By TANIA KARAS
For the man who lives dangerously -- but still wants to look devil-may-care -- Colombian designer Miguel Caballero offers a polo shirt with a little something extra up its sleeve: It's bulletproof. The 4-pound shirt's antiballistic panels promise to shield the wearer from a range of weaponry, though a version designed to withstand an Uzi costs a bit more than the one made to fend off a 9mm (prices range from $3,000 to $4,000 a shirt). The company, which calls itself the "Armani of bulletproof clothing," says its clothes are proven to work. In fact, most of its employees have been shot at while wearing the garments -- it's part of the orientation process. Don't worry. A spokesperson assures us there have been no work-related casualties.
No doubt even those in the highest-risk professions appreciate casual Fridays, but experts say Caballero wearers are paying dearly for the sartorial flair: Other companies sell vests offering the same level of protection for less than a third of the price. Plus, we can't help but wonder, who wants to spend weekends kicking back in a 4-pound T-shirt? (Caballero says bodyguards, heads of state and other VIPs are its primary market.) Still, even though the company's website declares, "Yes, it's bulletproof," there is a fine distinction here. The National Institute of Justice, which rates body-armor products, actually approves it for protection against some firearms -- but not heavy-duty guns like rifles or AK-47s. A company general manager says, "Bullet-resistant is more accurate."