USAG-HI to enforce new guidelines for off-duty attire

| September 27, 2013 | 11 Comments

Sarah Pacheco, Staff Writer, Hawaii Army Weekly

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Fashion abides by a set of rules all its own.

What was in this month may be out the next, and what was passé only a few years ago now is considered the next biggest trend. (High-waisted acid-wash jeans, anyone?)

However, there are some do’s and don’ts that never go out of style, and some wardrobe staples that remain a constant fixture in closets, year after year — think a nicely pressed collared shirt and dark-wash bootleg jeans for men, and a little black dress and pointy-toe pumps for women.

A "do" example.

A “do” example.

Similarly, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii has set forth its own standards of dress that align with Army Values in order to help Soldiers maintain virtue, honor, patriotism and discipline, both in and out of uniform.

“We, as professionals, live the Army Values, and so we should exude them whether we are on or off duty,” said Lt. Col. Ken Sanderson, executive officer, USAG-HI.

“It takes discipline to be a professional,” Sanderson continued, “and to be a professional, it’s a 24/7/365 lifestyle.”

While the dress code policy, here, is nothing new — USAG-HI established its own set of regulations more than five years ago — a new crackdown on revealing, offensive and unkempt off-duty attire has gone into effect at several posts on the mainland, including Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia; Fort Wainwright and Fort Richardson, Alaska; and Fort Irwin, Calif., where a recent ban on belly shirts, pajamas, ripped jeans, visible underwear and other dress code violations at public facilities has caused a mixed bag of reactions, both positive and negative.

And, according to Sanderson, these guidelines on what to wear, as well as what not to wear, help create an environment of professionalism and sustain an air of mutual respect among Soldiers, their spouses and civilians who work and reside on Army installations.

“Shopping and living on the installations are a privilege, and those privileges have benefits,” said Sanderson. “It’s about being able to exude respect, honor and professionalism, which is expected of our Army.”

“Civilian attire should be a matter of personal pride and reflect our division of Army Values,” agreed Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, senior commander, USAG-HI, and commander, 25th Infantry Division.

“A neat, well-groomed and professional appearance by Soldiers is imperative, as it contributes to building the pride and espirit de corps essential to an effective military force,” Fuller added.

But, just like in fashion, there always are individuals who like to toe the line of what is and what isn’t acceptable.

The most common dress code violations, here, said leadership, include wearing undergarments and pajamas as outerwear, and wearing swimwear and gym clothes while in public facilities, such as the commissary, shoppette and post exchange (PX).

“We’ve definitely strayed from common decency and common sense,” said Sanderson. “This is not an individual organization; it’s a family organization. And you’re supposed to be an ambassador for the U.S. government. You’re representing the U.S. Department of Defense, you’re representing your unit and you’re representing yourself.”

Sanderson notes that for every USAG-HI installation, commissary, exchange or gas station, there is a dress code, and it is up to those at each location to reinforce the policy.

“Leaders at all levels must create an environment where Soldiers intervene, act and motivate each other to do the right thing,” Fuller said. “Soldiers should feel empowered and required to make on-the-spot corrections, as necessary.”

“It gets back to personal pride and respect,” Sanderson concluded, “and that means respecting yourself, your organization, your government and the benefits you’re being provided.”

A "do" example.

A “do” example.

— Civilian Dress Code

All persons who frequent U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii installations, to include dependents, retirees, civilian employees, contractors and civilian guests, will ensure that their dress and personal appearance are conservative and commensurate with the high standards traditionally associated with the U.S. Army.

— DO

The minimum standard of casual civilian dress for normal activities and business in public areas is as follows:

•For men, a complete coverage short-sleeve shirt, with or without pockets, may be worn, as long as it is designed to be worn as an outer garment.

•For women, a blouse or top that provides conservative coverage is considered appropriate.

•Shorts of conservative length are suitable for casual wear for both men and women.

•Athletic or walking shoes or sandals, with or without socks, are authorized for both men and women, as are thong-type footwear.

•All headgear will be worn appropriately, with the bill to the front of the head. Clothing articles not specifically

designed to be worn normally as headgear (bandannas, do-rags, etc.) are prohibited.

•All headgear will be removed indoors.

All clothing should be clean, well maintained and properly fitted, and should be worn to present a neat, orderly appearance (e.g., buttoned, belted or zipped or fastened).

Higher standards of civilian dress may be prescribed for special events and activities. Failure to meet these standards will result in denied access to that particular service, activity, event or area.

A "don't" example.

A “don’t” example.


The following examples of inappropriate civilian dress are general and are not all-inclusive. Rather, they represent dress and appearance that is considered not to be in keeping with the spirit and intent of these regulations, and therefore not permitted on USAG-HI installations.

•Clothing with printing, insignia or pictures that are sexually or violently offensive, obscene or suggestive in nature; promote illegal activities; depict derogatory social, religious, racial or ethnic messages; or present an impression contrary to the good order and discipline of the U.S. Army.

•Clothing that fits excessively brief or tight, or excessively baggy or loose.

•Bare feet in public areas, except for designated swimming, sunbathing and recreational areas.

•Bare chest or “shirtless” for men in public areas, except for designated swimming or sunbathing areas or as authorized by area commanders.

A "don't" example.

A “don’t” example.

•Clothing that is torn, ragged or dirty.

•Clothing and accessories intended to present a paramilitary appearance or to serve as weapons.

•Clothing designed primarily to be worn as nightwear/sleepwear.

•Half-shirts or abbreviated shirts or athletic items designed to be worn as an undergarment (sports bra) are not authorized at any gym facility.


Exceptions to the standards are as follows:

•Clothing such as tank tops, sleeveless T-shirts and athletic-type shirts and shorts are appropriate only for quarters areas, physical training, sporting activities and recreation type areas.

•Items designed as or resembling swimwear (bikinis, Speedos, bathing suits, etc.) are appropriate for beaches and pools only.

•Spandex gym attire is authorized while conducting physical training, provided that the fit of such attire is not indecent or in poor taste.

— Dress Code Policy

The full U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii dress code policy, USAG-HI 31, “Standards of Dress and Prohibited Attire for Army Installations in Hawaii,” is posted on the USAG-HI website, under “Most Popular Content,” at mid-page, under “Command Policies”: •


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  1. SGT Smith, Joshua says:

    It’s sad that the post even has to address this problem, but it does drive me up the wall to see a SM wear a dew rag or show undergarments. The problem is spouses don’t care/ blow off personal when they are addressed too. But I do have a question; my BN has its own gym next the 24 shoppette. Are we not allowed to go in anymore after a workout? If no then I will adjust and get everything before I workout. Is gym type clothing not allowed anymore (shorts at knee level not calf & loose shirt)? Like my Drill Sergeant said in basic, “The army is a Life style not a job if you dont like it then get out!”. I love the no pajamas!

  2. soldier says:

    This will never be enforced, when soldiers get off work they put on shorts and a t shirt. This ” gym attire ” is comfortable and everyone wears it on short trips to post. And its all ranks too, I understand this is being enforced harder due to the people who are the extremes in nasty clothes or showing skin. But as much as you want to enforce this it will never go away. Yes we are soldiers 24/7 but in our down time we like to be comfortable not just in our homes but when we go out too. I agree with the rest except the ” sports attire ” that’s completely ridiculous.

  3. Kj says:

    I love hearing this the Army has gone down in their values NO one every tells another solider “hey you need to wear that uniform correctly not all dirty like it has never been wasted”. I also agree with the sports attire the Army needs to go back to the old days where there was respect,and honor. I see very few soldiers also not stopping when the flag goes down some just plain ignore it! Very disrespectful you choose to be in the army no one made you enlist. I wish the Army would stand up to what they really believe in. Have soldiers disciplined when they don’t follow the standards.

  4. JJ says:

    Why is there a picture of a female Marine in PT gear on the Army’s dress code site? Unlike the Army, Marines do not wear their PT uniform in public, and are only authorized to wear it for the purpose of physical training when on a military installation.

  5. John Smith says:

    It’s amazing that certain members of this organization of mine defend liberty, but despise it.

  6. Andy Mayes says:

    I feel compelled to write a reply based upon my own experience involving the USAG-HI enforcement of the dress code policy. I was shocked and saddened to discover that apparently it applies to the way in which I wear clothes while inside of the privacy of my own vehicle while entering Schofield Barracks. Since I am very tall choose to wear my baseball cap backwards while driving my vehicle. Upon entering the gate I was told by the civilian guard checking the ID of another vehicle that I needed to ‘fix my hat’. I suppose that my refusal to do so would result in my retirement privileges to enter the base and enjoy MWR activities such as bowling would be revoked. One USAG-HI officer was quoted as saying “It gets back to personal pride and respect,” Sanderson concluded, “and that means respecting yourself, your organization, your government and the benefits you’re being provided.” I guess that means if I choose to wear my hat backwards in my own personal vehicle that I do not have respect for myself or my organization? I have now made it my personal mission to wear my hat backwards wherever I go off base, even indoors, which was something that I never did before. When you see me you will recognize me by my backwards baseball hat, “Iraqi Freedom Veteran”.

  7. what is business casual dress for women says:

    Under no circumstances should flip flops be considered appropriate footwear in the business world, unless your business is located on a beach, near a
    pool, or in a locker room. Then professionals try to interpret the company’s dress code in their own ways, and that can damage the consistency of the brand and the image of
    the organization in terms of what it conveys to clients and prospects.
    Also, if you would wear it to the gym-don’t wear it
    to the office.

  8. it's all good says:

    It’s all good.

  9. Eulah says:

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