Civilian Diplomatic Attire

Civilian Diplomatic Attire

Continuous Learning Hours

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Target Audience

This learning guide is designed for SCO personnel stationed in United States embassies overseas who require the routine or occasional wear of civilian diplomatic attire in the performance of their duties.


This learning guide consists of the five modules below:
  1. Introduction
    Explains the importance of diplomatic social activities to the successful execution of the embassy and SCO mission
  2. The Fundamentals of Attire
    Introduces the classes of attire by level of formality and event start time.
  3. Interpreting Invitations and Attending Events
    Describes the type of social events that SCOs may be expected to attend; explains how to prepare for an event based on the details of the invitation; provides hints for successfully attending diplomatic functions.
  4. Acquiring Diplomatic Attire (separate sections for men and women)
    Identifies different types of suits and the features of proper suit fit and quality; addresses the importance and details of accessories; describes proper care for civilian clothing.
  5. Summary
    Provides sample scenarios of diplomatic events illustrating acceptable and unacceptable attire and behavior.
This learning guide is for reference or professional development only. No certificate is awarded for completion.


This learning guide takes approximately one hour to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does DoD pay me to purchase a wardrobe for civilian diplomatic attire?

Most SCOs perform their daily duties in civilian clothes. DoD policy provides that, when competent authority (e.g., the US Ambassador) directs military personnel to dress in civilian clothing more than half the time when performing official duty, a Civilian Clothing Allowance may be authorized. This allowance is normally issued as a one-time, lump-sum payment to you.

Where can I find the official policy on civilian clothing allowance?

  • DODI 1338.18, Armed Forces Clothing Monetary Allowance Procedures
  • DOD 7000.14-R, Volume 7A, Chapter 29, "Clothing Monetary Allowances"
This information is further addressed in DSCU's learning guide SCO Personal Entitlements, including links to the documents above.

What if I am not entitled to a civilian clothing allowance?

You can raise the issue to your combatant command staff for resolution. In any event, you are expected to acquire, maintain and use an appropriate wardrobe that will help you to professionally represent the United States in your role as a member of a U.S. embassy country team.

Who do I contact if I have any technical issues with this learning guide?

Go to the LMS Login & Help page for technical assistance.

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