May 25, 2024

Female Marines no longer have to wear pantyhose when wearing their service or dress uniforms, according to a Monday update to the service’s uniform regulations.

“Effective immediately, the wear of hosiery with skirts is optional,” the order read. “When wearing hosiery, however, skin tone harmonizing nylon will be worn.”

Previously, Marines were required to wear full-length, nylon pantyhose in either skin or smoky-toned hues, depending on whether they were wearing their service or dress blues skirt.

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For Marines who now choose to forgo wearing pantyhose, they must don either no-show socks or shoe liners, “for hygienic purposes and to avoid abrasions or blisters caused by direct contact and rubbing between the foot and shoe.”

The change also removes the option for Marines to wear any gray or smoky-toned pantyhose, with black-toned tights only allowed when wearing trousers.

The update further noted that “when slacks are worn as part of the evening dress, blue dress, or service uniforms, either black oxfords or black dress flats will be worn at the individual’s option, except that oxfords will be prescribed for drill, parades, and other occasions which require functional uniformity.”

Pregnant Marines are allowed to choose between oxfords, flats or pumps, even while wearing the skirt.

The Marine Corps and the Army were the last two branches to maintain the hosiery requirement for female troops. The Air Force first removed their mandate in 2021, with the Navy doing the same in 2022.

Unlike a shortage of cammies that recently drove changes to uniform regulations, this change stemmed purely from Marines’ behests.

According to a Marine Corps uniform board survey first reviewed by Marine Corps Times, Marines requested the pantyhose requirement be dropped. The survey will be open for Marines to voice a number of their uniform-related concerns until March 26.

The last time the Corps changed a uniform regulation at the request of female Marines was in September, after women advocated for the service to allow female staff noncommissioned officers and officers to wear slacks with their evening dress uniform. It was the last uniform that had a skirt-only mandate for women in the Corps.

“Any time when you make a recommendation to the larger institution and you’re heard, and your recommendation is accepted, it feels good,” Col. Kelly Frushour, one of the Marines who advocated for the skirt change, told Military.com in September.

“I think it’s a great thing for Marines to be able to choose.”

— Rachel Nostrant is a Marine Corps veteran and freelance journalist, with work published in Reuters, New York Magazine, Military Times and more.

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