Style & Beauty

'Xena' Body Armor The Inspiration For New U.S. Military Uniforms For Women


We'll 'fess up to modeling our outfits after Carrie Bradshaw or Blair Waldorf, but the U.S. military has a slightly more serious (okay, a LOT more serious) reason to mimic an ensemble from the small screen.

Anna Mulrine of the Christian Science Monitor reports that the military is developing body armor for women modeled after the tough gear seen on "Xena: Warrior Princess," which will fit women's curves better and thus protect them better on the battlefield.

Focus groups have been investigating the challenges that women troops face with their armor for several years, ever since some soldiers began complaining of chafing and injuries. Standard body armor is created in 11 different sizes to fit men's bodies, and the ill-fitting gear not only made female soldiers feel uncomfortable, it hindered their effectiveness:

“It rubbed on the hips, and the vests were too long in the front, so that when you had female soldiers climbing stairs or climbing up a hill or a tree, or sitting for a long time in a vehicle, that would create pressure points that in some instances could impact blood flow and cause some discomfort,” says Lt. Col. Frank Lozano, who helps develop female body armor.

The study found that the poor fit of the body armor on female soldiers “made it difficult for [them] to properly aim their weapons and enter or exit vehicles.”

Eventually, new body armor will be tested in eight different sizes complete with a number of changes designed for the female body, including narrower shoulders and “bra-shaped darting” in the chest, Mulrine reports. One of the ideas? Body plates that spread out the impact of a bullet, a la those worn by Lucy Lawless on the '90s show "Xena: Warrior Princess."

In a less heavy-duty but also significant move in a very different industry, Google also started issuing a company event t-shirts in women's sizes after employees complained.

To get an idea of the inspiration, check out some pics of Lucy Lawless' "Xena" gear below. (Somehow we doubt that fringed bikini top would make effective combat gear.)


Xena's Tough Gear

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