Marine Corps removes item from womens’ uniform after it didn’t “pass a ‘common sense’ test”

Marine Corps Ball in Big Bear, California in 2017. Photo by Keith Hayes

By Michael Swaney

For the first time since 1948, the Marine Corps has made this part of the Women’s dress uniform optional after it didn’t pass a “common sense” test during the Marine Corps’ Talent Management initiative.

Marine Corps officials announced the making the wear of hosiery with skirts optional on Monday and it went into effect immediately.

“When slacks and oxfords are worn, either dark hose or black socks will be worn at the individual’s option,” the Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN) states.  “Skin tone harmonizing hose may be worn with slacks and dress flats.”

While wearing skirts in their dress uniform, “female Marines may wear skin tone harmonizing full-length nylon hose” at their option.

It is not clear if the Marine Corps will update their grooming policy now that bare legs can be shown in uniform.

“No female Marine will be required to remove body hair except where leg hair protrudes beyond the appropriate hosiery,” the current regulations state.

Now that hosiery is not required, it can be assumed that female Marines will be able keep hair on their bare legs while in uniform.

Currently, women only make up 5% of the Marine Corps active-duty force but the Marine Corps’ Talent Management initiative may hope to change that.

The Talent Management initiative aims to make changes that will recruit and retain Marines, as well as improve their job satisfaction.

“As part of the Marine Corps’ Talent Management initiative that began in 2021, then Assistant Commandant Gen. Eric M. Smith, who was the Talent Management officer for the Marine Corps, provided guidance to assess current Marine Corps policies to determine if any policies were either outdated or didn’t pass a ‘common sense’ test,” Maj. Joshua Larson, spokesperson for the Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps said in a statement.

“The Marine Corps prioritizes its people above all things,” Larson continued. “Our leaders know, at an instinctual level, that we have a sacred and personal responsibility to lead, mentor, and care for our Marines. Talent Management drives us to make better institutional decisions and policies for our Marines and their families.”

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