The New York Times featured an article yesterday about how outdoor clothing retailer Woolrich has begun selling a pair of $65 chinos specifically designed to make it easier to hide a handgun on your person, as part of the company's Elite Concealed Carry line.
The weird thing is not that Woolrich is selling these arm-concealing pants—we all love guns; we all love secrets—but that, according to the Times, the company is describing said pants as "elegant."
They have a stretchable waistband.
Other features of the pants include both a traditional front pocket AND a second pocket behind that pocket, for holding a weapon. The Times notes that the back pockets are "designed to help hide accessories," but does not give specifics as to what this means.
From this we can infer that they are probably just normal pockets which, when you think about it, are perfectly good for hiding and storing small items.
The so-called "covert fashion" corner of apparel is apparently growing pretty quickly, along with the number of individuals bearing concealed carry permits. The Times reports that that figure has jumped from five to seven million since 2008, thanks, in large part, to a courageous campaign by gun rights activists:
37 states now have "shall issue" statutes that require them to provide concealed-carry permits if an applicant meets legal requirements, like not being a felon. (A handful of other states allow the concealed carrying of handguns without a permit). By contrast, in 1984 only 8 states had such statutes, and 15 did not allow handgun carrying at all.
In fact, the only state that currently forbids carrying a handgun in any form (either open or concealed) is Illinois. But, don't worry; legislators are reportedly considering making a change.
Based on the article, it sounds like the most common elements of all these gun-friendly garments are:
1. an abundance of Velcro
2. as indicated above, pockets upon pockets upon pockets
But Woolrich is really taking things to the next level of elegance, by bringing the driving range to the shooting range.
A spokesman for the company shared this insane scenario regarding the impact of a tasteful button-down and chinos on a bad guy's psyche:
"When someone walks down the street in a button-down and khakis, the bad guy gets a glimmer of fear, wondering: are they packing or not?"
Come on. At the most, the bad guy is thinking "…Narc?"
Those who worry the clothiers might be catering to trigger-happy vigilantes (in addition to the perfectly stable adults who opt to carry a gun and then do so responsibly), will be little mollified by the company's description of its "Elite Discreet Carry Twill jacket," which features, in addition to those famous pockets, "a channel cut through the back that the company says can be used to store plastic handcuffs."
Perfect for kidnapping.
As you might expect, not everyone is completely taken with Woolrich's elite discrete design aesthetic.
One sexagenarian who used to work at Nordstrom and now is a salesman at a gun store in Bellevue, Washington, stated the obvious:
"They don't shout ‘gun,' they shout ‘average guy in the street."
He added that customers "…should dress for the gun. Not for the fashion."
Gun dictates all.