Wearing of Military Awards with Civilian Clothes

Veterans and retirees are allowed to attend events with a military theme while wearing their military decorations on non-military clothing. Veterans and retirees are urged to wear their honours and medals on key holidays. It is up to each person to decide whether they want a full-size medal or a miniature.

Veterans and retirees are permitted to wear any category of medal on proper civilian clothes. In this article we will discuss in brief about wearing military ribbons and medals with civilian clothes.

Wearing Military Medals and Ribbons on Civilian Clothes

Getting Ready

Just get your military ribbons and medals ready and then read our instructions and do as we say!

In the same way as, military medals are worn on uniforms, full-size or tiny medals can be worn on civilian clothing.

The left chest should have them there in the right to left order of importance. In other words, the wearer should wear the medals in the highest order of precedence nearest to their hearts. The medals with a higher order of precedence should be worn on the top row if more than one row is needed.

Military Ribbons on Uniforms

The sequence of precedence should be followed when arranging each ribbon. The top and rightmost ones are ranked highest.

For illustration, a ribbon rack might start with a high-level honour like the Medal of Honor or the Distinguished Service Cross and end with lower-level unit, civilian, or international awards.

Ribbons should be arranged in rows, with a maximum of four ribbons per row. The wearer should begin a new role if there are more than four ribbons. The subsequent rows can have fewer ribbons, but the first and second rows should have the same number.

For male wearers, pin the entire ribbon rack 1/8″ above and in the middle of the left chest pocket; for female wearers, pin it on the left side, centred with the nameplate on the right.

In other words, if more than one row is required, the higher-ordered medals should be worn on the top row, where they will be closer to the wearer’s heart. Males should wear their medals above the left chest pocket, and females should wear them all in the middle. In a row, the medals must not touch one another. All medals should be visible, even though those on higher rows may protrude over those on lower ones.

The quantity of medals in each row varies. It depends on how big the uniform is and how many medals are worn. However, if the medals were placed into rows, the bottom row should have the most. Additionally, there should be a 1/8-inch gap between each row.

Marine Corps

On non-evening clothing, miniature ribbon reproductions may be worn instead of medals, whereas miniature medals may be worn on civilian evening clothing. They should take the form of lapel buttons or rosettes for the latter. They ought to be fastened to clothing’s left lapel.


The Navy permits the wearing of Navy decorations while wearing non-Navy clothing. On civilian evening attire, which is akin to a white tie dress code, or civilian dinner attire, which is virtually a black-tie dress code, miniature medals can be worn. On the left lapel of civilian clothing, such as a blazer or tuxedo, tiny reproductions of ribbons can be worn as lapel buttons or rosettes.

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