Air Force officials have released a new version of AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance in the later part of 2011. Airmen, both Officers and Enlisted, are required to comply with the dress and personal appearance standards consisting of 5 elements: neatness, cleanliness, safety, uniformity, and military image. In addition, every airman must maintain an “acceptable military image”, i.e., a neat, clean, professional image. Airmen are required to wear standardized and uniquely distinct uniforms of the members of the United States Air Force, and maintain a neat appearance and professional image while wearing their uniform or performing official duties. When not authorized to wear civilian clothes, Airmen should wear the appropriate Air Force uniform while performing military duties. For Airmen assigned to non-Air Force organizations, the Air Force equivalent of the order of dress prescribed must be worn, e.g., Airman Battle Uniform or Battle Dress Uniform. For social or official military events, Airmen must wear the appropriate uniform or civilian attire as requested by the host/hostess or directed by the commander.
The Uniform Dress Code is as follows:
Men’s Formal Dress includes a blue, single-breasted mess dress coat, medals, badges (maximum of four), a plain, white, long-sleeved, full-dress formal shirt with wing collar, a bow tie, a vest, blue mess dress trousers, footwear, and the blue winter cap for the headgear.
Women’s Formal Dress Uniform (for Officers) include a blue, single-breasted mess dress coat, medals, badges (maximum of four), a mess dress blouse with a white undershirt tucked into the skirt, a tie tab, a cummerbund worn halfway between the shirt and skirt, a skirt ,footwear, and the blue winter cap for the headgear. Maternity Mess Dress Uniforms are also available, which include a Maternity Mess Dress Jumper.
Men’s Semi-Formal Dress Uniform includes a coat (without a name tag), with a maximum of 4 badges, a plain white long-sleeve shirt, cuff links (optional) ,tie and tie tack/clasp (blue or polyester silk), trousers, belt and buckle, footwear, and the blue winter cap for the headgear.
Women’s Semi-Formal Dress Uniform consists of a coat (without a name tag), with a maximum of 4 badges, a blouse, a tie tab, cuff links (optional), skirt, belt and buckle, footwear, and a headgear.
Men’s Blue Service Uniform (Class B) must include a Long-sleeve/short-sleeve blue shirt, the Air Force Command Insignia Pin, a nametag, ribbons(all or none), badges (maximum of four), cuff links, a tie with tie tack or clasp, blue trousers, belt and buckle, footwear, and the headgear.
Women’s Blue Service Uniform (Class B) includes a blouse (long and short sleeved), a nametag, ribbons, badges, cuff links, a tie tab, blue slacks and belt and buckle.
The Airman Battle Uniform includes the ABU Coat (shirt), officer rank insignia/enlisted rank insignia, nametapes, badges, desert sand colored t-shirt, trousers, desert sand colored bet, footwear, headgear (worn outdoors at all times, unless in a designated “no hat” area), optional undergarments: sleep shirt (worn under the ABU coat), thermal underwear, outer garments and cold weather accessories.
Battle Dress Uniforms require the use of the BDU coat, only either a brown or black t-shirt, and green or brown sleep shirts, while the Desert Camouflage Uniform requires the use of the DCU Coat (shirt). The BDU Field Jacket can be worn.
The Pullover Sweater can only be worn over the service uniform and can be worn under the lightweight blue jacket, the topcoat and the all-weather coat. It can be dark blue, V-neck, with cuffed sleeves, and it is authorized as an indoor or outdoor garment, with optional tie-tab or tie. Collars of shirts should be inside the sweater, and sleeves may not be pushed up. There should be no name tag on the sweater.
The Cardigan Sweater (blue) can only be worn with the service uniform, under the lightweight blue jacket, the topcoat and the all-weather coat.
The Cardigan Sweater (White)can only be worn with maternity jumper, maternity long sleeve and short sleeve blouses, under the lightweight blue jacket, the topcoat and the all-weather coat.
Other types of jackets are the lightweight blue jacket, the leather A-2 flying jacket, and the Topcoat which can only be worn with the formal dress, mess dress, service dress, semi-formal dress and service uniforms, over the pullover and cardigan sweaters, and is for outdoor use only.
The All-Purpose Environmental Clothing System (APECS) can only be worn with the Airman battle and flight duty uniforms, and is for outdoor use only.
The Sage Green Fleece must only be worn with ABU outdoors.
The Woodland Gore-Tex Jacket must be zipped halfway at all times.
Extended Cold Weather Clothing System and Woodland Wet Weather Ponchos should only be worn with the battle dress and flight duty uniforms.
The Cold Weather Parka, on the other hand, can be worn with all uniform combinations for outdoors.
An Airman should not do the following when wearing any of the uniforms :
- stand or walk with hand(s) in pocket(s), except to insert or remove an item
- smoke or use smokeless products in other than designated smoking areas
- consume food and/or beverage while walking in uniform (commanders may authorize during special functions)
- personal electronic media devices are limited to emergencies or when official notifications are necessary.
The civilian equivalent of the mess dress is the tuxedo, and for women the equivalent of the formal dress uniform is the full evening gown.