Home » Military Personnel » Navy Testing New Two-Piece Work Uniforms as Alternative to Coveralls on Ships

Navy Testing New Two-Piece Work Uniforms as Alternative to Coveralls on Ships

Sailors walk the pier in the two-piece flame-resistant organizational clothing variant prototype on June 1, 2018. US Navy Photo

Comfort, current fashion and functionality are leading factors for U. Fleet Forces Command as it develops a two-piece flame-retardant work uniform that could be used instead of the current standard coveralls aboard ships, service officials told USNI News.

This summer, about 350 sailors from surface warfare, aviation and submarine communities are testing how well two-piece flame-retardant uniform prototypes fit into their daily routines. The testing officially started Friday and will run until September, Fleet Forces spokeswoman Lt. Jamie Seibel told USNI News on Monday.

“This would be an option for people on sea duty who don’t need to wear coveralls,” Seibel said.

The desire for a fire-resistant two-piece work uniform was brought up more than a year ago when Fleet Forces was testing the now-approved Improved Flame-Resistant Coverall.

The goal set in January 2017 was to develop a flame-resistant alternative to the coverall, something offering sailors some flexibility with what they can wear onboard. Being a one-piece outfit, the coverall limits how sailors can dress in warm environments. The two-piece is intended to offer a professional and modern-looking alternative, allowing sailors to wear command approve t-shirts in appropriate situations, according to a Fleet Forces statement.

Feedback from the coverall testing, Seibel told USNI News, was that sailors said, “I’d really like something to wear off the ship.”

Current Navy regulations prohibit sailors from wearing coveralls away from their work environment.

Three variants are being tested: A dark navy blue top and trousers; a light blue top with the dark blue trousers; and a khaki top and trousers. Also being tested during this process is an ankle-height work boot with a steel toe and oil-resistant body and treads, resembling a slip-on Chelsea-style boot.

A display of the dark blue over dark blue two-piece flame-resistant organizational clothing variant prototype intended for E6 and below Sailors along with the molder boot, rigger’s belt, undershirt and ball cap as components. Navy photo.

A display of the light blue over dark blue two-piece flame-resistant organizational clothing variant prototype intended for E6 and below Sailors along with the molder boot, rigger’s belt, dark blue undershirt and ball cap as components. Navy photo.

Close up of the molder boot to be worn with the two-piece flame-resistant organizational clothing variant prototype. Navy photo.

Sailors are encouraged to take a Fleet Forces-run online survey on the two-piece uniform variants. The Fleet Forces Facebook page has garnered more than 100 comments about the two-piece uniforms. Many said the untucked shirts looked unprofessional.

Whether or not the Navy will stick with an untucked look is one of the many design questions Fleet Forces will consider after the testing and comments period is over, Seibel said.

“People were interested in untucked,” Seibel said. “NWUs are untucked.”

  • PolicyWonk

    Well I for one, am delighted that the uniforms being considered aren’t “flame enhancing” like one of the choices made in the relatively recent past.

  • NavySubNuke

    I like how the answer to “we’d like something we can wear on and off the ship” was to develop new maternity uniforms for all rather than just allow people to just wear their coveralls on and off the ship.
    Why would we want to make a simple change that wouldn’t cost any additional money when we could spend hundreds of thousand – if not millions of dollars – redeveloping sloppy looking versions of uniforms from the past?
    I’m sure someone needed a fitrep bullet though and simply changing the rules to allow sailors to wear their approved coveralls on and off the ship just didn’t carry the same weight as overseeing these shenanigans.

    • Uncle Mike

      What better way to fight toxic masculinity in the Navy than to make everyone wear maternity uniforms? NSN is on to something…

      • Rocco

        Trans gender is next!! Lol

      • hollygreen9

        You just gave me my first good laugh in quite some time. Thanks!!

  • Ed L

    Last sea duty tour I bought nothing but flame retardant dungarees for that tour. They cost a bit more but were worth it They were more resistant to wear and tear. dungarees were allowed off ship back then but only to the PX, etc. for off base i usually worn civilian or the tropical white longs or the old black shirt outfit. And this is the 10th time in the 40 years they mess with the uniforms

  • Marc Apter

    Looks like Dress Khaki Shirts you don’t tuck in!

  • Ed L

    Those uniforms were bad but better than those Suit jackets that replace the crackerjacks. I had my crackerjacks dry cleaned and layer up in storage till the suit jackets went away. I stripped the buttons and patches off it and sold it though a consignment shop. I believed I got 80 bucks for them

    • Rocco

      Why would you do that!!??

  • Lazarus

    Untucked uniforms look sloppy and show lack of attention to detail. If the Navy wanted to stay with the untucked look it should have retained the BDU uniform.

  • Cameron Norris

    No, just no
    In 26 years, 19 at sea, the most functional and SAFEST was my Bulwarks. I am up and fighting in 30 seconds…. everything else is window dressing.

  • GRV01

    At this point it begs the question: why the dark blue undershirt? Save us a few ounces in the seabag and DON hundreds of thousands in dollars and just make the 100% cotton crewneck tshirt the only undershirt for all uniforms. At the point it’s silly

  • airider

    Since we’re almost full circle, let’s go back to wash khakis and dungarees. Keep a set for “to and from work” clean and pressed and let’s get back to training.

    • NavySubNuke

      I’m still just baffled that some people think having everyone wear maternity uniforms is somehow more professional looking than just letting everyone wear coveralls.
      I realize just changing the policy to let people wear coveralls off the ship isn’t nearly as exciting a fitrep bullet for some O6 wasting his/her time at the pentagon but at a time when the Navy is struggling to buy spare parts can we really justify whatever money has been wasted on these uniforms?

      • Rocco

        Somebody has to earn their keep!! I think in some cases it’s a good idea. Except for sub duty underway the coveralls should be worn for Snipes & all Crew on sub’s! On the females coveralls seems to accentuate the bust line lol!!. I personally saw the new dress White uniforms during fleet week . The blue piping on the bib looks great.

      • CaptainParker

        Hush your mouth. You’re committing the ultimate taboo…criticizing an aspect of diversity. You need more sensitivity training.

  • MarlineSpikeMate

    YES. These pictures look much better than the first ones they sent out.. Love the traditional look and functionality and ability to wear to and from AND ON the ship. Boots are an outstanding idea too.

    The NWU idea is retarded at best and deserve NO place onboard a ship.

    • proudrino

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with the trouser and boot modifications. But the fact that a real work shirt has been replaced with an oversized smock….. What was the uniform board thinking?

      Of course this was the same group that took years to come up with a Navy PT uniform consisting of a gold shirt and blue shorts and still managed to screw it up.

      • Rocco

        That’s so when you’re belly starts to grow you won’t need new tops!! Lol

  • Hey people my next door neighbor is USCG ac1tve duty. He wears a blue BDU uniform. Why in G..’s name are we doing this over and over what happened to the crappy cammies, not the blue berries.
    What a crock. SCPO USN Ret.

  • publius_maximus_III

    The new out-of-step, non-military look.

    • proudrino

      But it is trendy. You just know, from the way those sailors are confidenty walking down the pier, that they have completed their sexual assault, transgender orientation, and diversity training- and have the Page 13s to prove it!

  • proudrino

    Correct me if I’m wrong but even the current maternity uniform is more tailored than the smocks these “sailors” are wearing. Why not go all in and design a uniform consisting of baggy sweats and sandals? That’s something that could be worn off the ship!

    Bottom line, I’ve never seen a naval service of any legitimacy that looks as sloppy and unprofessional as these pictures of a uniform that is actually being field tested and considered for adoption. Unless the Navy Uniform Board has an artistic streak and the new uniform is a metaphor for all that is wrong with the surface fleet, this is a concept that needs to be shut down now. Stop the field testing and tell those sailors to get back in a proper uniform.

  • Duane

    The Navy introduced untucked medium blue pullover jumpers over dark blue pants in the early 70s (that’s what I was issued in boot camp in 1972) as a replacement for the light blue chambray button front shirt tucked into dungaree denim pants… they looked hideous, and were uncomfortable. Within a couple years the Navy shitcanned the new work uni and everyone loved the old dungarees which are very comfortable, look good, and easy to care for. We were not allowed to wear dungarees off base, but I don’t see why they were considered unsuitable for public viewing while the silly camos, blue or otherwise, are today considered acceptable off base. Dungarees look far neater and better than any stupid camo which inherently looks sloppy.

    • eddie046

      I could not agree more! Who keeps floating these crazy changes. Let’s just do a level set and go back to the way uniforms were prior to all these changes, mid to late 80’s or so.

      • hollygreen9

        I think that the people responsible for all of the uniform changes are the people that will get some cash out of the deal. I remember in 1975, when the NAV made us go from cracker jacks to the chief style uniform, then back to cracker jacks, but the old wool cracker jacks could no longer be worn.

    • muzzleloader

      I came in in 74, and was issued the same. Almost everyone hated them. As soon as I got to A school, I went to the exchange and purchased the dungarees and chambray, along with every other new sailor I knew, lol.

    • Rocco

      I was issued the same !! The only thing I agree with you on! Hopefully the new shoes are more comfortable than the old Boone Dockers we had lol!

    • publius_maximus_III

      Cracker Jack jumpers, blues and whites, were never tucked in. You just about needed somebody else to help pull one on though.

  • kaigun2

    I didn’t think it was possible to sink lower than the idiotic blue camo, but the uniform board has proven me wrong. Wow.

  • Jim Carroll

    Please tell me this really is not happening? What a bloody joke!!! Let’s get back to basics.

    • hollygreen9

      Don’t you mean “let’s get back to seafarer dungarees?

  • vincentlawrence

    Are Coveralls racist? I mean you can not wear the waist below the crotch.with the butt hanging out.

  • James Bowen

    What’s wrong with coveralls? They are a perfect underway uniform.

    • eddie046

      So were dungarees.

      • James Bowen

        I don’t think coveralls were made to replace dungarees. The two were co-extant for a long time.

        • eddie046

          I think they showed up in the submarine community before anywhere else. I remember sub sailors wearing coveralls in the early 80’s underway when surface sailors were wearing the tried and true dungarees.

          • James Bowen

            Yes, I think you are right about that.

    • USNVO

      Nothing wrong with coveralls but for a lot of the personnel, they do not work as well or look as good as utilities.

      • James Bowen

        They are a working uniform, so they are not necessarily supposed to look good. If by utilities you are referring to BDUs, those uniforms are nowhere near as practical (or even as good looking) as coveralls.

        • USNVO

          Heaven No, BDUs are just plain idiotic for the Navy. I was referring to a two piece uniform like the lower two pictures (clearly designed to be tucked, not sure what they were thinking with untucked like the top two pictures but whoever came up with that one needs to be fired).

          • James Bowen

            Glad someone agrees with me on what a bad idea BDUs were!

    • Kemosabe

      Pain to use the head for one

      • James Bowen

        That is true (especially for women which I had not thought of until you mentioned this). Nonetheless, I still thought they were the most convenient and utilitarian underway uniform. I am a submariner and we tend to like our coveralls.

      • Rocco


  • Ruckweiler

    This is nuts. The Navy already had a great work uniform but now the “fashion consultants” seem to be dictating clothing decisions.

  • 1/1024th Russian Bot

    Can we please stop changing the uniforms every few years?

  • DevilDoc

    This must be the result of the chubbing up of the Fleet. Increased body fat standards require maternity uniforms. I had an MMC who slept in the rack below me. He would have been perfect for this uniform. He wore Dickies. Loved his Dickies. The zipper hardly zipped over his gut but he loved his Dickies.

  • Sir Bateman

    The untucked uniform looks sloppy.

    • Rocco

      Man of a few words!!

      • Sir Bateman

        According to Shakespeare “brevity is the soul of wit.”

        • Rocco

          You’re wit is about as dry as an empty class!!!🥃

  • Kenneth Millstein

    Whatever happened to the blue shirt with my name stenciled on the left hand pocket and the bell bottom dungarees that were just fine with me when I was in the Navy back in 1967 and 1968. They were just fine very comfortable and real cool looking.

  • Kemosabe

    I am so glad I am retired. Dungarees and khakis are all you need. I can’t imagine un-tucked shirts are safe. But then again, I am still having a hard time with women on warships.

    • Rocco


    • publius_maximus_III

      Blue chambray shirt, finest uniform ever made.

  • Bryan

    Work uniform on a ship= grease/oil=dark stains. Use the dark uniform top and bottom. And of course, Cut the shirt straight but long. When working if it is not tucked then who cares. But when done with work and just sitting around or going to and from, then tuck it in. Easy…

    in the 80’s we called those boots LOX boots. I thought they were fantastically comfortable. I wore them on the flight deck to work in. No problems. Much better than the flight deck boots.

  • coffeejoejava

    They look like pregnancy camouflage! They are atrocious!

  • eddie046

    Wore dungarees for years and loved them. Did you?

    • Rocco

      Yes!! Also wore green coverall or green jump pants for flight deck duty with color shirt etc.

  • ed2291

    Crappy looking Navy uniforms that are constantly updated for other crappy looking Navy uniforms. has been a problem since the 1970s. In this area other services look squared away. Why can’t the Navy do likewise?

  • publius_maximus_III

    o a pair of Sperry Top-Siders
    o no socks
    o khaki colored Jodhpurs
    o an open mesh navy colored T-shirt
    o cranberry colored silk cravat
    o red cape
    o black Balaclava hood

    When our enemies see us coming this time, they will KNOW we are purposeful, fashionable, and really mean business. Just imagine when those future Swabbies man (and wo-man) the rail, their red capes flapping menacingly in the breeze.

    • muzzleloader

      Or how about the tunic uniform from Star Trek? Now that is one nice uniform! Think of it, just replace the Starfleet insignia with the Eagle, shield and Anchor, and there you are! Blue uniform for officers, gold for chiefs, and red for E-6 and below. The other branches would be jealous, I tell you !

      • publius_maximus_III

        Just so long as an engine room snipe doesn’t call up to the bridge with a thick Scottish accent, “Ah doan thin’ she cun tech mooch moohr, Cap’n…”

        • muzzleloader

          Or the ships chief medical officer doesn’t inform the CO of a casualty by saying “ he’s dead Jim”.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Or the favorite Starfleet Academy barroom order, “Scotch me up, Beamie.”

      • publius_maximus_III

        I do hope the good folks at NCTRF don’t take offense at our kidding at their expense. I did like the non-laced boondocks.

        Maybe instead of fire-resistant fabrics they should be testing uniforms made with a material that turns radar/sonar reflective and OSCAR yellow when wet?

      • James B.

        In all seriousness, they could use the colored jerseys of flight deck crews: they’re comfortable, functional, and already in stock.

  • Rob C.

    Rather keep the one-piece outfit with option for two piece. I found it more comforable, but i understand the need for split coveralls. I sure don’t miss the days of tucked in uniforms. However it does look sloppy looking. Thus why i like one piece.

  • BudgetGeek

    uniform – [yoo-nuh-fawrm]
    1. identical or consistent, as from example to example, place to place, or moment to moment
    2. constant; unvarying; undeviating

    They are not uniforms when they change every other year. Knock it off!! Move the tens of millions of dollars wasted on uniform R&D every year into something beneficial. (I do not mean something MORE beneficial, I mean something that actually has a benefit at all.)

  • John Scarborough

    I have to admit I amslightly shocked. I dropped by to see what sailors are wearing only
    to find that after nearly 50 years they are still competing to find
    the most ugly uniforms for the sailors. My time in various USN
    uniforms was from 1969-1977. I started with bell bottoms and
    dungarees when my job was to use black oil to make fire to make
    steam. My work, watch and GQ station was where topside fools got
    sent for punishment. With that background let me state that
    coveralls are the worst possible thing to put on a human body that
    may catch on fire, get covered with oil, sweat or even water. I
    recall the first “improvement” from dungarees. That sorry hot
    pullover shirt that was impossible to take off when covered with

    My second comment is
    that khakis belong on E-7 and above. Not some ugly miss-matched
    combination. We wore dungarees, whites or blues and everybody knew
    what you were. Keep everyone in their paygrade in the same uniform.

    That blue camouflage thing is one UGLY work uniform. I feel sure that blackshoes
    with hot jobs also hate it. Unless they can wear some new colored
    T-shirt instead. Does it come with short sleeves. We don’t all
    have the same weather as DC.

    I always hated that multipiece hat. It does NOT go in a seabag. The dixiecup has
    history but never looked sharp.

    Here is something out of the ballpark. I like the look of the female bucket hats. If
    it was flexible so it can be packed flat. Use it for dress hat for
    men and women in white for a summer cover and blue for winter. For
    E-6 and below they would be uniquely Navy, could still be used for a
    flotation device, and pack into a seabag.

    I totally agree with the new work shoes. In my day we would go buy the wielders shoe with
    elastic panel for ease and safety.

    I prefer the two-toned dungaree blue look. As long as I could wear a short
    sleeved shirt. I miss the easy to spot crow/chevron ironed on the
    sleeve, which would be easier to see on pale blue.

  • iac4357 .

    The Marine Corps and Army blouses look good, not these maternity blouses !
    Even the Coast Guard got it right a

  • iac4357 .

    How about,,, wait for it,,, wait for it,,, a blouse that can be worn tucked,,, or UNTUCKED !
    Genious idea straight from 1955 !

  • 30812574

    How about safety. Not only are these unisex uniforms horrible looking, what happens when the untucked shirt gets tangled in machinery?
    Who is the idiot who approved these horrid costumes?