Female airmen now can wear pants with their mess dress uniform. The change, as articulated in an exception-to-policy memorandum, also allows women to wear skirts. Previously, women had to wear floor-length skirts with mess dress uniforms. While waiting for uniform shops to stock women’s pants, female airmen are permitted to buy men’s dress trousers and alter them accordingly. This should remain in effect for the next 18 to 24 months. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) will alter the pants free of charge during this time.
“It’s our responsibility to provide flexible uniform options that are functional and comfortable for all air and space professionals. We have a lot of people working really hard to review our existing policies to make sure there are no unintended barriers or unfair practices that may be impacting specific groups of people on our team,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, the service’s manpower and personnel chief. “This is a step in the right direction in creating an inclusive culture.”