On November 2, 2020, then Defense Secretary Mark Esper released a memorandum allowing physical fitness attire in the Commissary and Military Exchange facilities. Historically, any physical fitness attire – including yoga pants – has been a no-go at the Commissary. In fact, it is common for some females to keep skirts in the car to throw over the leggings before running into the Commissary to pick up milk or eggs. But now, no additional skirt needed – athleisure is now authorized.
Per the memo, both service-issued PT uniforms and their civilian equivalents can now be worn inside the commissary and exchanges as long as the clothes are “clean, serviceable and in good condition and appropriately modest.” It further delineated that the Secretaries of the individual Military Departments are “authorized to make exceptions to this policy for Service members based on mission requirements and the need to maintain good order and discipline.”
Bases across the world do have varying clothing policies. Commissaries and Exchanges in the beach-destination of Camp Pendleton and tropical Okinawa allow flip-flops while they are seen on showering gear at other bases. The accepted dress code overall is individualized at each base. The November 2, 2020 memo is meant to cover all bases while allowing continued individualization within the service branches as needed for service members. Any specifics for service members will not apply to military dependents, which includes military spouses and children.
While the military collective is not looking to join the ranks of big-box “People of” groups, you are now allowed to go from the gym to the commissary. And yes, it was already happening, but now it is authorized.