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Is Ralph Lauren redesigning Navy uniforms?

Female sailors will tell you that their uniforms leave much to be desired in fit and fashion. After getting an earful about this at a women’s leadership symposium earlier this year, the service is looking into suggestions on how to make women’s uniforms fit better.

One sailor asked The Rumor Doctor whether it was true that fashion designer Ralph Lauren is redesigning female sailors’ uniforms.

Well, yes and no.

“The Navy has not hired Ralph Lauren to redesign female sailors’ uniforms, but [Navy Exchange Service Command] has opened up an initial dialogue with Ralph Lauren, one of our top-tier manufacturing resources, who has offered to provide advice regarding women’s uniform sizing and help support current initiatives,” said NEXCOM spokeswoman Kathleen Martin via e-mail.

So far, the fashion giant has not weighed in on the matter, said Ryan Lally, a spokesman for Polo Ralph Lauren.

It’s clear that someone has a lot of work to do when it comes to making Navy uniforms fit better.

Many female sailors complained at the symposium about the “rise,” or distance between the crotch and waist, on the pants for service khaki uniforms, said Lt. Cmdr. Jean Marie Sullivan, deputy director for women’s policy.

“They complained about the rise being too high, so that it goes up to past your natural waist and it’s just uncomfortable and unflattering,” she said.

Sailors also complained that the Navy’s blue camouflage working uniform is too broad in the shoulders and too narrow in the hips.

Since Ralph Lauren hasn’t offered his insights yet, The Rumor Doctor decided to consult another expert on fashion and other girly stuff.

“All they really are is a man’s uniform, and they look and fit dreadful,” Los Angeles fashion and image consultant Ashley Rothschild said in an e-mail. “The cut of trousers is not designed with the woman’s body in mind, and color doesn’t compliment any skin tone and adds body mass to already unflattering design.”

Rothschild suggested the Navy hire a tailor to make the khaki pants fit women better.

“There is no feminine touch in those uniforms,” she said.

THE RUMOR DOCTOR’S DIAGNOSIS: Perhaps Ralph Lauren can recreate that feminine fit he’s known for, but don’t expect miracles. Remember: The military’s official motto on uniforms is “One size fits no one.”



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