The Indian Air Force came into existence during the days of the Raj, to be precise in 1932. At that time the uniform was the same as that worn by the Royal Air Force and was of a khaki shade with a bush shirt with 4 pockets and shorts or trousers as per the requirement of the desert. The ranks were worn on the shoulders and the ribbons on the breast just above the pocket.
However after independence the shorts were discarded and the other dress retained. At that time the IAF had two sets of uniforms, one for summer wear and the second for winter wear. The summer uniform was made of cotton and had a khaki shade. It was a bush shirt with a cloth belt and the ranks were again worn on the shoulders. The wings and the ribbons were worn on the breast above the pockets. The bush shirt was full sleeved but was born with sleeves rolled up during summer, though one could wear the bush shirt with rolled down sleeves at night. The standard shoes were black Oxfords with all dresses. This uniform continued till 1971 when a change was incorporated.
As far as the head dress was concerned there were two types of caps referred to as the F/S or Field service cap or peak cap for ceremonial occasions. These caps have not changed for the last 65 years. The F/s cap had the Air Force eagle on the left side while the Air Force emblem was in the centre of the Peak cap. For a short time the beret was introduced, but soon discarded.
Winter uniform consisted of blue terry wool and there were two sets. For every day wear there was the battle Jacket with trousers. This jacket had a cloth belt and had two pockets. It was buckled around the waist above the trouser and all officers wore it with a blue shirt and black tie. It was a popular dress in the IAF. For ceremonial wear there was a tunic with the trousers. This had 6 brass buttons and on the whole looked elegant. While the battle jacket had the ranks worn on the shoulders, the tunic had the rank braids worn on the sleeves. The light blue shirt and black tie was also part of this dress.
In 1971 the bush shirt was discarded and replaced with a half sleeve shirt and a leather belt was introduced. The cotton was also dispensed with and replaced with terry cotton cloth. This uniform looked better as the earlier bush shirt had a tendency to crumple during the day.
A further change in the color of the uniform was affected by Air Chief Polly Mehra in 1985 and the color of the uniform was replaced from Khaki to deep blue for trousers and light blue for shirts. Other things remained the same but the leather belt was discarded and replaced by a cloth belt. These are the working dresses of the IAF. Ceremonial winter wear and battle jacket is retained though a sweater is introduced as a semi winter dress.