US Marine Corps changes dress code requirement for women

The U.S. Marines Corps has modernized its dress code for women.

Beginning this week, women in the Marines will no longer be required to wear pantyhose with their uniform skirts, a first since women became a permanent part of the Marine Corps in 1948.

Marine Corp officials announced the change Monday, writing, “Effective immediately, the wear of hosiery with skirts is optional.”

When pantyhose is worn with a skirt, it must be “skin tone harmonizing,” while dark hose may still be worn under dress slacks.

Currently, women make up 5% of the more than 175,000 active duty members of the Marine Corps, according to Marine Corps University.

Maj. Joshua Larson, spokesperson for the Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, told ABC News the hosiery requirement was changed as a policy that didn’t “pass a ‘common sense’ test.”

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“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the Marine Corps, provided guidance to assess current Marine Corps policies to determine if any policies were either outdated or didn’t pass a ‘common sense’ test,” Larson said in a statement. “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.”

“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.”

The U.S. Navy, under which the Marine Corps operates, changed its policy in 2022 to also make hosiery optional for female members wearing slacks or skirts.

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The U.S. Air Force eliminated its hosiery requirement for women the previous year, in 2021.

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