shoulder loop

Shoulder mark

A shoulder mark, also called a shoulder loop, (rank) slide, slip on, epaulette sleeve, or (erroneously) an epaulette, is a flat cloth sleeve worn on the shoulder strap of a uniform. It may bear rank or other insignia.


The newer Auscam uniform design lacks shoulder epaulettes, instead opting for a sleeve on the front of the chest region of the uniform. Rank insignia tags are slipped onto this sleeve. Unlike the older uniform designs, there are slip-ons for every rank in the Australian Defence Force.

The older Auscam uniform designs featured shoulder straps, upon which slip-on rank insignia of Commissioned Officers could be affixed. No shoulder-strap slip-ons are available for enlisted members, who have rank patches sewed onto the uniform arms. This older design is no longer issued, but may still be seen on personnel whose most recent uniform issue pre-dates the use of the new design.


In the Canadian Forces, slip-ons are worn on the shoulder straps of the Service Dress shirt, overcoat, raincoat, and sweater; CANEX parka and windbreaker; Naval Combat Dress jacket and shirt; Military Police Operational Patrol Dress shirt and jacket; and the old olive-drab Combat Uniform jacket and shirt. The slip-ons are worn on a similar-style strap located in the centre of the chest (and sometimes centre of the back as well) of the CADPAT shirt, jacket, parka, and raincoat. Slip-ons are not worn on the Service Dress jacket, or with Mess Dress.

Canadian Forces slip-ons include:

  • Army Service Dress: rifle green slip-on with a regimental or branch title, or the word "CANADA", in gold cotton thread, called "CF gold", at the bottom (shoulder) edge. Officers also wear their rank insignia in CF gold braid; non-commissioned members' slip-ons are plain.
  • Air Force Service Dress: Air Force blue slip-on with "CANADA" in a darker shade of gold thread called "old gold" at the bottom. Officers' ranks are in CF gold braid, non-commissioned members' in old gold.
  • Navy Service Dress and Naval Combat Dress: black slip-ons with "CANADA" and rank insignia (all ranks) in CF gold.
  • Army and Air Force CADPAT: Slip-ons are either in CADPAT Temperate Woodland (TW) or Arid Region (AR) disruptive pattern, as determined by the uniform. The word "CANADA" or an applicable branch, regimental, or air unit title is stitched near the bottom, with rank insignia (all ranks) above; thread is tan for Army personnel and dark blue for Air Force.
  • Combat uniform: olive drab slip-on with "CANADA" or regimental title on the bottom edge in a lighter olive thread. Rank insignia was embroidered on for officers, and sometimes for non-commissioned members; more often, the non-commissioned member's rank was issued in the form of a patch that was either stitched onto the epaulet (preferred Air Force and Navy practice) or directly onto the upper shirt or jacket sleevewith the slip-on left blank (preferred Army practice).

United States


Based on the shoulderboards used by the United States Navy, the United States Army and Air Force developed the shoulder mark, a cloth tube with one stripe far from the collar for senior officers, an additional stripe at the top for general officers, no stripes for junior officers and enlisted men, and embroidered or pinned rank insignia. These are worn on all class B uniform shirts; the US Navy wears soft epaulettes only on long sleeve white shirts. The Coast Guard wears Naval style shoulderboards on all class B uniform shirts.

Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America uses colored shoulder loops worn on the shoulder straps to indicate the program level. webelo scouts and leaders wear blue loops, Boy Scouts and leaders wear red loops, Varsity Scouts and leaders wear blaze (orange) loops, and Venturers and leaders wear green loops. Adults or youth who hold a district, council, or section position wear silver loops; those with regional or national positions wear gold loops.


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