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Posted by Susan McReynolds on Nov 23rd 2021

It all started with a unisex tee. After sneaking away from booth duty at RSA 2019 (one of the largest cybersecurity technology trade shows in the nation), I stood in line at another vendor’s booth to receive my first ever, live heat-pressed security t-shirt. I was excited to commemorate my first ever attendance at an industry show, and for those of you reading who may not know, InfoSec t-shirts are a BIG DEAL amongst the cybersecurity crowd. It’s pretty much how people in the industry build their wardrobes :).

However, to my shock and disappointment, the only sizes left were 2XL men’s, which meant immediate banishment to the night shirt dresser drawer upon my return to Colorado. As I continued to walk the show floor, I noticed that other vendors who offered t-shirts as promotional giveaways all had one thing in common...UNISEX sizing! If a women’s option was available, it was what I call a “tiny tee”, skin tight in all the wrong places and not very forgiving – a hard pass. I mean, you can’t exactly wear that into the office, and it wouldn’t make me feel confident but instead self-conscious. Growing more frustrated, it was clear to me that women-friendly fits were an afterthought (especially at tech shows) or not even a thought at all. So I decided to do something about it.

Because of my disappointing experience at RSA 2019, for RSA 2020 I came up with the idea of a “Women in SecuriTee Swap'' to fight back against the “one size fits all” conference tee. At our tradeshow booth (I was working for CenturyLink at the time), RSA show attendees were offered the chance to swap out a unisex shirt they’d received at another booth for one made for and designed by women (me). The fit was stylish and flattering, and because I used to work in the custom mannequin business here in Colorado, I created an awesome display merchandising and showcasing the women's flattering design and fit that attendees could relate to - and they loved it. The resounding sentiment from both men and women alike - is what drove me to found SecuriTee Star in early 2021.

SecuriTee Star is an InfoSec apparel brand created to offer “fits to flatter all”. My designs aim to be fun, clever, and sometimes edgy, drawing inspiration from the many diverse areas of working in and around InfoSec. But most importantly, my mission is to create smart, fashion-forward, and flattering InfoSec-themed apparel that anyone can wear – with confidence. Because of my driving philosophy for achieving “fits to flatter all”, SecuriTee Star designs are available in women’s, men’s, girls’ and boys’ sizes. It was important for me to not exclude anyone, since I could attest to what it felt like to be an afterthought.

Working with a local screen printer and promotional company in Colorado, Tik Tok Ink, we researched, then ordered 40+ women’s shirt samples from the top blank apparel providers to narrow down the most flattering, on-trend styles for my initial collection. I wanted to ensure we could offer not only super flattering women’s t-shirts, but also cropped fleece hoodies, muscle tanks, etc. to appeal to women of all ages and tastes. I plan to continue fit-testing and rotating through different style options and fits as new SecuriTee Star designs are released. The same methodology also applied to fit testing the men’s option, which was narrowed down to feature an awesome, soft feeling premium tri-blend tee. And as a single parent of two young children, it was important for me to also include youth designs - featuring distinct girls’ and boys’ cuts -- to highlight how cybersecurity is fun, cool, and approachable. I’d love to play a part in igniting kids’ interest in tech and security fields at an early age, as they will be the next (much needed) generation of InfoSec professionals. A future career in cybersecurity should be seen as FUN (and sparkly)!

At the end of the day, my passion is creating an industry movement to shine a spotlight on the talented and brilliant ladies working in InfoSec and create designs that women actually want to wear. SecuriTee Star is the confirmation that women in security are no longer an afterthought, but are at the forefront of building an industry movement based on fits to flatter all. And we’re just getting started!

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