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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy wants to make it easier for sailors to get into their service dress blues.

A new uniform for male sailors at E-6 and below features a zipper for the pants, leaving the traditional 13 buttons just for cosmetic reasons, said Robert B. Carroll, head of the Navy’s Uniform Matters Office.

The new uniform also features a zipper on the side of the shirt, making it easier to put on — especially for sailors with broad shoulders, Carroll said in a Friday interview with Stars and Stripes.

The new blues are one of three uniforms that the Navy is testing this fall and winter, Carroll said. Testing is expected to involve about 300 sailors; none of it is expected to be carried out overseas.

There is not yet a time line for when the uniforms would be delivered to the fleet if approved, said Lt. Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel.

The blues being tested are also made of a lighter material than what sailors wear now, Carroll said.

This is meant to make sailors more comfortable in regions that require the blues for winter but do not get too cold, such as Naples, Italy, he said.

The Navy is also testing out new dress whites for both male and female sailors at E-6 and below, Carroll said.

The current dress whites are made out of polyester, meaning they can be very hot in warm climates, he said.

The uniform being tested is made of a material that is supposed to let the body breathe, keeping sailors cooler, Carroll said. It also features blue piping on the collar and cuffs to make it look more like the dress blues.

Another uniform being tested would give chiefs and officers a khaki service dress uniform for formal occasions, Carroll said.

Resembling Navy uniforms from many years ago, the dress khakis feature a tie and a coat with shoulder boards, allowing chiefs and officers to go from the office to a more formal setting without changing their entire uniform, he said.

Another benefit is the khakis look sharp, Carroll said.

“It has a very crisp military look to it,” he said.


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