Uniforms aren't known for making fashion statements, but ideally they should be both comfortable and professional looking. With its Ladies Choice design, Elbeco feels it has finally created women's trousers to meet both of these criteria.
Traditionally, women's pants have been very similar to men's pants in their design. After speaking to many female officers who weren't happy with the options available to them, the product development team at Elbeco sought to change that. The company decided that to develop a pair of uniform pants that women would find comfortable and flattering for their bodies, it had to start from the ground up.
"We wanted to provide comfort and the ability for them to do their job with ease, and to have that professional appearance that is expected," says David Storhaug, Elbeco's director of product development and merchandising.
Input from female officers was an integral part of the project. The development team asked women to wear an initial version on the job and offer suggestions. Based on the resulting feedback, Elbeco was able to adjust the design to create an ideal fit that more closely resembles pants women wear in their off time.
"This pant is really built and designed by women for women. I was just the implementer, if you will," says Storhaug.
Major design innovations that set the Ladies Choice pants apart include a lower rise to hit at a woman's natural waist and more room in the high hip, seat, and thigh areas to allow for greater mobility and comfort. The lower waistband is also curved instead of straight across and features elastic on the sides. The stretch is especially useful in accommodating thermal underwear during the winter months. Officers agree that the newly designed waistband allows a duty belt to fit better, enhancing comfort and even access to weapons.
All of these changes were suggested by female officers of different shapes and sizes, and they're all very pleased with the results.
"Our goal was not just to fit one body type well, but to fit as many body types as well as possible," says Storhaug. "We've come up with a homerun, based on how the industry is receiving the pant."
In fact, the Pittsburgh Police Department was so impressed with the final product that the agency is allowing its female officers to openly endorse Elbeco Ladies Choice pants. A video of Pittsburgh PD officers' testimonials can be viewed on the Elbeco Website.
In the video, one officer says Elbeco's Ladies Choice is the best pant she's worn in her 27 years of service, while another says she has eight pairs of uniform pants in her closet, but this is the pair she keeps washing and wearing because it's her favorite.
Elbeco's Ladies Choice pattern officially debuted at the IACP Show in November and is now the standard for all of the company's women's pants. The new design is still priced the same as Elbeco's men's pants, it's just made to fit women much better.
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