As with most things in the military, there are specific rules and regulations governing the wearing of the military uniform. For the accurate wearing or portrayal of Marine Corps uniforms, it is helpful to know the basic types of uniforms and when they should be worn. Uniforms include evening dress, blue dress, blue-white dress, service and utility. Guidelines for wearing recognitions, medals and awards are also important to the correct wearing of the Marine Corps uniform.
An evening dress uniform is only worn by officers. The evening dress "A" with a white waistcoat for men and a long skirt for women is worn to events where civilians are wearing evening clothes or "white tie" dress, regardless of the time of year. These events may include state dinners at the White House or an embassy, inaugural dinners or receptions or formal dinners. The evening dress "B" with red waistcoat for men and long or short skirt for women is worn to club events, dinner parties or dances, and evening celebrations honoring the Marine Corps Birthday.
Blue or Blue-White Dress
The blue dress "A" uniform and the blue dress "B" uniform with the blue dress coat are the same, except that the "A" uses medals and the "B" uses ribbons. Officers may be asked to wear the blue-white dress uniform to events where enlisted personnel wear the blue dress. These uniforms are worn to parades, official visits by government officials, receptions in honor of officers and other daytime formal or semi-formal events. The blue dress "C" uniform is the long-sleeved khaki shirt without a coat, and is worn on leave, to some parades and while on duty. It is not used for official or ceremonial occasions.
The service uniform is worn as the uniform of the day, for leave, some parades and ceremonies and at other times as outlined by the commanding officer. The service "A" uniform includes the long-sleeved khaki shirt, coat and slacks or skirt for women. Men may remove the coat indoors. The service "B" uniform is the long-sleeved khaki shirt with a tie for the men, and the service "C" uniform the short-sleeved khaki shirt. This uniform is ordered as weather indicates.
Camouflage Utility Uniform
The camouflage uniform is a working uniform and should only be worn in the field or for field-type exercises. It may also be worn for routine work where the conditions make the service uniform impractical. The uniform should not be worn outside of those conditions except for brief stops to and from the duty assignment, including dropping children off or picking them up at day care, buying gas or other essentials, purchasing food at a drive through or other quick stops.
Perhaps the most important specifications for Marine uniforms involve the insignia on the uniform, including those for rank and recognition. For example, aiguillettes, gold braid loops worn around the shoulder, are only worn by aides to high-ranking persons. Aides to the president, vice president, general and admirals may wear four loops, while aides to lower-ranking officers and officials have fewer loops. The loops are of a precisely defined size. Service insignia, specifying which specialty a Marine is in, is worn on the left breast of service and dress coats. On evening dress jackets, a half-size insignia is worn. Similar specifications govern the placement and wearing of all other ribbons, insignia and recognitions.