WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Continuously improving the comfort, fit and functionality of Air Force uniforms, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Uniform Office here at Wright-Patterson is currently designing improvements to the women’s service dress slacks.
The AFLCMC Air Force Uniform Office is responsible for all the development and design of service dress uniforms, utility uniforms, mess dress uniforms, maternity uniforms, sweaters and physical training uniforms.
As part of the design and development process, on March 7, a group of female Airmen volunteered to be measured by the uniform office team to see if their measurements would qualify them to try on the sample size of the newly designed women’s slacks.
“Once we are informed of the requirement to make improvements to an item, we then conduct industry research and solicit feedback to determine the direction for the design,” said Tracy Roan, Air Force Uniform Office Chief.
Improvements to the uniforms are generated from Airmen who submit suggestions through the Airmen Powered by Innovation (formerly the IDEA program) program and then are submitted through their major commands.
As part of the prototype development phase, the technical team conducts fit evaluations to determine what modifications need to be made to achieve a final prototype that could be evaluated in the prototype size, as well as participants that could be used in the next fit test phase.
Roan said the initial try-on session is to give their designers an idea of how the slacks are fitting along with listening to the feedback from the ones who try them on. They will then take those suggestions and apply them to the next sample pair.
“The sample slacks were designed to reflect modern sizing and style,” said Roan. Improvements to the slacks include lowering the waistline, eliminating darts for a flat front and adding back pockets.
Roan said lowering the waistline provides more comfort and updating the styling gives a modern appearance.
After trying on a pair of the sample pants, Staff Sgt. Kierra McCray, executive to the AFLCMC command chief, and Airman 1st Class Madison Gilbert, an administrative technician in the AFLCMC Director of Staff’s office, both favor the new slacks.
Gilbert said the sample slacks are not so constricted like the current slacks so she is able to easily move around in them. McCray said the current slacks they wear sit too high on the waist so they are long in the front but the sample pair sits in a much more comfortable spot on the waist.
The Air Force Uniform office is always seeking volunteers to test wear new uniform designs. Similar to the physical training test, body measurements will be taken of the participants to determine the size and to help evaluate the required fit. The participant is then given a uniform to try on and the technical team will evaluate the fit of the prototype.
Based on the need, some participants will be chosen to wear test the uniform samples over a period of time and asked to provide feedback on the wear, performance, and ability to meet the requirements of the uniform. Currently, the office is in the wear test phase of the men’s service dress trousers.
“User feedback and participation is essential to execute a successful uniform development program so we can achieve the best fit and appearance to meet the user’s needs,” said Roan.
“Participating in uniform testing gives Airmen a voice in the development or improvement of the uniforms they are required to wear.”
The office is preparing for a fit test on the maternity service dress shirt within the next four months and are also in the early research phase of the physical training uniform and will soon be soliciting participants for both.
If you are interested in participating in any uniform test or wish to provide feedback on upcoming research, contact Kathy Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deb Klensch at email@example.com.