The Military Girl’s Search for a Simple Black Purse

I’ve worn an Army uniform since 2005 and can honestly say that it took 8 years and a job at the Pentagon for me to buckle down and find a simple black purse that I could carry in uniform.  Military regulations are very strict when it comes to carrying bags while in uniform, and I refrained from ever carrying anything other that a book bag until I finally had to.  Not that I don’t love purses, it’s just really hard to find one that complies with regulations that is actually cute!  After a bit of research I finally settled on a simple black Longchamps bag that was stylish enough for carrying when I wore “normal” clothes, but it was also suitable for carrying documents (and lip gloss) around the Pentagon and to meetings on Capitol Hill. (Although now that I’m referencing the regulation again I’m not entirely sure that this was authorized either!  Obviously, the regulation is confusing.)  Enter WILCO Life, an online boutique and pop-up shop that features minimalist styles that you can wear in uniform, that includes today’s trends that you’ll want to wear in civilian clothes too!

Me at the Medal of Honor Ceremony at the White House in 2014.  See blog post here.

This post isn’t sponsored at all, I just think that this is an amazing resource for military women, military spouses, and anyone who likes a more minimalist look.  Amy, an Alaska National Guard officer and the founder of WILCO Life, saw the need, so she created a shop that did all the hard work so that female service members like myself could quickly and easily select military compliant (yet cute) bags to carry in uniform.  She approached me about sharing her company on my blog and I happily agreed to do it for free because I like to support small businesses, Veterans, and I also thought it was such a neat idea!  WILCO means “Will Comply” in military lingo, and she carries name brand bags of all shapes and sizes that comply with military regulations.  My favorite is this BAGGU Basic Tote and this MightyPurse clutch that charges your phone while you’re on the go!  In addition to bags to carry in uniform, she also curated a beautiful collection of subtle “military pride” pieces (like jewelry and scarves) that are great for spouses (or military women not in uniform) to wear to promotion ceremonies, retirements, and formal events. 

WILCO Life is offering 20% off thru December 12th, so if you’re in the military yourself, or if you simply like minimalist black bags, you’ve got to check it out!  Use code HOLIDAY2016 when you check out to get the discount 🙂  And be sure to follow WILCO Life on Instagram and Facebook too because Amy holds giveaways and promotions from time to time!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. December 8, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    This is awesome! My aunt gifted me a small shoulder bag in all-black leather from Coach when I was a cadet. I still have it because it was within regulation and I wore it for years… probably the longest I've ever kept a handbag in my life.

    She should also link to stud earrings within regulation and more! 🙂

  2. December 14, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    Love this (and all of your military posts)! AR 670-1 is so confusing… would love to see more posts about compliance (like how to keep your hair in regs without looking highly flammable). Your blog is such a treat to read, thank you for the diverse content! It is one of my favorites.

  3. December 14, 2016 / 3:49 pm

    I absolutely agree! I mentioned the stud earrings idea to her and I think she's working on it 🙂

  4. December 14, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    Thanks Anna! That makes me so happy to hear! Your flammable comment made me laugh! As for hair, I have such fine and thin hair that I put my hair up wet and only have to use one hair tie. Sometimes I'll use a little hairspray along my part, but have never really had an issue because I have long hair and don't have bangs. When we used to have to wear our hair in a bun while in PTs I'd wear a high bun and add an extra hair tie. I know my friend Amy (@amylouhawthorne on instagram) does her hair on monday and doesn't wash or take it down until Friday evening…and her hair always looks good in her uniform pics…I think I'd end up a massive greaseball if I tried that though!

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