Like the British Army, army uniforms in Singapore are divided into several ‘grades’: although, there are substantially less at 5 grades compared to the British Army’s 14.
The Singapore Army uniform number 1 (colloquially, no. 1) is worn during ceremonial occasions: parades, state and military funerals, and military weddings, just to name a few. Men and women wear a white tunic and white gloves. Trousers and skirts are black, with differently coloured braids depending on vocation.
The No. 2 uniform is worn during formal dining and social occasions, such as the annual dining-in or the OCS’s social night. Men wear a white jacket with gold buttons over a frilled white shirt and black trousers, complemented by a red bowtie and red cummerbund.
The No. 3 uniform is a little less commonly seen; it is the army’s office kit, i. e. worn by clerks, for one. Colours vary according to service branch, but for Army men, the shirt is a light shade of green and the trousers/skirt, a dark shade, complemented by a SAF-issue belt with its logo embossed on the buckle.
The No. 4 uniform is the most ubiquitous of all army uniforms in Singapore, being the most visible icon of the SAF. The shirt is widely known amongst servicemen, as the ‘smart 4’. In 2009, the uniform was updated after two decades with a pixelated camouflage design, and improvements to functionality and comfort. Rank insignias are now worn on a chest strap. The No. 4 hasn’t always come with a camouflaged pattern however: as late as the 1980s, servicemen wore uniforms in a singular shade of what is known as Temasek green.
The No. 5 uniform might be said to be a less formal version of the No. 2 uniform in that it is worn during less formal, social occasions like the Presidential Garden Reception. It is always worn with a tie (in official army parlance, No. 5T), and in some cases a jacket (No. 5J): the latter, with medals appended as well (No. 5J Enhanced). It is broadly similar to the No. 3 uniform, save for the length of shirtsleeves.
Disposal of old uniforms
NSMen who no longer bear any service obligations may choose to dispose of their Singapore Army uniforms at the Army Logistics base, or SAF eMarts based in the following camps:
• Clementi Camp
• Jurong Camp
• Khatib Camp
• Nee Soon Camp
• Pulau Tekong Camp
• Selarang Camp
• Stagmont Camp
• Sungei Gedong Camp
• Tanjong Gul Camp
Note that this is entirely voluntary (i. e. it is not compulsory). You may choose to keep your army uniforms for its sentimental value.
Wearing army uniforms in Singapore outside of military service
Under the Uniform and Decorations Act, it is an offence to wear any part of the uniform (whether the boots, or the badges, or even the belt) without authorisation. The penalty is a fine not more than $400 or up to three months’ jail. Although no convictions have been made under this Act, it is only right to treat the Singapore Armed Forces uniform with some respect as well. In January 2016, a group of groomsmen were criticised by netizens for wearing the Smart 4 to a wedding.
The only exception to this provision, is SAF Day (celebrated annually on 1 July), where some companies allow NSMen or former NSMen to wear their uniforms to work.