It was desirable that the chaplain should be easily recognised. In peacetime in New Zealand, and at all other times in Empire forces, the chaplain wears a distinctive cap and lapel badge, but during the war the universal 2nd NZEF badge was compulsory. There is much to be said for the wearing of the clerical collar. It may not look well in uniform but no one can mistake it. One or page 30 two New Zealand chaplains wore this collar right through the war whenever possible, but for the most part it was worn only by Church of England and Roman Catholic chaplains when taking services. In the Royal Army Chaplains' Department the clerical collar was normal dress though it could be replaced by a soft collar and a black tie. But some confusion was caused when the Navy began wearing khaki battle dress and dark ties. Some sailors on land were surprised by the treatment they received from soldiers, while in Army circles strange and apocryphal tales were told of the nautical language and behaviour of certain clerical gentlemen. As in the Royal Army Chaplains' Department, 2nd NZEF chaplains wore black buttons and black badges of rank.
However, when the universal uniform in the desert was shorts and shirts, something more distinctive was necessary to mark the chaplain. In 1941 New Zealand chaplains began to wear a purple loop which slid over the shoulder strap of shirt or tunic. The Royal Army Chaplains' Department carried this idea to its logical conclusion and produced a purple loop with the word ‘chaplain’ clearly marked in white.