U.S. AIR FORCE TIE TAB (NECKTAB) WITH SELF-FASTENING TAILS

Air Force regulations prescribe the wearing of tie tabs—called “neck tabs” by the Army and “necktabs” by the Navy and Marine Corps—by female personnel instead of the bow ties (for the Mess Dress or Formal Dress) or ties (Service Dress, Semi-Formal Dress, long-sleeve shirt) worn by their male counterparts.

Two different types of tie tabs are authorized. A blue satin tie tab with self-fastening tails is mandatory with the Mess / Maternity Mess Dress, Semi-Formal / Maternity Semi-Formal, and the Maternity Service Dress (Class A). For the Service Dress and the Long Sleeve / Long Sleeve Maternity Blue Blouse, the tab is blue polyester herringbone, also with a self-fastening tails. Tie tabs are optional with the Acrylic Wool Pullover Sweater and Cardigan Sweaters (blue or white).

Precisely why the Air Force wishes to make a distinction in neckwear between its male and female personnel is unclear. Nearly ninety years have elapsed since Marlene Dietrich startled moviegoers in 1930 by wearing a white bow tie with a tuxedo in the movie Morocco, an outfit she wore during her cabaret shows in the 1950s and 1960s. The tie tab might be a suitable alternative for a standard necktie, there seems to be no solid functional or even aesthetic reason for women in the Air Force to not wear the same type of bow tie as their brothers-in-arms.
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