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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

I spent yesterday googling around. I'd just read David Lipsky's Absolutely American, which is about West Point, and I wanted to see the uniforms, and then I got sidetracked onto other military type uniforms and grooming regs.

Among the things I found out was that in 2001 or so, the Navy maternity uniform (yes, of course the armed services have maternity uniforms) were jumpers. Which means that pants (excuse me, slacks) were not permitted. Which is weird. And probably why the other branches used a longish tunic over choice of bottoms - and it's entirely possible that the Navy has changed them.

I'm a skirt person, and have been since way before I became observant, and I do think most women look better in them, but in terms of sheer practicality, I can understand why military women would prefer the slacks. Also military skirts? Are precisely the wrong length for most women - either just above or just below the knee. And then there's the fact that they have to wear pumps and stockings - and that length is too short for knee-highs. A couple of inches longer would make a big difference on both counts. Except they now have slits, which also makes knee-highs problematic.

Then there are the hair regs. Which are interesting for women - must be neat, and not touch the collar (except the Marines, which permit hair to reach the bottom of the collar) or be worn pinned up. And that doesn't mean pony tails - it means a secure bun. They even regulate hair thingies - nothing shiny, only two barrettes, bobby pins hidden and everything either clear or matching hair color if possible. No claws. No big scrunchies (and seeing the word "scrunchy" in military regs is amusing.) There's at least one hair thingy maker who will provide pins and sticks and forks and other items to military regs, including anodizing to match hair color. They were in the service themselves, so it's something they want to do. Also - no long bangs, no odd colors and the hats have to fit with the bun. But - wigs are permitted so long as they otherwise comply, as are *neat* hair extensions and small multiple braids kept neat.

Note the word neat.

Men's hair can't be longer than a certain amount (two or three inches, depending on branch) and while they like it "high and tight" - very short, getting longer as one progresses up the head - so long as it's within that length and *neat*, it's okay.

By that standard, John Sheppard is in trouble. Big trouble. (And so is Sam Carter, but she can be solved by a brush. I think John would need a scissors. And. NO.)

And they regulate everything, including what purse a woman may carry when she wears the equivalent of a black tie evening uniform. (Black fabric.) This makes perfect sense, given the purpose of a uniform.

And at least one set of regs cautions women to remember they *are* women, and therefore should not have masculine haircuts. But only one earring per ear, please, and those should be round and small and gold.


No. Don't get me obsessed with this. I spent a whole evening the other day looking at military uniform insignia. =:-O

When I was contemplating applying to the JAG corp in my third year of law school, I spent a long time researching whether I could comply with the dress regs - ie, skirt length, whether a cover would "cover" my hair and how I would get around the whole taking it off in a building thing, whether wigs were permitted, etc.

What ended up making my decision for me was a discussion I had with a Jewish major in the Air Force (the branch I was considering)...on Purim. He told me that he was almost in Afghanistan for Yom Kippur 2001, and that situation was unavoidable. Also, if required to come into the office on Shabbos, I would be disobeying orders if I waited until Shabbos was over to write/computer work etc. There went that idea, huh?

But your post about your google search reminded me. One thing I recall from my research - every member of the armed services has to carry aby bag/briefcase/purse etc. in their left hand, leaving their right hand free to salute. I thought that was a little specific - regulating which hand is used to carry a bag...

They even have regulations about shoulder bags - they must not be worn diagonally across the body - only hanging from the shoulder.

As for the hand thing - ouch. I don't know about you, but I've always used my right shoulder for purses, no matter how I wear them - over a wrist, in the crook of an elbow, on one shoulder or diagonally - always on the right.

This would be very difficult to change.

I've also always worn my bags on my right shoulder, back when I would dangle my knapsack from one shoulder in elementary school. That would have been a hard habit to break.

I wonder how many people have that problem (also admits to watching shows with military characters to see who holds bags in their right hands)