Better late than never. The Associate Press recently posted a story entitled “Does this gun make me look fat? Firearms spur fashion niche.”
Apparently the mainstream news media is picking up on the fact that women are the biggest growing segment of the firearm industry, and that more women in America than ever are carrying for self defense.
With the practice of carrying a concealed firearm come all the discomforts that go with it. We have reported extensively on what holster and clothing companies are doing to make it more attractive and more comfortable for women to carry on a daily basis.
Men who carry have the advantage that some kind of pants with a belt and a shirt with a jacket is ideal for concealed carry and can be worn in various configurations for a bevy of situations, from a three-piece suit to rugged outdoor gear. Things can be far more complicated for women.
Various established companies and start-ups have taken on the problem from a variety of approaches. There have been entire fashion shows devoted to conceal carry options for women integrated into items of clothing, as reported in “Victoria’s Other Secret.”
On the holster side, companies are producing models shaped and contoured specifically for women, which we reported here this spring, and even have invented entirely new carry methods to meet the needs of female shooters, whether it’s bra holsters or concealed-carry corsets, or simple purses designed to look like fashion accessories but fitted with special compartments for a pistol and magazines.
The AP story profiles Marilyn Smolenski, the founder of Nickel and Lace, a company that has catered to women who carry since 2012.
“I don’t want to dress in tactical gear and camo all the time. I love tactical clothing for the range. It’s comfortable. I don’t want to ruin my everyday clothing,” Smolenski said in the story. “But I don’t want to wear it to the grocery store.”
Smolenski owns one of the many small companies that are countering the common firearms industry marketing of products that follow the “shrink it and pink it” philosophy, meaning women’s gear is the same as the men’s stuff, just smaller and with splashes of color. Instead, companies like Nickel and Lace make products specifically designed for the contours of a woman’s body, and with the types of form-fitting clothing they often wear in social situations.
“Women need to know they can carry effectively,” said Carrie Lightfoot, founder of The Well Armed Woman, in the story . “I think the key is finding a way to carry it so you can be comfortable and move through your day without being poked, and having a big hunk of metal in your pants and not be able to sit at work.”
Regardless of being slightly behind the curve (and disregarding the slightly sexist headline), the AP story is fairly deep and covers the topic rather well for a broad audience. To read the whole piece, go here.