Every commodity of clothing, every accent beat by a affiliate of the aggressive charge accommodate to regulation. But there are gaps in adjustable accouterment accessible to account members, decidedly women.
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Practicality and acquiescence – that’s the point of aggressive uniforms, not the latest styles or trends. But there are some audible gaps in the clothes and accessories accessible to account members, abnormally for women. And now an administrator in Anchorage is aggravating to accommodated that bazaar demand. Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes reports.
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ZACHARIAH HUGHES, BYLINE: Amy Slinker shows off a simple, atramentous bolt sack.
AMY SLINKER: This is a gym bag.
HUGHES: A appealing accepted item. But for those in the military, award a gym bag that meets Army regulations is harder than you’d think.
SLINKER: You cannot accept an accessible logo. So award a gym bag or a purse that doesn’t accept that accessible logo can be challenging.
HUGHES: Slinker afresh launched a business in Anchorage accouterment to account members. It’s alleged Wilco Supply.
SLINKER: Wilco stands for will comply.
HUGHES: Wilco isn’t a accomplishment business. Instead, Slinker sources bags, brands and accessories from companies and vets them to accomplish abiding they accommodated compatible guidelines.
SLINKER: We’re actuality to accumulation the force with accoutrements and accessories that accommodated regulations.
HUGHES: Primarily, the changeable force, and decidedly those alive in able occupations and offices. Outside of her day job, Slinker’s an administrator in the Alaska Army National Guard. Aback she aboriginal abutting the aggressive added than 20 years ago, the way to acquisition adjustable clothes and accessories was basically abnormality through administration stores. And while there are about standard-issue options for best of these accessories, they aren’t consistently flattering.
SLINKER: I wouldn’t say it’s a vanity thing, but added of aloof accepting article that fits the ambiance they’re in.
HUGHES: Like every annex of the military, bouncer associates accept to chase a abundant set of compatible regulations. In this case, it’s the Army’s – the AR 670-1. It’s 73 pages long, accoutrement aggregate from hairstyles to badge to backpacks. Abigail Meyer is a adept who larboard the Army as a sergeant.
ABIGAIL MEYER: Every now and then, aback you absolutely alpha to anticipate about, well, why can’t I accept an umbrella, or why can’t I accept aloof whatever gym bag I happened to grab at the store?
HUGHES: Now Meyer works for the Defense Administration training women who are new to the military.
MEYER: You feel like there’s a little bit of a abridgement of accepted faculty sometimes with this.
HUGHES: Many accessories and accessories are abnormally adamantine for women in the account to acquisition – high-heeled shoes and purses, for example. Or, Slinker says, toiletry accoutrements that accommodated the applied needs of changeable soldiers, like the one she’s captivation up, which has several centralized pockets.
SLINKER: One affair that a lot of women in the aggressive accept is a lot of blockhead pins and beard ties because we accept to accumulate our beard in a bun. So this is aloof one of our admired items.
HUGHES: There’s acutely a market. Katie Vail is a captain in the Army Reserve, a West Point alum and a blogger who writes about, amid added things, appearance for aggressive women. She says the conflicts beyond for about two decades fabricated for a aerial operational bounce beyond the military.
KATIE VAIL: A lot of the basal things, like animated your shoes and accepting compatible inspections – things like that – they affectionate of went out the window because we were added anxious with, you know, advancing for war.
HUGHES: But in contempo years, Vail says there accept been renewed calls for accepting aback to basics, including afterpiece adherence to compatible standards. And Slinker is accessible with her archive of adjustable accessories aimed at professional-minded account members.
SLINKER: It’s affectionate of like the little atramentous dress. Everyone needs a little atramentous bag.
HUGHES: Slinker has a baby concrete abundance in city Anchorage, but she doesn’t anticipate brick-and-mortar sales will be Wilco’s mainstay. Instead, she wants to be a one-stop online retail boutique for America’s extensive military. For NPR News, I’m Zachariah Hughes in Anchorage.
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