From my blog on The Kitchen Table at http://thekitchentable.firerescue1.com/
When my wife recently got Molly - our puppy - a sweater. I - in my most loving and tactful way - questioned the need and the expense. I think I said something like "Have you lost your mind? A sweater for a dog??? Frankly, I thought it looked silly and was unnecessary.
She then proceeded to explain that unlike our other dog, Molly's short hair doesn't keep her warm when she goes out on some of our colder winter nights. After she got so cold that she shivered on a couple of her evening walks, the doggie sweater was purchased and presto - Molly is now nice and warm. There was an immediate benefit - Molly no longer resists going outside, and she's stopped leaving those special little presents on the carpet...hurrah!
The doggie sweater has a parallel for the fire service. How many of us set up our gear in a way that looks cool, but doesn't protect us the way it should? How many of us wear a pair of melted, opaque Bourkes because we think the OSHA-compliant goggles make us look geeky? How many of us don't wear flash hoods because we feel the need to use our ears as a meat thermometer? How many of us resist getting new gear issued because it doesn't look salty?
Get the right gear and wear it appropriately, even if you think it makes you look like you're wearing a doggie sweater. You'll get used to it. Molly did.