Navy Makes Skirts Optional

Sailors can now deep-six the skirts (AP)

The U.S. Navy is getting a 21st-Century makeover, with a new dress code that makes skirts optional for its more than 54,000 female sailors for the first time since women first entered the service in 1908, officials said Sunday. Women can still choose to wear skirts, which come in colors that vary according to rank and sometimes the season. But until the new rules went into effect this month, they had to maintain skirts in their sea bags and could be ordered to wear them for special events such as change-of-command and retirement ceremonies.

The revamped skirt policy is one of several changes to the dress code recommended after a survey of more than 40,000 sailors. As a result, all sailors in working uniform can now carry cell phones and lug garment bags over their shoulders. Women can also ditch their military purses — boxy and widely unpopular “granny bags” — and purchase more stylish replacements from department stores. “They are really commonsense, practical changes that are in line with the Navy of the 21st Century,” said Lisa Mikoliczyk, a spokeswoman for Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry Scott. When the results of the survey came in earlier this year, Navy officials discovered that, along with answering the 33 questions, the respondents had written more than 5,500 pages of comments on topics that weren’t necessarily covered, said Master Chief Robert Carroll, director of the uniform task force.

Other changes may be on the way for men and women. The Navy is considering getting rid of its summer white and winter blue uniforms and going to a year-round service uniform for ranks E-6 and below.

Skirts won’t vanish from the Navy, or from the other military branches. The Marine Corps and Air Force still require skirts for certain formal occasions.

(via e-mail from Jeff Quinton)

So far, nothing on the Navy’s official site or the Navy Times.

Update (1032): Not really surprising that nothing’s up on those sites, since this is somewhat old news just being discovered by AP (and OTB): The regs went into effect on 1 OCT. See Comment 1 below.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.




  2. Marc says:

    Damm! I think I retired from the Navy to soon: Think Lauren Holly’s tight uniform in the movie Down Periscope

  3. Sam Iam says:

    I’m glad they are making skirts optional. Too many of em were getting knocked up and sent home anyway. Personally, i think skirts have no business in the Navy, but i’ll settle for making them optional at the XO’s discretion.