The United States Marine Corps has taken a significant step in modernizing its dress code for women, marking a departure from long-standing traditions. Effective immediately, female Marines are no longer obligated to wear pantyhose with their uniform skirts, signaling a notable shift in policy since women were officially integrated into the Marine Corps in 1948.

This pivotal change was officially announced by Marine Corps officials, who stated, “Effective immediately, the wear of hosiery with skirts is optional.” While this update grants greater flexibility to female Marines, it does stipulate that if pantyhose is chosen, it must be of a “skin tone harmonizing” shade. However, the use of dark hose remains permissible when worn under dress slacks.

The decision to revise the hosiery requirement reflects a broader initiative within the Marine Corps to reassess and update outdated policies. Maj. Joshua Larson, spokesperson for the Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, emphasized that the previous mandate did not align with a “common sense” approach. Larson explained that this change stems from the Marine Corps’ Talent Management initiative, spearheaded by then-Assistant Commandant Gen. Eric M. Smith, aimed at evaluating existing policies to ensure they are relevant and practical.

Larson stated, “Within the spirit of common sense, our Uniform Board recommended a change to the policy that required women to wear hosiery with skirts. Hosiery is now optional.” This decision underscores the Marine Corps’ commitment to prioritizing the well-being and comfort of its personnel, as articulated by Larson: “The Marine Corps prioritizes its people above all things.”

Furthermore, Larson emphasized the profound responsibility of Marine Corps leaders to mentor, support, and advocate for their Marines. He affirmed that Talent Management initiatives drive institutional decisions aimed at enhancing the lives of Marines and their families.

Notably, the U.S. Navy, the parent organization of the Marine Corps, had already modified its policy in 2022 to grant female members the option of forgoing hosiery when wearing slacks or skirts. This move by the Navy set a precedent for the Marine Corps’ recent decision. Similarly, the U.S. Air Force had eliminated its hosiery requirement for women in 2021, marking a broader trend within the U.S. military towards updating dress codes to reflect contemporary norms and preferences.

The Marine Corps’ decision to make pantyhose optional for female Marines represents a significant milestone in its ongoing efforts to promote inclusivity, flexibility, and practicality within its ranks. As the organization continues to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of its diverse workforce, such policy changes reaffirm its commitment to fostering a culture of respect, dignity, and equity for all service members.