The “Ranger Panties,” or silkies shorts, were first issued to the United States Army Rangers in 1970 as a part of their Physical Training (PT) uniform. Eventually, the short shorts evolved into what the PT uniforms are today, but the Marines still have a love for the original silkies.
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Why Marines Love Silkies Shorts
The Marine silkies are made of a nylon tricot fabric, which makes the silkies shorts stretchy and just as soft as silk. The fabric and feel also explain how the shorts got their nickname from the Marines.
The fabric is also extremely breathable, is made with just a 2-inch inseam, and prevents chafing, if you wear the correct size. However, many Marines ordered their silkies two sizes too small and always ran with the excuse that their size was out of stock.
Marines love the silkie shorts not only because of how they feel but how the shorts complement their physique. Perhaps their fervent love for the silkie shorts is what started the Marine silkies meme.
Where To Get Silkie Shorts
You can find the Marine silkies just about anywhere online. Amazon, Sunga Life, and Veteran-owned businesses like Semper Silkies all offer the tiny shorts. Most silkies come in the original Marine green silkies, but there are also black shorts and even fun patterns.
Civilians have also learned to love the silkies shorts. Many reviews on Amazon rave about how comfortable and confident they feel when wearing the silkie shorts. Here are some of the reviews:
“Makes me look a lot cooler. Highly recommended. Great fit. Only for real men.”
“I’m a bigger man who likes embarrassing his wife. I wear these out a lot and they fit great while also embarrassing my wife. They are also great for running and leg day at the gym. Be prepared though for the large amount of stares you’ll get at the gym from all the jealous people who don’t have a pair.”
In fact, some writers have even written reviews on the silkies Marines find so comfortable. Writer Adam Clark Estes was inspired by the reviews for the silkies Marine shorts on Amazon. After trying them out for himself, he said that the design of the shorts serves important functions.
Related read: Marine Corps Uniform Regulations Relaxed in New Update
Why the Marine Corps Silkies Are No Longer Standard-Issue PT Uniform
In 2011, the silkie shorts were banned from Marines wearing them during PT. One Marine base actually banned them completely. Camp Lejeune banned the silkie shorts and the rest of the Marine Corps from unit PT for uniformity.
Although the ban was set in place, there were a couple of loopholes. The first loophole was that during individual PT, one can wear whatever they wish to. The second loophole is in the hands of the formation leader. If the leader decides that the day’s uniform includes silkies, every individual must wear them.
The third and final loophole is that there is no written rule other than the MCO 1020.34H, which is vague. The main reason the silkie shorts were banned at Camp Lejeune is that they made the leaders uncomfortable during PT.
Sgt. Maj. David Stocks with Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton stated in 2014 that he doesn’t believe the silkies should be worn in public, although he appreciates them. He knows that the Marines have always worn the shorts two sizes too small, and he claims that the silkies are “unflattering and unsightly.”
In 2021, the Marines tested new PT uniform options, which sparked the hope that the Marine green silkies might come back. But now, it doesn’t seem likely that the silkies shorts will ever become the standard-issue PT uniform again. Many Marines do not pay attention to whether the ban on silkies shorts was an order or not, so it’s safe to say that, today, you may still see many Marines in silkies.
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