However, enemy combat on the battlefield is the job discription for Marines, they dress for the occasion. In 1941 during World War II and the Korean War, the proper dress was a two piece sage green utility uniforms and were issued to Marines for fatigue duty.
The Marine Corps dress uniform is an elaborate uniform worn for formal or ceremonial occasions. Its basic form of a blue jacket with red trim dates back to the 19th century. It is the only U.S. military uniform that incorporates all three colors of the U.S. Flag. There are three different variations of the Dress uniform: Evening Dress, Blue Dress, and Blue-White Dress; only officers and SNCOs are authorized to wear the Evening Dress. Until 2000, there was a White Dress uniform, similar in appearance to the U.S. Navy's Dress White uniforms, but worn by officers only (in a manner similar to that of the Dress White uniforms worn in the U.S. Coast Guard). This uniform has since been replaced with the Blue/White Dress uniform for officers and SNCOs.
The most recognizable uniform of the Marine Corps is the Blue Dress uniform, often seen in recruiting advertisements. It is often called "Dress Blues" or simply "Blues". It is equivalent in composition and use to civilian black tie. The various designations are listed in descending order of formality:
* Blue Dress "B" is the same as "A", but medals are replaced with their corresponding ribbons and all are consolidated on the left chest. Marksmanship badges may be worn.
* Blue Dress "C" is the same as "B", but a khaki long sleeve button-up shirt and tie replace the outer blue coat and white gloves. Ribbons and badges are normally worn on the shirt.
* Blue Dress "D" is the same as "C", but with a khaki short sleeve button-up shirt and no tie.
Prior to 1998, the "Blue-White" dress uniform was authorized to be worn for the ceremonial units at Marine Barracks, 8th & I in Washington, D.C. (most famously the Silent Drill Platoon and Color guard). Since then, it has become the authorized summer dress uniform for all officers (it replaced, in 2000, an all-white uniform, similar in appearance to that of the Naval Officer/CPO white dress uniform), SNCOs (unless they are in formation with NCOs and junior enlisted personnel who are not authorized to wear the uniform), and by NCOs and junior enlisted personnel for ceremonies and social events only, if authorized and provided by the command structure.
To differentiate themselves from the infantry, musicians?at that time, merely buglers and signal callers?would reverse the traditional colors. Today's Marine Corps musicians still carry on this tradition by wearing a scarlet blouse with blue trim instead of the Dress Blues blouse. Currently, the Red-Dress uniform is worn only by members of the United States Marine Band and the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, both based in Washington, D.C.; members of the twelve fleet bands wear standard Marine uniforms.
The Evening Dress is the most formal (and by U.S. Military standards, the most elaborate) of the Dress uniforms, and is the equivalent of white tie in usage. It is only authorized for wear by officers and SNCOs, and only a required uniform item for senior officers (Majors and above). It comes in three varieties:
* Evening dress "B" is identical to Evening Dress "A" except men wear a scarlet waistcoat (General officers) or cummerbund (other officers), and women may wear a short skirt.
* SNCO Evening Dress for Staff Non-Commissioned Officers, and much resembles a tuxedo with historic 1890s-era rank insignia sewn on the sleeves.