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A Quick Guide To The MLB Dress Code

MLB players, managers, sportswriters, and other affiliates have all abided by traditional dress uniforms. Baseball is one of the most popular and fun sports to follow, but it might beg the question: Does the MLB have a dress code?

The dress code in the MLB requires players to wear their team uniforms, with at least 51% of their shoes being team colors, a tucked-in shirt, and the team hat. Coaches typically wear a team uniform based on tradition, but they can also wear team jackets or sweaters.

Yankees hitter loading his swing with catcher and umpire behind home plate. The overlaying text reads "A Quick Guide To The MLB Dress Code"

Throughout this article, we’ll discuss the dress codes and misconceptions about what MLB players have to wear, unique dress policies for management, and a handful of other dress regulations for the league.

What Are the Dress Code Rules for MLB Players?

The dress code rules for MLB players include wearing team-provided pants with a belt to keep the shirt in place, not wearing anything extra that looks like a baseball or a bat (which could distract the opponent), and keeping their clothes in good condition. Players also can’t change their shoes while running the bases.

Here’s a list of additional dress code rules for MLB players:

  • MLB players have to keep their shirts tucked in at all times while they’re in a game. MLB Static lists this rule as one of the most important parts of maintaining a professional appearance on and off the field. Players must tuck in their shirts to keep them tight and neat throughout the game.
  • The players have to wear a hat facing forward, though catchers and home run derby participants can wear them backward. A forward-facing hat upholds uniformity, much like matching football or hockey helmets. Most players want to wear hats to block the sun and follow tradition.
  • Their shoes have to be 51% covered in their primary team colors spread throughout the exterior of the shoe. SI lists this unique rule because it prevents players from wearing outlandish, vibrant, or otherwise distracting color combinations. While they could be a problem for their opponents, it also makes them look unprofessional.
  • All undershirts have to match the team’s colors for uniformity. If the undershirt stretches outside of the uniform, it has to match the rest of the outfit. While many teams have specific rules that prevent undershirts from coming out of the uniform, it’s not a league-wide dress code.
  • Baseball players have to wear a belt with their uniforms. These belts keep the shirts tucked in and the pants from falling down. They also keep everyone on the team looking similar. The belts often mirror the team’s primary color, so MLB players have to wear the provided color scheme.
  • MLB players are unable to change their shoes while running bases. As part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), players are unable to change their shoes when running from base to base.

As you can see, MLB players are much more subject to dress code rules and regulations than other participants in the sport. However, they’re not the only people who have to watch what they’re wearing to avoid fines and suspensions. If you want to know what the coaches have to wear, read on.

Do MLB Coaches Have to Follow a Dress Code?

MLB coaches have to follow a dress code that includes wearing team colors and often team uniforms. They’re allowed to wear sweaters or jackets over the uniform as long as they abide by the team’s primary colors. Much like the players, MLB coaches have to keep their outfits looking clean and tidy.

Below, we’ll show a few common MLB coach dress rules:

  1. Coaches have to wear uniforms if they want to be allowed on the field. According to Mental Floss, coaches are considered part of the team and must abide by similar rules. The MLB rulebook clearly states that any player or coach on the field has to follow this dress code.
  2. MLB coaches can’t wear torn pants, broken shoes, and so on. Baseball dress rules are all about following traditions and professionalism. Rugged, worn outfits don’t look great on anyone, and the coaches are supposed to be the captains of the team. If they don’t look professional, it sets a bad example for the team.
  3. The coaches can’t wear anything mimicking a baseball, bat, or opposing team colors. These distractions are unwanted and can influence the direction or outcome of the game. Much like the players, the coach’s undershirt can’t be exposed or show anything resembling these items.

Most of the coaches’ dress codes are similar or mirror player dress codes. Coaches and managers are technically part of the team. Many years ago, they used to play on the field with the players, which is largely the reason behind the uniform similarities and their engagement on the field.

What Are Other Dress Code Rules There?

Other dress code rules include sportswriters wearing professional clothing, shoes that cover all or most of their feet, and shorts or pants long enough to cover their legs. These rules are set for hygiene reasons while interviewing players in the locker room but also to maintain the professionalism of the sport.

NY Daily News breaks down new and interesting dress codes for the interviewers and writers. For example, they have to wear shoes and shorts that cover their legs and feet as much as possible. While most employees don’t mind this change, it’s faced a bit of opposition since the writers don’t always work directly for the league.

The goal of these dress codes is to enhance the way people view the sport. It should be seen as a professional event from end to end, including the players, coaches, managers, writers, and interviewers. Anyone who doesn’t follow them is subject to various fines.


MLB players and coaches have to follow dress code rules, but most of them prefer to stick with them based on tradition, not just because they don’t want to be punished. Speaking of which, punishment for disobeying the dress code includes fines and potential suspensions based on the severity and frequency of the offense.

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Steve Nelson

I'm the owner of Baseball Training World. I live in Denver, Colorado and I enjoy playing baseball in an adult baseball team in the surrounding area. Read more about Steve Nelson.