A letter to a man in the uniform industry

Tanya here –  This was my letter to a very important man in the uniform industry when he asked, “What’s the difference with Her BlueWear pants?”

It would be difficult to simply sum up the reasons HBWU pants are a gift to women in law enforcement.  I am not trying to diminish your empathetic abilities but you have never had to go to work in a skirt. (At least I hope not) Although the skirt is an extreme, you can easily use that analogy and understand the meaning behind it. 

 

I knew coming to work as a police officer left me as a minority. I knew I might not even be welcome and I would have to earn my place amongst my peers and the men that already wore a badge around me.  I also knew that my department was not prepared for the differences the gender would require.  What I did not know was how far behind the entire culture and society in police work remained.  Equipment and uniforms were “as they always have been.”  Goodness knows that change would be “expensive” and “what if we (the men) do not like it?” 

 

It is not in my basic nature to sit quietly when I see something I deem unfair.  I would guess that is one of the reasons I am a good officer.  It is usually all I can do to remain politically correct during such times.  Unfortunately, I entered law enforcement as an officer when it was still an unwritten rule that new people just “shut up and work” without complaining.  On top of being new I am a (gasp) woman!   Therefore silence was my only choice because apparently I should have been grateful to have a job in this line of work. 

 

So, I shut up.  And as my time on the job passed, I asked questions about different uniforms to different uniform providers.  Although I have come to know them personally, the people at my local uniform store did not wear the uniforms. Therefore finding one for me that fit properly was not as big a priority to them as it was to me.  They too had fallen into the mindset of “it always has been and is all you can get.” 

 

When Denise listened to me talk about work, she was always interested and cared about what I was doing.  I had not only gained a true friend when she married my brother, but I gained a sister.  She would defend me to the ends of the earth and knew if I was complaining that something needed to be done. 

 

And she did it.  She knows that with all my time in this profession I am experienced enough and intelligent enough to be able to put together what a woman needs and wants in uniforms.  Combine that with her heart and pure stubborn nature when being told something is not possible, and you have the pants I am wearing tonight as I compose this letter.

 

To best explain the difference to you I would ask you to think of wearing a pair of fishing waders compared to your favorite blue jeans. I used to wear body armor the size of a jogging bra that left most of my important organs exposed. The 21 lb gun belt dragged down the waist of my pants so that I not only looked like a clown and felt uncomfortable all day long, but I was unable to do my job to the best of my ability.

 

I LOVE my new pants. I do not dread putting them on everyday for work. I cannot imagine going back to “Man Pants” and having to just tolerate wearing clothing that does not fit. Every female officer and uniform wearing dispatcher I know absolutely loves the pants when they see them and even more so after they wear them.

 

The job has changed.  My body, although older, has not.  I have passed the test of time and excelled at this profession.  It is time the uniforms caught up with me.

 

Stay Safe  – 64

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