Fifteen percent of the Army's 560,000 soldiers are women, but up until this point there have only been male uniforms for those serving. That means about one in six soldiers is probably uncomfortable in what they're wearing while serving our country. Granted the garments are made for function, not style, but we'd imagine women may have a tough time operating in items that may be far too large in certain areas (arms and shoulders) and too tight in others (chest and hips). Thankfully, Army Times is reporting that a brand new Army Combat Uniform designed especially for the ladies is on the way.
"We need to ensure our women are wearing something they are comfortable in, and it doesn't make them look like their uniform doesn't fit," said Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, Program Executive Office Soldier. Over a dozen changes have been made to the new female-cut ACU in hopes that garments will now fit every soldier comfortably. These are just some of the structural changes being made to the new uniforms:
The jackets and pants will now come in 13 sizes with varying chest, waist, and hip measurements
Jacket and sleeve length and width will be adjusted
The "back rise" of the pant will be lengthened to make room for hips and rear
The pants drawstring will be replaced with an elastic waistband
Pants will have a shortened button fly
Pockets at the elbows, calves, knees, shoulder and sleeves will be repositioned for easier access
The back shoulder area will be sewn closer together for a more narrow fit
The rank tab will be raised and the Army insignia will be moved closer to the zipper
Many female soldiers currently are choosing larger sizes to accommodate for areas where they need more room, but it is hindering their movement in other areas. Hopefully with the new female-cut uniforms this will no longer be an issue. "Every soldier in the Army has been trained from day one to take pride in their appearance," said Sgt. 1st Class William Corp. "This ACU gives the female a uniform she can take more pride in; it is something designed to fit them, not their male counterpart. I believe it will boost their morale and appearance."
Starting in January 2011 through the spring 600 participants will be testing out the garments, and the Army plans to present their observations and wardrobe choices to the Uniform Board by November. We think this can't come soon enough. [Army Times]