New Air Force rules allow hands in pockets, a host of uniform and appearance changes

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The Air Force’s loose dress and appearance standards came into effect, giving Airmen the license to put their hands in their pockets and talk on cell phones while marching, among other changes.

The rules, which were implemented on Friday, also allow men to have an extra half inch of hair or cosmetic scalp tattoos “to create a natural look of hair” to compensate for thinning. hair.

Women are now allowed to have eyelash extensions in their natural hair color, and they can wear headbands or scrunchies up to 2 inches wide. Also, hosiery is optional for their ceremonial uniforms.

In total, more than 30 recommended changes have been put in place based on testing and feedback from Airmen and reviews from the 2020 Air Force Uniform Board, the service said in August, although not all of them were revealed to the time.

Hair dyeing is allowed for both women and men as long as it is a natural hair color. It doesn’t have to be the aviator’s natural hair color. A mixture of colors, such as a salt and pepper look, is also acceptable if it retains a natural look, the rules state.

Male aviators still need a medical or religious waiver to wear a beard, but the new regulations allow medics to allow waivers for the first reason, whereas the previous language left it to a commander’s discretion on the based on medical advice.

Another change in facial hair standards allows aviators with shaving exemptions, called profiles, to shave or cut their hair as necessary “to present a crisp, clean and professional image.”

The new standards also remove a line requiring commanders and supervisors to “monitor the progress of processing to control these deviations.”

The updates were aligned with “the standards and culture that keep our focus on warfare, while providing options to meet many of the needs of our Airmen,” Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Chief of State- Air Force deputy major for manpower, personnel and services, said in a statement in August.

Airmen are now allowed to tuck in the OCP uniform coat or to fold their sleeves inward if necessary for the job, which is standard practice for special operations troops. In addition, they can wear their physical training shirt not tucked in.

There are also several changes affecting the wearing of jewelry and various uniform accessories and decorations. Thumb rings and transparent earring spacers are allowed, for example, as are sweatbands in the PT uniform.

Airmen can also add Velcro pen holders and moral patch accessories to the OCP uniform or wear certain foreign badges and badges outside of the country that conferred them. Morale patches must be approved by command and may also be worn on the two-piece flight service uniform.

Some changes have removed restrictive language regarding specific behaviors. For example, the old rules prohibited uniformed airmen from drinking water while walking or putting their hands in pockets while walking or standing still.

The intention is to allow Airmen, NCOs and commanders more flexibility to make such decisions based on changing situations and circumstances, Kelly said in August.

Uniformed airmen are still prohibited from drinking any beverages other than water, unless authorized by commanders during special functions.

They may talk or text on a cell phone while marching, subject to other military customs and courtesies that take precedence, such as saluting.

The new rules also apply to the Space Force “unless and until separate service directives are issued,” the instruction said. These tips will then replace those of the Air Force in the new service.

Stars and Stripes reporter Alexander W. Riedel contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on Stars and Stripes.

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