Dress blues are the formal uniform of the United States Marine Corps. The dress blues consist of a blue jacket and blue trousers, with white pants traditionally worn for formal occasions. The white trousers are a symbol of professionalism and signify the fact that the Marine is “dressed to the nines” and ready to represent the Corps anywhere. 

History of Marine Dress Blues White Pants 

The dress blues white pants have a long history in the Marine Corps. The tradition dates back to the formation of the Marine Corps in 1775 and was made official by President John Adams in 1798. Traditionally, Marines would leave for battle wearing their official white pants, only changing into their combat dungarees during actual combat. This tradition of wearing white pants for formal occasions has been carried on for centuries, becoming an honored part of the Marines fashion history. 

When Are White Pants Worn?

The white trousers for Marine dress blues are generally only worn for Special Events such as Dinners, Balls and Ceremonies. They are normally not worn in the field or at common Marine events. The white pants are retained in the Marine’s Service-A uniform, but must be polished before they can be worn. A pair of the white pants must also be accompanied by a service belt, ribbons and a pair of black shoes.


Here are a few examples of when white pants may be worn for Marine dress blues: 

• Promotions: White trousers may be worn for promotions, including pinning special insignia or rank. 

• Formal Military Functions: White trousers can be worn to formal dinners or other events where the Marine Corps is represented. 

• Military Balls: White trousers may be worn at military balls and similar social events. 

• Parades: The white pants are worn for parades and other public events where Marines are on display. 

• Memorial Services: White trousers can be worn for memorial services and other solemn occasions. 


The Marine dress blues white pants are an iconic part of the Marine Corps uniform and a proud symbol of the Corps’ military tradition. The pants are a sign of respect that remind Marines that they are representing a proud heritage whenever and wherever they are called up to serve.


Q: Do Marines have to wear the white pants for every formal event? 

A: No. White pants are optional and may only be worn for certain special functions.

Q: Are there any special regulations governing white pants? 

A: White pants must be kept polished at all times and accompanied by a service belt, ribbons and black shoes.

Q: Can other colors of pants be worn with Marine dress blues? 

A: Yes, the Marine Corps allows for a variety of different colors, such as khaki and navy blue.



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