A recent Marine Corps uniform board has approved black socks and ombré nail polish in the combat utility uniform, slightly longer hair for all Marines and special characters on nametapes.

Updated maternity uniforms are now rolling out for pregnant Marines.

But the Marine Corps remains the only service branch to not allow ponytails for women in uniforms other than the physical training uniform.

The changes, made official Wednesday in an all-Marine message, were made in an effort to “positively impact diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said 1st Lt. Phillip Parker, a spokesman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command.

Uniform changes

Marines who have apostrophes, accent marks, tildes or hyphens in their last names finally will get to display them on their name tapes, according to the MARADMIN.

But despite the change, the font and size of the nametape will remain the same, so Marines with long or duel last names may still have issues fitting their entire name.

Marines also will be authorized to grow the “bulk of their hair,” up to three inches. The bulk of the hair is defined as how far away from the scalp the hair is when it lays flat.

Previously, Marines were allowed to have hair as long as three inches, but the hair could be no longer than two inches while laying flat. The new rule allows Marines to have their hair be three inches thick while laying flat.

In addition to allowing thicker hair, the Marine Corps will allow men to edge up their hairlines.

“‘Edging up’ undesirable hair that extends beyond or below the natural hairline is authorized (e.g., remove a ‘widow’s peak,’ or remove excessive hair on forehead so it provides a neat line), as long as it provides a neat, professional, and natural appearance,” the MARADMIN reads.

The Marine Corps also allow Marines to wear helmet caps in certain circumstances.

“(Commercial) black, olive drab, MARPAT and coyote helmet caps (also known as helmet caps or helmet liners) may 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 MARADMIN reads. “The helmet cap will not be worn in lieu of the MCCUU caps.”

For women the Corps is now allowing more nail polish options while in uniform.

Though it was allowed under the previous order, the new regulation emphasizes that “nude fingernail polish that resembles the wearer’s skin tone and covers the whole nail,” is authorized to wear in the utility uniform.

In addition to the nude and natural colored nail polishes women were allowed to wear in their utilities, ombre style nail polish is now allowed according to the MARADMIN.

Nail polish worn by women in the service or the dress blue uniform are still required to be a shade of red and must “complement the skin tone.”

For pregnant Marines, the Corps is unrolling some updates to the maternity uniform.

The Corps is adopting a better fitting version of the maternity uniform that uses side tabs with the current service uniform maternity tunic and maternity khaki shirt. Additionally, a nursing undershirt that eases access for pumping and nursing is available.

“These updates have been included in this MARADMIN as a supplemental announcement to the force, though they have been available for purchase since March and April of 2021 in Marine Corps Exchanges,” Headquarters Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Sam Stephenson said in a Feb. 22 email.

The Marine Corps “tentatively” expects a maternal dress blue skirt, dress blue slacks and physical training shorts to be available sometime in fiscal year 2023.

Black socks, still no ponytails

Black socks long have been worn by Marines who believed low boot blouses would hide the uniform violation.

But, with the Wednesday MARADMIN, yesterday’s rebels are now well within right to wear black, coyote brown or olive drab socks in utility uniforms.

Marines assigned to the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group stationed at Marine Corps Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, will be given two sets of woodland utility uniforms and one pair of hot weather combat boots with the enlisted uniform allowance.

“Officers are not eligible for supplemental allowances,” the MARADMIN said.

Despite the changes, the Corps remains the only service to ban ponytails in non-physical-training uniforms.

Since 2018, the Navy has allowed women in its ranks to sport ponytails and other hairstyles, while the Army, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard all changed hair policies for women in 2021.

But the Corps may change its stance on ponytails soon.

“The Commandant of the Marine Corps, along with senior leadership, are still considering proposals for adjustments to the female hair policy and a decision will be announced via a separate MARADMIN at a later date,” Capt. Ryan Bruce told Marine Corps Times in an email Feb. 17.

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