(WNCN) — Women in the United States Army are now allowed more freedom in their appearance while in their combat uniforms.
During a press conference today, major revisions for both Army uniform attire and grooming standards were announced.
New standards will allow women to wear ponytails, earrings, and lipstick and nail polish while in their combat uniform.
The Army says it is revising its grooming standards to support its “People First” priority and diversity and inclusion efforts.
“The Army must continue to put people first by fostering a culture of trust that accepts the experiences and backgrounds of every Soldier and civilian,” said Lt. Gen. Gary Brito, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. “Our diverse workforce is a competitive advantage, and the Army must continue to offer fair treatment, access and opportunity across the force.”
The revisions will go into effect on Feb. 24.
“So this has never been authorized before. The current standard only authorizes the wear of earrings inside the service and dress uniforms. So this is extremely groundbreaking ranking for the US Army is the first time ever United States Army history that will be authorizing earrings in the Army combat uniform,” an official said.
Earrings will not be allowed in a field environment, or tactical training, or when combat deployments are being done.
“The Army has maintained a longstanding tradition of Soldiers presenting a clean and professional appearance,” said Sgt. Maj. Mark Anthony Clark from the Army’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (G-1). “A professional appearance is an outward manifestation of the pride they have in themselves and in service to our country.”
Approved hairstyle changes include no minimum hair length for female Soldiers, allowing multiple hairstyles at once (i.e. braiding, twists, or locs).
Soldiers will be able to wear ponytails if unable to form a bun, and may wear long ponytails while conducting physical training, in the combat uniform or when female Soldiers wear equipment such as, but not limited to, combat helmets.
“In an effort to stop hair damage and loss stemming from hairstyles like the bun, the Army approved healthier hairstyle options that are more inclusive of various natural styles,” said Clark.
Soldiers will also be allowed to have a uniform hair color blend (also known as highlights) as long as it presents a natural appearance. However, purple, blue, pink, green, orange, bright red, fluorescent or neon colors, and some others will be prohibited.
Other changes include a clarified policy on breastfeeding or pumping in uniform, authorization for breastfeeding/pumping Soldiers to wear an optional undershirt