National Guardsman creates fashion-forward accessories for on and off duty

Kaylah Jackson
June 03, 2019 - 5:08 pm

Photo by Ash Adams

AR670-1. Army veterans know this as The Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. From the length of your fingernails to authorized glasses, this regulation narrows down how to wear your uniform to the last detail. But for some military women, navigating which purse you can carry while wearing camouflage can be a hassle.

Enter Amy Slinker.

She joined the Army National Guard in 1997, and like many, struggled balancing form and fashion when trying to find a way to carry all her things while in uniform.

“Whether it was during times where I was doing military full-time and I’m in uniform all day even to when I was just back at home and I would switch back and forth to National Guard on the weekend ... I was constantly switching bags,” said Slinker. “I was constantly on the lookout at stores to try to find purses that would meet regulations because every purse, backpack, every messenger bag, had a logo or white stitching."

Photo by Ash Adams

Feeling compelled to solve the problem she started researching — to no avail. Nothing fit both the regulation and worked well outside of the uniform.

“It started with a blog… I wanted to create the bags myself but my friend suggested I start with wholesale and instead, curate the items.”

What resulted was an online store called WILCO SUPPLY.  Playing off Army terminology, Slinker created an online one-stop-shop for military-specific items. From purses to weekender bags, to phone charging wallets.

Currently, Slinker operates an online store and showroom in Alaska, where she lives with her husband and young daughter. The store also features products from other veteran-owned businesses. 

"We do the best we can to offer items that will work for military service members that they can carry in uniform and that is chic and stylish enough that they can wear them outside of uniform,” said Slinker.

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Since she’s coming from an Army point of view, using AR670-1 was the foundation for her business so Slinker encourages all service members to refer to their own branch regulations and of course, the chain of command. But, as the business grows and so does her clientele, Slinker looks forward to expanding WILCO to where they continue to support other veteran entrepreneures and create accessories in-house. In her words, she would like WILCO to be “The Amazon search engine for military regulations.”

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