By Debbie Gregory.
On December 16, the office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps released Marine Administrative Message 658/13, which revealed the results from Uniform Board 213. The message announced the approval, standards and timeline for the universal dress and service caps, and partial multiple braids for female Marines.
Effective immediately, all female Marines are authorized to wear male dress and service caps. Females who had previously purchased or had been issued female caps may continue to wear them for the time being. Beginning April 1, 2014, male dress and service caps will be issued to all new female recruits and candidates.
The female covers will become obsolete on May 1, 2017. On that day, the a new universal caps will be made a mandatory uniform requirement. The new universal caps are projected to be made available to Marines beginning on May 1, 2015.
Also effective immediately, all female Marines will be allowed to wear their hair in partial braids. Multiple braids that are uniformly between 1/8 -1/4 of an inch in diameter and that show no more than 1/8 of an inch of scalp in between will be authorized. The braids must be tight, neat and professional and continue until the end of the natural hair and can be worn loose from that point. When worn loose, braids must comply with medium-long hair requirements. Braids can also be secured to the head, in straight single lines that run from either the front or the back of the head, not side to side.
Like all military-approved hairstyles, the braids are not allowed to be faddish or extreme. Sculpted styles, spiking, or eccentric flow or texturing of the hair is not permitted. Locks and twists are not authorized, however French rolls and twists are allowed. The Marine Corps does not allow foreign objects, such as beads and other decorative items, to be woven into the braided hairstyles.