I can't recall the woman that had the history book, but she was at both Pat Morehead's 80/80, and at the SOS event a few weeks ago. Apparently a guy 'gripped' a woman on a practice jump, and as a result, the women refused to participate in the jumps. I hope I've recalled that correctly.
What are the safety implications of this? is it just a matter of making sure to not wear too loose of clothing and then you're good?
It's pretty simple to think this through. Loose clothing doesn't have to be a safety problem unless it runs the risk of falling off, entangling with your gear or covering your handles, right?
If you're jumping alone, that's about it, but a lot of people think that solos get boring after a while.
If you're jumping / free flying with others and your clothing meets the basic personal safety standards above, can you also stay on level with the people you're jumping with reliably and track well?
Will the clothing you're wearing provide any protection if you have a nasty landing?
Agreed completely. One thing I never thought of on no-jumpsuit jumps is that your t-shirt could easily flip up and cover up your handles. Tuck your shirt in tight.
Also good points on group jumps. If you're really talking about doing RW and not just belly solos, you're going to have a hell of a time with fall rate and moving quickly. You're also going to track a lot slower than other folks. When I do a group no-jumpsuit jump, we give an extra 500-1000 feet between breakoff and pull altitude because tracking will suffer.
All things to think about, but if you do it correctly, it shouldn't be a problem safety-wise.
Anyway I wouldn't go suitless doing RW. But I'm more interesting in freeflying anyway
Higher airspeeds makes loose clothing even more of a problem. Any sort of dock or linked exit can also be a problem with loose/street clothing. Grabbing a jumpsuit sleeve will usually not be a problem. Grabbing the sleeve of a long sleeve T or sweatshirt can pull it out from being untucked, or at worse, pull it right off your arm and pin your arm inside the sweatshirt.
Street clothes were not made for freefall, jumpsuits were.