unless your are on a secret mission to infiltrate the enemy like a modern-day Mata Hari perhaps...


Please leave your comments, either below in the petits commentaires or at Letitia Jett's magnificent "parallel" post at a Femme d'un Certain Age . It's always so much fun to discover your reactions and ideas.
Au revoir.


  1. Northmoon31/5/10

    fascinating post of women in the military around the world. thank you for putting it together.

    like you i wish they didn't need to be there. how about a department of peace!

  2. Oh, Jeanne-Aelia, this post is wonderful, brilliant, fun, respectful -- perfect in every way. I couldn't imagine handling this subject any better.

    What is always amazing chez toi is the fact you write so beautifully in your second language. You are terrifyingly multi-talented. But lucky me, you are my friend and we're partners. Ah-ha.

    Now, I'm zipping right over to my post to add a sentence sending anyone who had the misfortune to start out on my blog and not yours, to get over here asap.

    Have a great day mon amie.

    xo, Letitia

  3. Northmoon: yes, "Imagine..."- John Lennon. Merci for the visit. A bientot.

    Letitia: I went out on a limb on this one but I did want to make it fun. Thank you for the effusion of compliments but I do need to be way up to your standards every Monday at least, you know; your post is great and as always so beutifully written! and as for the 2nd language, I have lived in English speaking countries for 30 years now, and went to schools with English only spoken for 4 years in the US and 2 in Zimbabwe; and this in my early teens, when you cannot but learn a language; so no huge merit there. As for talent, I believe there exists no such thing by itself, but rather some things one really loves and refines with practice and more practice. I hope I am not terrifying to ANYONE, BTW! Merci, a bientot.

  4. Such wonderful images during this memorial weekend. Giving thanks to all who have served our county and loved ones who have passed.

    Art by Karena

  5. Great post. Isn't it amazing how far women have gone in terms of the military in just a handfull of decades.

  6. You have really done a thorough job for this post! Pakistan has a really handsome uniform for women, wow. Naturally France is my favorite, the many versions of it, make it practical. Never thought I´d be giving points to military outfits. Thank you for this fine, visual post.

  7. I really enjoyed this as my mother was a Marine and my Aunt Maryanne retired from the Women's Army Corps. After being beauty queens in Atlantic City........!!!!!They would have loved this.....:)

  8. this was really cool. i'm glad you featured women in the forces. all over the world. really interesting. happy memorial day!

  9. Fantastic post! Loved it.