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Marines alter uniform regulations, including maternity wear, manicure options and hairstyle

Marines wait in line Nov. 9, 2018 to have their uniforms examined by base fitters at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. (Staff Sgt. Tyler Hlavac/U.S. Marine Corps)

The U.S. Marine Corps uniform regulations aren’t altered very often. But a slew of changes are coming or effective immediately, including altered maternity clothes for pregnant Marines.

The uniform changes, which were made official in an all-Marine message on Wednesday, also include increased hair length, edging up one’s hairline, and additional manicure options for female Marines.

Maternity uniforms have been updated to include more options for pregnant Marines, including adjustable side tabs on the maternity tunic and short and long-sleeve shirts. Non-tab blouses are still authorized for issue and wear. The Corps says available options will vary by MCX and MCCS location until all non-tabbed items are sold out. The Corps is also developing additional items for optional purchase or inclusion in the maternity uniform supplemental allowance.

The U.S. Marine Corps uniform regulations aren’t altered very often. But a slew of changes are coming or effective immediately, including altered maternity clothes for pregnant Marines. (US Marine Corps/TNS)

The Marine Corps hopes the changes help “positively impact diversity, equity and inclusion,” 1st Lt. Phillip Parker, a spokesman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, told the Marine Corps Times.

The changes don’t involve any of the Marines’ classic uniforms such as their dress blues.

“Changes (from) the Uniform Board occur as needed,” the program manager of the Marine Corps Uniform Board said via email. “Historically the Uniform Board meets once or twice a year.”

A maternity undershirt has been certified and is available for purchase. Each Marine will receive supplemental cash allowance for the purchase of two undershirts. The maternity undershirt is authorized for wear the same way as the standard olive drab undershirt.

The nursing undershirt has also been certified and available for optional purchase. Only certified nursing shirts will be worn with the uniform. The shirt is an undergarment and cannot be worn as an outer garment, according to the Corps.

Male Marines are now allowed to “edge up” their hairline, if desired. This includes evening up one’s natural hairline. For example, a “widow’s peak” can now be removed, or excessive forehead hair can be altered to create a neat line as “as long it provides a neat, professional and natural appearance,” according to the Marine Corps release.

The Marines’ bulk of hair limitations has been extended to 3 inches from 2. This includes hair pulled into a bun. The Marine Corps remains the only service branch not allowing ponytails for women in uniforms other than the physical training uniform, according to the Marine Corps Times.

Female Marines are permitted to wear clear and nude-colored fingernail polish that resembles the Marine’s skin tone and covers the entire nail, and have manicures that “mimic the natural nail.” This includes French and ombre manicures. These are authorized for wear with all uniforms.

Other changes and updates to the uniform regulations include the addition of special characters used for names on the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform nametapes, including apostrophes, accents marks, tildes and hyphens. The changes however are limited to the space allowed on the nametape, which will keep the same width and minimum font size.

Optional black, olive drab, MARPAT and coyote helmet caps may now be worn underneath the helmet and may be worn as an outer garment for short periods when the helmet is removed, per the commander’s discretion. The helmet cap will not be worn in lieu of the Utility Uniform caps, however. And optional olive drab or black cushion boot socks may be worn with the Utility Uniform.


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