The military is probably the strictest employer there is, be it army, marine, navy, or air force. Each department has its own rules that every employee has to follow, and the level of standard you have to maintain is unmatched in other professions. But can the military wear perfume?
In general, the military can wear perfume, but depending on the exact department and duties, there can be some restrictions. For example, soldiers can be prohibited from wearing strong-smelling colognes while on the mission, because it could signal their position to the enemy.
Whether or not the military personnel depends on a case-to-case basis. Some commanding officers never allow it, while others simply don’t care. However, as long as the military is conscious about their use of perfume, there is no official reason or law prohibiting them from doing so.
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Does U.S Army Allow Perfume?
We can refer to official guidelines by the U.S Army to see that the military, in fact, can wear perfume. Last year, in 2021, there was a new version of Army grooming standards called ALARACT 040/2021, and there is no mention of perfume, cologne, or scent.
However, it mentions that military personnel should have a “professional appearance”, which is defined as a “clean and well-groomed appearance”. You might even say that it includes wearing perfume, so it really isn’t prohibited.
However, the guidelines are just that, guidelines, and whether the military can wear perfume still depends on the commanding officer. That being said, the army is getting more lenient with the appearance and grooming standards, and beforehand mentioned ALARACT 040/2021 included some changes.
Here’s a table for new standards published in 2021, compared to its previous version:
|Hair Length (women)
|No minimum hair length
|Worn in a bun at the base of the neck OR shorter than the top of the collar
|Can Wear Ponytails that:Worn at the back of the headNot wider than head widthFastened at the back of the neck above the collarTucked into ACU during operations
|Hair Color & Highlights
|Natural Hair ColorUnauthorized colors include:Blue,Pink,Green,Purple,Bright red,Orange,Neon/flourescent colors
|Can include highlights of natural color, as long as the root growth is not more than 1.5 inches of the original color
|Women can wear them with service, dress, mess, and evening mess uniforms.
Men cannot wear earrings
|Women can wear with Army Combat Uniform (ACU)But they must be:Gold,Silver,Diamond (no pearls),Unadorned and spherical,<6mm/0.25-inch in size
|Limited colors for WomenNo nail polish of any type for men
|Women can wear natural-color nail polish
Colors that aren’t allowed:Purple,Blue,Green,Orange,Bright red,Neon/Fluorescent
Women nails cannot be longer than ¼ inch beyond the fingertip and must be of a natural shape, so no coffin, ballerina, or stiletto.
Men can wear clear nail polish which is protective
As we can see, the Army is getting more lenient with its appearance standards and doesn’t mention perfume at all. Similar guidelines are followed by other departments of the United States military, so regardless of where you serve, you should be able to wear perfume.
Recommended Perfumes for Military
If your commanding officer allows perfumes, you should still wear light and inoffensive scent so it doesn’t disturb your work and the people around you. Here are 2 perfumes for men, and 1 for women that we recommend if you’re working in the military:
According to Tom Ford, this perfume “captures the essence of debonair, charismatic and provocative masculinity”. While you might think it sounds too eccentric for the military, the smell itself features woody and earthy notes with a hint of citrus at the top notes, which we think suits the military setting perfectly.
You can get a 100ml (3.4 Fl. Oz.) bottle for around $159.
If you want something more interesting than “woody”, but still manly, we recommend this perfume by Nautica. It features base notes of cedarwood, amber, and marine scents, which are supported by middle notes of water lotus that are first introduced by top notes of green leaves and apples.
We recommend this perfume regardless of which military branch you belong to, but we guess the marines would enjoy it the most.
You can buy a 100ml (3.4 Fl. Oz.) bottle of Nautica Voyage for around $20, or 200ml (6.7 Fl. Oz.) for around $37, making it a great option if you’re unsure whether you can wear it to work.
The final recommendation goes for women serving in the military. It’s a fragrance first released in 1969, indicating that it’s a classic scent perfectly appropriate for serious work settings like the military.
The top notes include refreshing lemon, mandarin, and bergamot scents, which are followed by middle notes of jasmine, honeysuckle, and several green aromatics like basil and rosemary. Finally, base notes consist of oakmoss, sandalwood, and vetiver.
You can buy a bottle of 125ml (4.2 Fl. Oz.) for about $100.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
(Q): Can the Navy Wear Perfume?
(A): Yes, the navy can wear perfume, because there aren’t any guidelines prohibiting it in the Navy Grooming Standards. But once again, it depends on your commanding officer, and some might not allow it.
(Q): When Military Can’t Wear Perfume?
(A): Military usually can’t wear perfume during combat missions. Not only because strong smells could help the enemy pinpoint your location, but also because smelling nice is the least of your concerns when your life is on the line.
As you could see, there aren’t specific restrictions for the military that prohibit them from wearing perfume. However, it depends on the officer in command, and some might prohibit it. If you’re currently serving in the military then you know, that the word of your officer is the one that matters the most.