The Marine Corps uses a variety of uniforms for different occasions and seasons.
The Marine Corps uses a variety of uniforms for different occasions and seasons.

The Marine Corps upholds a high standard for appearance. At all times, Marines must look neat, clean, and overall, professional. Uniform checks come with certain restrictions that every Marine must abide by. Each season or occasion prescribes a different uniform with its own set of guidelines that can be found in the Permanent Marine Corps Uniform Board.

General Rules

Marines maintain a duty to appear dignified and respectable at all times. Uniforms may not be interchangeable. Athletic exercises and different field operations require different types of dress. A commander sets the uniform of the day according to the duties and weather of the day. Marines may not mutilate their bodies in any form, including tattoos, brands or piercings, although female marines are allowed earrings. In addition, hair styles, jewelry, and eyeglasses may not be eccentric or "faddish" as they detract from uniform and team identity. A conservative style of dress is recommended.

Grooming for Men

Hair must be natural in color. Fingernails need to be clean and trimmed. Nail polish for male Marines is not allowed. Hair must be neat and closely trimmed. Faces must be clean shaven unless you have a mustache, which must be trimmed. Mustache hair must not exceed 1/2 inch.

Grooming for Women

Hair may touch the collar but may not extend below the collar's lower edge. Eccentric hairstyles are not allowed. Barrettes combs, rubber bands may be worn if concealed by hair. Cosmetics may also be worn but must be applied conservatively. Nail polish in shades of red may be worn but Marines prohibit the use of nail polish with the utility uniform. The Corps do not require female marines to remove leg hair unless unsightly and cannot be covered with hosiery.

Designation of Uniforms

Authorized uniforms for Marine officers are designated as evening dress, blue dress, blue-white dress, service, and utility uniforms. Blue dress and blue-white dress uniforms except blue dress "A" and blue white dress "A," and service uniforms may be prescribed for leave and liberty within United States.

Evening Dress Uniforms

The officers' evening dress "A" uniform may be worn for official formal evening functions at which civilians would normally wear evening clothes or "white tie" during both winter and summer. Evening dress "A" contains dark blue with black pants or dark blue trousers with skirt, and a white waistcoast for male officers and a long skirt for female officers. Evening dress "B" for "black tie" events is the same uniform but with a scarlet waistcoat or scarlet cummerbund. Females wear the long or short skirt.

Blue Dress Uniforms

Marine Corps designates blue dress uniforms for parades, ceremonies, and formal or semi-formal social functions. Blue dress "A" and "B" are the same except that blue dress "B" requires ribbons to be worn instead of medals. Blue dress comes with a blue coat and blue trousers/skirt/slacks. Blue dress "C" defines a long khaki shirt without coat and tie for male marines and tab for female Marines. Blue dress "D" is a short sleeve khaki shirt without coat. Female marines may wear slacks with blue dress uniforms.

Blue-White Uniforms

Blue-white dress may be worn during the summer season and for official military/social occasions for which the blue dress uniform is normally prescribed. Blue-white dress "A" is the same as blue dress "A" except that the trousers or skirt is white. Blue-white dress "A" and "B" come with a blue coat and white trousers/skirt/slacks. With white slacks or white trousers, female officers and SNCOs wear black, pumps, black oxfords, or black dress flats with dark hose or black socks, gold or peal earrings (optional) and a white shirt with black necktab. If wearing a white skirt, female officers may wear the same shoes as with trousers, but must wear skin-tone nylon hose and a white shirt with red necktab (officers) or black necktab (SNCOs).

Service Uniforms

Service "A" uniforms may be worn for parades, ceremonies, social events, and as a uniform of the day. Service uniform "A" contains a green coat and service trousers/skirt/slacks. Females wear either the long or short sleeve khaki shirt and green neck tab with this uniform. A service coat is not worn with service "B" uniform, which contains khaki short sleeve shirt with blue trousers/skirt/slacks. Short-sleeve khaki shirts with appropriate green service trousers or skirt/slacks may be worn as the service "C" uniform.

Utility Uniforms

This is a Marine's working uniform. It contains a camouflage coat and trousers with a sweater or sweatshirt underneath depending on weather. The Corps authorize wear of the utility uniform while commuting to and from work to include all travel aboard DOD-owned/controlled aircraft.

Physical Training Uniforms

A standard physical training uniform consists of the green general purpose trunks and the standard live green undershirt. Footwear or headgear with PT uniforms is discretionary according to the commander. Cold weather PT uniform consists of an olive green sweat shirt and olive green sweat pants with "USMC" lettering and Marine Corps emblem on the left breast of the shirt and upper left leg of the pants.