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What A Difference An Inch Makes
by James Dunnigan
August 9, 2008

Discussion Board on this DLS topic

The military has always had a problem keeping up with changes in fashion and how it interacts with uniforms. New regulations are always needed to deal with this. If the military does not react, the troops get burned eventually, and morale suffers. So even the U.S. Marine Corps, known for their discipline and fondness for tradition, keeps up. For example, when rules for female marines and high heeled shoes were issued, the maximum height of heels was set at 2.5 inches. But it turned out that there were very few shoes with 2.5 inch high heels. So new regs now allow for three inch heels (a popular height for women's shoes). Another change dealt with the popularity of wearing running tights under the official USMC running shorts. This was now allowed, as long as the tights were no more than an inch longer than the shorts.

Every year, all the U.S. services issue dozens of new regulations like this each year, and have been doing so for decades. But as new fashion ideas and products have proliferated in the last few decades, the military bureaucrats have had to work harder to keep up.

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