KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – U.S. Army Europe soldiers may participate in Denim Day, when people are encouraged to wear blue jeans as part of a sexual assault awareness campaign, but may not mix civilian and uniform clothing items, the USAREUR commander said Thursday.

And, permission from military commanders to wear civilian clothes to work is required, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said.

“Allowing a unit to wear civilian clothing as the ‘duty uniform’ for a specific event is a subordinate commander’s prerogative,” Hertling said in an email to Stars and Stripes on Thursday. “I know that there are some units who are considering doing that for denim day, and that is permitted as long as the commander — not a civilian – provides that directive, and there should never be a mix of civilian with uniform items.”

Army garrisons in Kaiserslautern, Heidelberg and Mannheim were to observe Denim Day on Friday, while Wiesbaden planned to hold its Denim Day participation next Wednesday, according to an Army Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program representative.

Denim Day grew out of international protests over an Italian Supreme Court decision in the late 1990s that overturned a rape conviction on the grounds the 18-year-old victim must have consented since she was wearing tight jeans.

Hertling encouraged civilians and family members, as well as students at Defense Department schools, if permitted by principals, to support the event.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now