Red Sea rig

Red Sea rig, sometimes known as gulf rig or schooner rig, is a dress code for semi-formal evening events, which in general consists of black tie attire with the jacket removed, a red bow tie and red cummerbund, although there are local variations.


Red Sea rig was originally a Royal Navy concept appearing during the nineteenth century. Historically, it was felt that Royal Navy officers, like their British Army counterparts, should wear the full appropriate uniform for all formal events, whatever the temperature. The sole exception was in the Red Sea, where the heat and humidity often made this physically impossible. Here, officers were permitted to remove their jackets in the wardroom, provided they added a cummerbund to temper the somewhat informal look. Royal Air Force officers serving on Navy ships follow the naval tradition wearing a Red Sea rig version of their own mess dress.[1]

In his reminiscences For King and Country, Nelson Albert Tomalin describes a rather home-made version of Red Sea rig worn on board the whaler Southern Sea in 1943 as "...white shirt with epaulettes and long blue trousers with a black scarf as a cummerbund...".[2]

Because of its obvious practicality, Red Sea rig was adopted into civilian life, first by British diplomats in the Red Sea town of Jeddah, and later by the local British Business Group.[3] It is now widely worn by many military and civilian organisations and is often the dress code of choice for dinner parties in British expatriate communities in the Middle East and Far East.[4]

Red Sea rig originated prior to air conditioning as a purely practical measure, but has now become a dress-style in its own right, even if the party or function is held in an air conditioned venue.

Decorations, even in miniature, are not normally worn with Red Sea rig, although medal miniature ribbons are.[5]


There are many military and civilian variations of Red Sea rig:

See also


  2. For King and Country Nelson Albert Tomalin
  3. BBG Jeddah Dress code
  4. Speeech by David Lyman,"Yesteryear – Bangkok 1956 What Life Was Like When AMCHAM Thailand Was Born", reproduced in Thai-American Business, March–April 2006
  5. Example from Indian Navy regulations
  7. Retrieved June 25, 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. Dressing on, adapted from material published by the Overseas Briefing Center of the U.S. Department of State
  9. Royal Marines Fact Sheets
  10. Clan Campbell Society North America, Scottish Highland Dress
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 6/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.