Female Marines will get dress slacks — a replacement for the service’s last required skirt — in time for the Marine Corps birthday balls in November 2024.

Before 2023, female officers and noncommissioned officers who wore the evening dress uniform, designed for fancy events like birthday balls, were required to don a long or knee-length black skirt. In September, the Marine Corps announced female Marines had the option to wear slacks with that uniform going forward.

But the exact female-specific design hasn’t yet been approved, so female Marines have had to wear their dress-blue slacks, purchase and tailor male slacks, or stick with the skirt.

The final design of the optional dress slacks for women will be ready for purchase by the final quarter of fiscal year 2024, which ends Oct. 1, Marine Corps spokeswoman Morgan Blackstock said in November.

The Marine Corps already has approved the design concept for the slacks, according to Blackstock.

The new high-waisted evening-dress slacks will be blue with a red stripe on the side for staff noncommissioned officers, and dark blue with a gold stripe on the side for officers, like the slacks worn by male Marines in the uniform, according to a Marine administrative message from September.

The introduction of the dress slacks for women marks the end of skirt mandates in the Marine Corps, slightly more than a century after the first women enlisted in the Marines, sometimes bearing the nickname “skirt Marines.” In no other uniform had female Marines been required to wear skirts, though skirts remain optional in certain uniforms.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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