When you decide to carry a concealed gun, you also decide to make a lot of adjustments to your lifestyle, including your wardrobe. The whole concept of concealment requires most people to rethink certain elements of their wardrobe and their daily dress habits to carry their concealed firearm effectively.
Think about the different styles of dress you may be accustomed to wearing on a day to day basis and then try to determine how you will adjust to compensate for concealed carry. What changes will you have to make sure that you can effectively conceal your gun during your normal activities? What kind of holster will you carry and how will that affect your clothing choice?
Weather and season can also play a role in the changes you will need to make to your wardrobe. Winter weather can make carrying concealed easier. Bulky winter clothing is convenient for concealing your everyday carry gun. Summer, on the other hand, with hotter weather and less clothing, can be a challenge.
What you need is a comprehensive guide to concealed carry clothing with tips and tricks to help you make the alterations to your wardrobe and style habits to make carrying concealed easier while remaining stylish.
Start with the Basics
The most basic part of your wardrobe to consider when you are carrying concealed is your holster. The style and type of holster you chose will affect most of the other parts of your wardrobe. What will be your preferred carry holster? There are a variety of types, including:
- Outside the waistband (strong side or weak side)
- Inside the waistband (strong side or weak side)
- Appendix carry
- Shoulder holster
- Middle of the back
- Carry bag or purse
In this article, we won’t make any recommendations on the best holster or place to carry. You can refer to our blog for “best of” articles. However, whatever type and style of holster you decide to use will impact your clothing options and choices, so we will try to inform you as best as we can.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
The whole object of this exercise is to keep your firearm safe and out of sight. The last thing you want is for some good citizen to catch a glimpse of your concealed carry gun and make an alarmed call to 911 to report an armed terrorist at the local Walmart.
An inadvertent reach to a high shelf while wearing an untucked t-shirt is an easy way to flash your firearm. It is these kinds of innocent situations that can turn into a nightmare if the wrong person catches a glimpse of that Glock riding on your hip.
The goal is to carry that concealed firearm in such a way that only you are aware of its existence. Your objective is only to have your gun in plain sight when you need it to defend yourself or your family.
Types of Concealed Carry Clothing
Most of us spend a good portion of our day at work. Most businesses have specific requirements for acceptable dress in the workplace. Your employer may provide uniforms or have other rules and regulations about what you can and can’t wear in the workplace.
The demands of your work environment will have a big effect on how you conceal carry. If you routinely wear a business suit to work, your options may be much wider than if your boss expects you to wear a polo shirt and jeans with the shirt tucked neatly into your waistband.
Fortunately, the market has responded and now offers several viable wardrobe alternatives for those who conceal carry regularly. Before you make a radical change in your wardrobe or lifestyle, consider some of these options as additions to your clothing selections.
Concealed Carry Undershirts
If you normally wear an undershirt, these concealed carry undershirts may fit into your wardrobe with ease. If you aren’t in the habit of wearing an undershirt, you may want to consider it, as it can make concealed carry much easier.
These garments offer an alternative to a shoulder holster carry. These two in one specialty undershirts combine polyester and spandex into a blended fabric, which makes them fit snugly to the body. Most styles have a built-in holster pocket under each arm, making them ambidextrous. If you are a belt and suspenders kind of guy, you can carry your primary firearm and a backup, or drop an extra magazine in the offside pocket.
Concealed carry undershirts are available from different manufacturers and each has its spin on the design. They all make carrying concealed easy but with a few downsides. Most brands offer styles for men and women.
- Provides excellent concealment
- Little to no chance of an inadvertent display
- Some can be hot
- The compression fabric can be restrictive
- Access to your firearm can be a problem
- ConcealmentClothes Men’s V-Neck- Concealed Carry Holster Shirt
- Women Concealed Carry Clothing Tank Top Gun Holster Shirt
Concealed Carry Overshirts
One of the downsides to wearing a concealed carry undershirt is getting access to the gun when you need it. If you are wearing a polo shirt or t-shirt, this usually involves pulling the bottom of the shirt up to get your hand and arm underneath to reach the holster pocket.
If you are wearing a button-down shirt, you undo at least two buttons to slide your hand under your arm inside the shirt to gain access. Not an elegant nor easy solution. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
One such alternative is to add a few concealed carry overshirts to your wardrobe. These specially designed shirts come in a variety of styles and all have easy access features that allow you to get inside to your firearm easier and quicker than if you are wearing a traditional shirt.
Many of these garments come with a little extra room around the hips and under the arms to help hide those annoying bulges that can occur when you are carrying your firearm.
- Allow faster and easier access to your concealed carry gun
- Extra room in the shirt where bulges tend to occur
- Extra-long shirt tails to keep inadvertent flashing of your firearm
- Leave a lot to be said for style
- Hard to find in a button-down dress shirt style
Concealed Carry Pants
Pants usually don’t pose as much of a problem as shirts. If you want to carry inside the waistband, it can be as easy as adding a waist size to the pants you normally wear. If that isn’t an option, there are pants designed especially for concealed carry.
Some styles of concealed carry pants are made with extra room at the waist but sized the same in all the other measurements. A few companies offer concealed carry pants with built-in holsters eliminating the need to have a separate holster.
And you don’t have to worry about style. Many of these concealed carry pants are as stylish and attractive as any pants you can buy. Even women can get into the act. Some manufacturers even offer yoga pants with a built-in holster.
- Built with reinforcements at critical places where extra wear occurs
- Many styles aren’t distinguishable from standard casual pants
- Dressier styles are available that are wearable with a sport coat for more formal attire
- Extra reinforcement often makes the pants look like a uniform
- Dress style pants may be harder to find
- Sizing on some concealed carry pants doesn’t match standard pant sizing
Concealed Carry Jackets and Vests
When temperatures cool, carrying concealed becomes a bit easier. Bulkier clothing and jackets make concealing your gun almost automatic. However, there is still the risk of an inadvertent flash even with the bulkiest jackets.
A better option could be to change over to a jacket or vest designed specifically for concealed carry. No matter the weight of the jacket or vest, the material, or the style you prefer, there is a fit for you.
Just remember that the lightweight the jacket, the more noticeable the bulge may be. You also want to make sure that the jacket you choose keeps your concealed carry gun secure and safe. Holster pockets should have a secure closure and there should be some method of securing at least a pocket holster for your gun. Carrying an unholstered gun, even in a specially constructed pocket is never a good idea.
- Eliminates the need to carry a holster on your belt or under your arm
- Quick and easy access to your firearm
- Makes concealing your gun easier
- Not suitable when the weather gets warm
- May not work with larger pistols
- If you must remove your jacket and leave it unattended, you may have a problem
For the Women
As more and more women opt to carry concealed, the options they have for concealing a gun increase. Designers are constantly bringing new and innovative concealed carry clothing items to market.
Purses designed for concealed carry, designer style clothing, and even special holsters designed for wearing under a bra are now available. Spandex waistband holsters are also gaining popularity. Even yoga pants are now available with built-in holsters.
- Bra Holster: The Marilyn
- ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry
- Daltech Force Women’s Lace Sports Bra Holster
Concealing it in Other Ways
Thinking outside the box is always a good idea. You don’t necessarily need to carry your concealed weapon on your person. Women usually have some bag or purse that can easily become a concealed carry item. Many men carry briefcases or satchels for work that make perfect concealed carry articles.
Backpacks and waist packs are also good candidates for concealed carry. Many manufacturers are making entire lines of accessory bags and packs designed for the concealed carry market. A simple search on the internet will return hundreds of different ideas.
- Bags and packs are easy to re-purpose for concealed carry
- Special designed purses and backpacks add additional functionality to an everyday item
- Backpacks, purses and briefcases are innocuous making them less suspicious
- The added weight in a purse or bag may be a hindrance
- Bags, backpacks and purses are more subject to theft and snatching
- The gun must be properly stored in the purse or bag to avoid an accidental discharge
- Roma Leathers Concealed Carry Purse
- Condor Elite Tactical Metropolis Briefcase
- Augus Leather Messenger Bag for Men
Concealed Carry Belts
Your choice is to go with a traditional waistband holster, either inside or outside carry, an important consideration is your belt. The standard dress belts most men wear with casual or dress pants don’t make the cut when you add the weight of a concealed carry gun and holster to the mix.
A good concealed carry belt will be a little heavier leather than the run of the mill dress belt. It should be at least 1-¾” wide and have a secure positive buckle that won’t slip. Lastly, you want the belt to look good and feel good.
You should be able to find a concealed carry belt that meets your needs without sacrificing style. Many manufacturers offer concealed carry belts that are as stylish as any you might find in a high-class men’s clothier.
- Provides the right support and security for you concealed gun
- Is more comfortable and stable when wearing your holstered gun
- Wider belt size makes J-clips more secure on the belt.
- Wider belts may not fit some dress clothing belt loops
- The extra bulk around your waist can get uncomfortable
- Buckles may not be as stylish as some people would like
Stay Stylish and Safe
No matter your preference for how you carry your concealed gun, there is no need for you to sacrifice personal style and taste. With a little diligence, imagination, and thought, you can adapt your wardrobe to allow you to carry concealed safely and comfortably.
I hope that this comprehensive guide to concealed carry clothing helps you in keeping your sense of style. The goal is to give you the incentive and the knowledge to make the wardrobe transitions needed to retain your wardrobe personality.