It’s not often I start a review out by saying I had no idea a company existed. Most of the time, I’m the one requesting gear to try. In the case of SCOTTeVEST a mysterious email in my inbox urging me to check out their products led me to the Annie–a concealment jacket for women.
Now, the Annie is not just your average, run-of-the-mill outer layer. It’s so much more. From a company who promises, “more, and smarter pockets,” the Annie takes even outerwear and turns it to 11.
Pocket, pockets everywhere
Anyone can sew a bunch of rectangles into a coat, but to do it intelligently and with purpose takes some talent. SCOTTeVEST shows talent in spades.
Big pockets, small pockets, wide pockets, tall pockets: if you are a pocket girl like me you’ll fall in love with all the places you can stow stuff in this jacket. From taller, wider pockets for iPads to tiny pockets for change, it feels as if there’s an infinite amount of space. In fact, it would take quite the lengthy review to hit up all the pockets this jacket has to offer so I’ve rounded up the highlights.
On the outer layer, two large pockets sit at waist level. These can easily fit an iPad or tablet. On the chest lie two more pockets. These are lined with velcro so any velcro mag carriers or holsters can work within the jacket. Crossbreed makes a line of velcro-backed Kydex holsters for their Modular Belly Band that work extremely well inside the pocket of the Annie jacket. Too cheap to spring for a new holster? With some DIY velcro and a little work, just about any holster can be transformed to work with the Annie’s velcro.
Along the right side, on the border of the inner lining, sits the glasses pocket. Up until recently, I rarely used it. I’ve always been one to pop my sunglasses on top of my head and go; however a recent eye exam changed that. I now find myself switching between my clear lenses and sunglasses. The pocket I rarely gave thought to has now become invaluable. I don’t have to bring a bulky, separate case for my lenses. They easily slip into the glasses compartment, which also has an attached microfiber cloth for cleaning. That cloth is also handy for budding photographers who need a camera lens cleaner on the go.
A pen pocket sits beneath the glasses area. As someone who always has pen and paper close by (but always manages to lose said pen), a nifty place to tuck a writing utensil proves useful. A medium-sized pocket rounds out the right side. It’s perfect for a smaller point-and-click camera.
While I don’t prescribe to the notion of RFID blocking, the Annie accommodates those who do. Resting on the bottom left side of the jacket is a medium sized, RFID blocking pocket. Marked by a red zipper, it can easily hold a good-sized wallet. The real con to this pocket, if any, is the zipper. I wasn’t a fan of the bright red, simply because when walking around with an open coat, it draws attention. The obvious fix to this is to keep it zipped, even just partially, to preclude nosy bystanders from glimpsing a look.
There are a couple of pockets above the wallet area, but the real winner on the left of the coat is the cellphone compartment. Large enough to fit my giant iPhone 6s Plus, the area has a clear, plastic cover and side zipper. The plastic keeps the phone safely tucked inside but gives users the ability to manipulate the screen without removing it every time. Touch ID would not work through the plastic but I was still able to input my lock screen password to access my home screen and apps.
This pocket was, by far, my favorite and the most intelligently designed. It’s in the perfect place, on the chest of the jacket for easy access. I also loved that I didn’t have to remove my phone to text or make phone calls. This pocket is especially useful while on hikes, where I didn’t want to muddy-up my iPhone, or in the city, where my concern was preventing theft.
As the sprinkle on the metaphorical cupcake, nestled into the very back panel, is a secret documents pocket. If you’ve ever fancied yourself a spy, this is where you’d keep those government papers. The pocket is roomy and can fit a manila envelope stuffed with whatever you seek to protect from prying eyes. In my case, I toted my kids’ medical records to their doctor’s office. A little less spy-like but still functional when you don’t want a giant tote bag on your shoulder.
Purse challenge accepted
Remember when I said I loved pockets. This love of all things organizational carries over to purses. I love big purses with pockets. For years, as every other mom lamented toting a large diaper bag, I reveled in it.
As I gazed at the Annie and it’s glorious compartments, I had the compelling need to fill them. What better way to test the functionality and organizational potential than by taking what I usually carry on my shoulder and stuffing it in the coat?
For reference, I keep my purse filled to capacity. A general laundry list of its contents is as follows: wallet, keys, cellphone, chapstick, small first aid kit, iPad, notepad and two pens, voice recorder, a few toy cars, pack of Kleenex, snack bars, Tylenol and a pack of gum.
As I began filling the pockets, I was careful to balance the weight. If I added an iPad to one side, I loaded the other side with equal amounts of items. As I transferred the last bit from my bag to the coat, I still had plenty of space to spare.
Even further, it wasn’t that uncomfortable to wear. The items, dispersed across my body, gave my shoulders and back a break. After a whole day of toting my bag on my body, I felt less sore.
The only downside to this approach was that I frequently forgot where I put things. Quick access was non-existent as I ransacked every pocket trying to remember where I put my chapstick. When I packed my purse contents up, I tried to organize them using the handy visual guide stitched inside the Annie; but for some things, I was left to just find a space.
Is that a gun in your pocket?
SCOTTeVEST could have taken the jacket, loaded it with pockets, and called it a day but they took their design one step further. Factoring in concealed carry, the jacket has two side zips that allow the wearer to easily access a concealed gun.
In the event I’m feeling a little uncomfortable walking through a dark parking lot, I can pull the zipper up, giving me unadulterated access to my holstered Springfield.
Smaller pockets along the bottom inside flaps of the coat are also perfect for small weights or coins to help navigate drawing while wearing. The simple addition of a few extra pennies allowed me to force the jacket out of my drawing range easier, giving it a more predictable path. Ultimately, this equated to one less worry on the draw.
The sleek lines and absence of strings and cords make it an ideal cover garment for women who pack heat but do so in a less obvious way.
While most concealed clothing is gimmicky and impractical, the folks at SCOTTeVEST knocked it out of the park with the Annie. Meshing comfort, function and fashion the Annie Jacket is one of my must haves for fall and winter concealed carry. Retailing for $250, it’s not cheap but it’s worth every penny.