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2101 - General Information



1.  GENERAL.  The primary consideration is to have a neatly groomed appearance while wearing Naval uniforms.  Grooming standards are based on several elements including neatness, cleanliness, safety, military image and appearance.  The Standards established here are not intended to be overly restrictive nor are they designed to isolate navy personnel from society.  The limits set forth are reasonable, enforceable, and insure that personal appearance contributes to a favorable Military image.  The difference between men's and women's grooming policies recognizes the difference between the sexes; sideburns for Men, different hairstyles and cosmetics for Women.  Establishing identical grooming and personal appearance standards for men and women would not be in the Navy's best interest and is not a factor in the assurance of equal opportunity.  

2.  NAVY PERSONNEL ASSIGNED TO MARINE CORPS.  Sailors assigned to U.S. Marine Corps units who wear the Marine Corps uniform will abide by Marine Corps grooming standards except for the requirement of a zero fade hairstyle for male Sailors.  See article 6501.4


a. Image.  All Sailors will ensure the proper fit and wear of their uniform and maintain compliance of grooming standards as outlined in this instruction.  Personal appearance will reflect the highest level of the military image.  A professional military appearance will be free of distractions while in uniform. The military image reflected by attention to detail, compliance with grooming standards while wearing your uniforms, is a key element in the public image of the Navy.

b. Cleanliness.  Uniforms shall be kept scrupulously clean, with lace, devices and insignia bright and free from tarnish and corrosion.

c. Articles.
(1) NO ARTICLES SHALL PROTRUDE FROM OR BE VISIBLE ON THE UNIFORM, including such items as, pencils, pens, watch chains, key chain fobs, pins, jewelry, combs, large wallets, cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or similar items (jewelry, tie clasps, cuff links, shirt studs and earrings shall be worn as prescribed elsewhere in these regulations). Communication devices (e.g. cell phones, blackberries, pagers, etc.) are authorized for use and wear while in uniform (to include walking) in the manner prescribed as follows:

(a) Communication devices shall be conservative in color and design and shall not distract from the appearance of the uniform.

(b) Only one communication device is authorized for wear and can only be worn on the belt of Working and Service Uniforms aft of the elbow.

(c) Wearing of communication devices on service dress uniforms is not authorized.

(d) Communication devices will not be visible from the front and worn in such a manner as to impede the normal wear and appearance of the uniform (e.g. sagging, bunching, bulging, protruding etc.).

(e) Whenever there is a concern for operational security, the authorized use of communication devices shall be at the Commanding Officer's discretion.

(f) The use of portable communication devices shall not interfere with the rendering of military courtesies and Honors nor violate local, state and federal laws.

(g) When not being worn on the Uniform and in use, communication devices will be placed at the side of the leg and in the appropriate hand when rendering salutes, greetings and other military courtesies/honors.

(h) The use of an earpiece, blue tooth technology, headsets or hands-free device while in Uniform indoors or outdoors is prohibited unless specifically authorized for the execution of official duties (e.g. NSW, security personnel, detailers, etc.).

(i) The use of blue tooth technology, headsets and other hands-free devices are only allowed in uniform in a vehicle when authorized by local, state and federal law.  Regional Commanders may further restrict on base use of hands-free devices.

(2) Civilian bags (e.g. computer bags/briefcases), this does not include women's handbags/purses, may be worn with the working and service uniforms as prescribed in the manner below:

(a) Backpacks may be worn over either the left shoulder or both shoulders while wearing service and working uniforms. Authorized colors of backpacks when wearing service uniforms include black or navy blue. Authorized colors of backpacks worn with the NWU Type III include black, navy blue, coyote brown, or matching NWU Type III pattern only. No decorations shall be attached on or hung on the backpack.

(b) Computer bag and brief case: may be worn across the left shoulder of service and working uniforms to facilitate saluting.  When wearing a bag, the strap must be worn across the Left shoulder (fore and aft) with the bag hanging on the same side of the body.  The case or bag will not be worn with the strap and bag on the opposite sides of the body (diagonally).

(c) All bags/brief cases worn with the Uniform must conceal its contents and be either solid black or navy blue in color.  No decorations shall be attached on or hung on the bag/briefcase. 

(d) While in dress uniform, civilian bags will be hand carried only.

(e) A full Seabag may be carried/worn on the shoulders.
d.  Glasses

(1) Prescription Glasses. When in uniform, prescription glasses will be conservative and not present a uniform distraction.  Authorized frame colors include silver/grey, black, navy blue, brown, gold, clear or translucent.  Frame colors may also consist of a combination of two authorized colors to include framing that holds the lens in place.  Lens will be clear.  Prescription glasses with transitional lenses, except in military formations are authorized. The lenses must be black, brown, dark green or dark grey when transitioned.  When medically prescribed by appropriate military physicians, other tints are authorized per written medical documentation and prescription.  Retainer straps are authorized for FOD prevention and safety and will be black in color.  If retainer straps are required, they will be worn snugly against the back of the head.  When not in use, eyeglasses will not be worn on top of the head or hanging around or off the neck.
(2) Sunglasses.  When in uniform and outdoors, conservative sunglasses are permitted, except in military formations.  Authorized sunglasses will have solid frames that may be silver/gray, black, brown, navy blue, tan, gold, dark green or dark grey in color.  Small logos on frames or lenses are authorized.  Sunglasses worn in uniform will not present a uniform distraction.  Lens will be non-mirrored black, brown, dark green or dark grey.  Retainer straps are authorized for FOD prevention and safety, will be black in color and worn snugly against the head.  When not in use sunglasses will not be worn on top of the head or hanging around or off the neck.

(3) Contact Lenses.  Tinted contact lenses must be a natural color (blue, green, brown, etc).

e.  Undergarments.  Appropriate undergarments shall be worn to preserve the dignity and appearance of the Uniform.

f.  Military Creases.  Military creases on shirts are an individual option.  Sewn‑in creases are not authorized.  Military creases are formed by pressing two vertical creases in the front of the shirt, from the shoulder seam through the center of each pocket to the bottom of the shirt, and three evenly spaced vertical creases in the back of the shirt, from the yoke seam to the bottom of the shirt.  Shirts which do not have a yoke seam across the back of the shirt as a reference point for placing three evenly spaced creases, start the outboard creases at the shoulder seam and the center crease at the seam where the collar is attached to the shirt, ending all at the bottom of the shirt.

g.  Tailoring of Uniforms.  Uniforms may be tailored to provide a well-fitting, professional military bearing.  They shall not be altered to the extent of detracting from a military appearance, nor shall they be tailored to the point of presenting a tight form fit.

4.  CARE OF THE UNIFORM.  The longest service of the various uniform articles can be attained only by proper care and maintenance.  This information is presented to help prolong the useful life and distinguished appearance of Uniforms and equipment.  Even new, properly fitted uniforms will not continue to look their best or keep their shape unless you care for them properly.  Carrying large or heavy objects in pockets will quickly destroy the shape of the best uniform.  Uniforms should be stored on hangers.  If uniforms are to be stored for a long time, they should be cleaned thoroughly, then packed away in an airtight plastic bag with a packet of desiccant (drying agent) for maximum preservation.


a.  Buttons.  Buttons may turn green when the pewter plating wears off and the copper base becomes covered with green copper carbonate due to exposure to moist air.  You can remove the green coloring by rubbing gently with Acetic acid or any substance containing this acid such as vinegar or Worcestershire sauce, followed by a thorough washing in clean water.

b.  Embroidered Insignia.  Embroidered Insignia may be kept bright by occasional scrubbing with a nail brush and a diluted ammonia solution.  Do this as soon as there are signs of tarnish or corrosion.  If corrosion has been allowed to continue after it has gained a foothold, the device may not be restorable.

c.  Gold Lace.  Gold Bullion lace will tarnish rapidly and may deteriorate when in contact with or hung near any substance containing Sulphur, such as rubber or ordinary manila or Kraft wrapping paper.  Gold bullion lace should be cleaned by an experienced tailor although liquid nontoxic preparations and certain liquid cleaners available commercially may be used if applied according to manufacturer's instruction.

d.  Metal Insignia.  Clean the gold filled and sterling silver Rhodium finished parts of metal insignia by washing with soap and water.  Insignia will not be polished to the degree that the basic details of the standard Insignia are defaced, removed, or altered in general appearance.
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