US Navy updates its uniform policy for women with new hair styles, uniform options

WASHINGTON – The Navy plans to expand its allowable hair styles for women, along with several other uniform policy changes and updates. The changes were announced in NAVADMIN 166/18, published July 11.

Among the several hair style changes is the authorization for women to wear locks in short, medium and long lengths. The NAVADMIN provides specific and detailed regulation on how locks can be worn, including that new growth may not exceed one half-inch and that locks cannot be worn in combination with twists or braids.

Women are also authorized to wear their hair in a single braid, French braid, or single ponytail in service, working and physical training uniforms. The ponytail may extend up to three inches below the bottom edge of the of the shirt, jacket or coat collar. The accessory holding the ponytail must not be visible when facing forward, and must blend into the hair’s color. Hair cannot be worn below the bottom of the uniform collar where there are hazards such as rotating gear.

Women may now also wear a hair bun that does not exceed or extend beyond the width of the back of the head. Women with locks may also wear a bun.

Other uniform changes include the approval of the Navy Optional Physical Training Uniform (OPTU) that consists of a navy blue high-performance shirt and five-inch running shorts. The uniform is expected to be available at Navy Exchange Uniform and Customer Care Centers starting October 2018.

The Navy is also developing a standard navy blue Physical Training Uniform (PTU) that will be phased into the seabag issue at Recruit Training Command in the next 12-18 months.

The Black Relax-Fit Jacket (Eisenhower Jacket) has been designated a unisex item, and sailors can wear the men or women’s jacket sizing that best suits their uniform requirements.

To allow for greater visibility, female sailors have the option to wear identification badges on the right side above the pocket of their uniforms.

Wear testing of the improved female officer and chief service uniform skirts and slacks will be complete this summer. Improvements include a straight-line service skirt and redesigned khaki and white service slacks with lower waist and reduced rise (waist to top of the inseam). These items are expected to be available at Navy Exchange Uniform and Customer Care Centers at the end of the year.

An improved Black Leather Safety Boot (I-Boot 4) for optional wear with all Navy working uniforms and coveralls will be for sale at designated fleet concentration locations beginning this October. The boots were selected based on Sailor feedback and the 2017 Navy Boot Study.

The new uniform policies are the result of fleet feedback and the ongoing efforts to improve Navy uniforms, uniform policies and Sailor appearance.

The Navy Uniform mobile app’s July update will include all Navy Uniform regulation illustrations, policies and NAVADMINs. The expanded uniform app’s goal is to provide one-stop uniform policy access and ability to submit uniform questions links to Navy Exchange on-line uniform sales via the app.

For more information on the changes, click here.