Marine Corps is fashioning new grooming standards
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marines want to look Semper Fabulous.
The Corps is updating its grooming standards, which deal with haircuts, facial hair, jewelry and other such issues, said Mary Boyt, program manager for the Uniform Board.
“We’re hoping to answer the eternal question: How many rings can I wear on my finger?” she said.
The answer, for now: One ring per hand.
Boyt stressed the recommendations are preliminary and will be modified based on feedback from senior noncommissioned officers and the Uniform Board before finally going to the commandant for approval.
One recommended change could get right up in Marines’ grill by prohibiting dental ornamentation and gold teeth, but that recommendation could change because some Marines already have gold teeth, Boyt said.
Another recommendation would allow Marines to talk on their cell phones while in uniform as long as they limit themselves to “short, essential calls,” Boyt said. And the Corps could also allow Marines to have manicures as long as they mimic the natural nail, such as French manicures.
Boyt said the standards have not been updated in at least 15 years, and as a result they are behind the times. So last month, a class at the Marine Corps Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy pored over the standards and came up with 36 recommended updates.
The grooming standards do not deal with tattoos, she said, so the changes won’t affect tattoo rules.
Boyt said she could not reveal all of the recommendations because they are subject to change.
“We’re basically at the very beginning of our process,” she said.
But she did reveal some of the questions that have come from Marines in recent years, and she said officials are looking to definitively answer them:
- Can I shave my head?
- Can I spike my hair?
- Can I put highlights in my hair?
- Can I wear colored contact lenses?
- Can I go blond if I’m black?
- Can I use an earpiece with a cell phone?
Right now, about 20 senior NCOs from major Fleet Marine Force commands are reviewing the recommendations, Boyt said. The NCOs are expected to submit their feedback to the Uniform Board by the end of the month; afterward, the board is expected to tweak the recommendations further in mid-to-late November.
By the end of the year, the recommendations are expected to go before Gen. James Conway, who recently was approved by the Senate as the next Marine Corps commandant.
In other news, the Uniform Board also is working to clarify the regulations on how “V” devices should be worn, Boyt said.
“We’ve recognized there is a problem fitting the ‘V’ on suspension ribbons when you have two or more stars with it,” she said in a Thursday e-mail to Stars and Stripes. “The suspension ribbon guidance calls for the ‘V’ to be centered with the stars stacked above it, when you do that with two or more ribbons the star is no longer centered so Marines are having to off set the ‘V’ to fit the stars.”