Play / pause RAF Dress Code

RAF Dress Code

  • Balbir Flora
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


If you look at the Sikhs,

we can wear the turban and the beard

in the full Sikh tradition,

we don't have to shave at all.

And that's quite accepted because

Sikhs have been fighting for the British

for hundreds of years,

going back to the days of the Raj.

But we've looked at the whole wider issue,

and we've looked at the dress regulations and the policies,

and we've taken some consultation

from the community out there as well.

So for example in the case of Muslim females,

we've now got uniform.

Not only for the Muslims but any other female

who might not be comfortable in the skirt.

So they've got an alternative of trousers,

and within the case of Muslim females,

because they've got to have their arms covered as well,

instead of having short sleeved shirts,

they can have long sleeved shirts.

So you can have a mix of uniform

that accommodates other people.

And we've even looked at a hijab,

that a Muslim female can wear,

you know if she joins and want to wear the hijab.

So in this day and age,

we've got loads of cadets in various cadet squadrons

who now wear the hijab.

But so far, none of them have joined the air force,

so we haven't actually got a Muslim female

in the air force who wears a hijab.

We do have them serving at the moment,

but they're quite happy to just wear the normal headdress.

And we've looked at this dress regulation policy

quite in depth.

And then we've gone into a sort of

a high Muslim girls school,

tried different materials and things like that,

and then taken advice from them.

We also looked at things like Emirates,

you know the airline,

to see how they do it,

and we've come up with a policy where,

yes they would wear a headscarf,

the hijab,

but it would be tucked inside the shirt

'cause you need to see their ranks,

to see what rank they are.

And then obviously when they step outside,

they'd wear the hat,

the normal female headdress, on top of that,

you know, which will fit easily.

So we've done all these sort of trials, you know,

and looked at how we can accommodate them.

And recently for example,

if you're a Rastafarian,

you can now grow your hair long.

So the policies are always changing, and adapting,

to help us be more accommodating

to the different faiths and religions out there.

  • Balbir Flora

    © RAF Museum

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