From Uniform Matters Office
Several significant female uniform initiatives have been in the press and discussed at all hands calls and events across the Fleet. A “choker” style Service Dress White (SDW) uniform for officers and chiefs, was recently showcased at the U.S. Naval Academy graduation and a Cracker-Jack style Service Dress Blues (SDB) for E6 and below that will appear next year. There are some other Sailor and Fleet requested design improvements for women’s uniforms that are in the pipeline.
Here are eight things to know about planned uniform changes:
1. Female uniform changes in the works include a beltless khaki slack for wear with the overblouse; a pencil design skirt in white and khaki, and enlarging the internal pocket of the officer and chief SDB and SDW uniforms to accommodate larger items like cell phones. We are looking at what we can do to shorten the timeline from design to Fleet introduction.
2. We’ve completed the improvement to the female khaki tuck-in shirt with reinforced stitching to the shirt’s bottom hem.
3. The Navy’s goal is to provide greater uniformity among Sailors as well as an overall improved quality, comfort, and appearance in our uniforms.
4. To develop a better fit for our uniforms, Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility is collecting data on Sailors’ measurements to update baseline sizes, patterns and designs used for manufacturing all uniforms. We have been relying on data from 1988 for females and 1997 for males and the new information will be used to update all our uniform patterns.
5. Leadership has finalized the design, timeline, and transition for the female E6 and below SDB, improved white Cracker-Jacks and the Dixie cup cover. Timeline for the roll out of the new uniforms is being developed and is expected to begin within the next two years.
6. A female officers and chiefs choker version of the SDW coat and the alternate combination cover has been approved. A wear test of the prototype is being conducted this summer and the information gathered will be used to inform the final design. The coat is expected to be available for purchase and optional wear early next year. Mandatory wear date has not been determined, but will be before January 2020.
7. The alternate combination covers for men and women will be available for purchase and optional wear by the end of this year.
8. Like any acquisition process, there is a very detailed and lengthy timeline. From the initial concept to final production, to produce a new uniform or to incorporate any design change into an existing uniform item can take 36 to 48 months from concept to roll out.