WASHINGTON – If you're a soldier, cornrows and baldness are hot for 2002. Body piercing and colored contact lenses are not.
For the first time in 10 years, the Army is preparing to release the first update to its fashion bible. The revised "Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia" incorporates dozens of changes to uniform and personal appearance standards for soldiers.
The Army has always had rules about hair length. Now, under revised Army policy, braids and cornrows — once considered a fad — are allowed.
"As they've become a lot more acceptable in society, the Army has seen that they've presented a professional appearance that really allows women to groom their hair and maintain it," said Lt. Col. Margaret Flott, chief of the Army's individual readiness policy division.
Dreadlocks, however, are still prohibited. And dyed hair must "look natural."
Multi-tone or flamboyant nail polish is also out. Fire-engine red, purple, blue, black and white are among the prohibited colors, as are khaki and camouflage. Men are not allowed to wear nail polish at all.
As for cell phones, the new rules state that only one "electronic device," whether a phone, pager or personal digital assistant, may be attached to a uniform. Whatever the device, it must be black, no larger than 4-by-2-by-1 inches and carried only for official duties.
"We have to balance individuality with organizational needs," Flott said.
The revision incorporates many updates the service already has issued individually since 1992, Flott said. It is expected to take effect within four months, pending the signature of the Army Secretary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.