Friday, July 30, 2010

what to wear

When you're a girl type person who wants to start carrying concealed on body, you're going to have to spend a bit of time thinking about your wardrobe. Try different poses in different outfits: reach forward, are you printing? Lift up your arms, is the muzzle revealed? Sit down then stand up again, how much do you have to readjust your clothing? There will be a lot experimentation with the things you already own and probably quite a few costume changes until you figure out what works.

I don't use the word "costume" lightly, either. You may have to purchase and wear things that aren't exactly your preferred style.

In my limited gunchick experience, I've learned that beyond the standard jeans and baggy tshirt, there are ways you can look cute and carry at the same time.*

1. A good stiff gun belt. (Or two. One black, one brown to match your shoes) Men's dress belts in a smaller waist size are a good choice if you would like something a bit more stylish.

2. Belt loops are essential, look for them when shopping. I've been known to carry even while wearing a denim skirt.

3. A selection of a-line, empire waist, and loose button up shirts. Dark colors and/or patterns are best to obscure any potential printing. Tank tops are handy too, to wear between your delicate skin and the grip of your pistol.

4. Shoes can be sensible and fashionable at the same time. There are plenty of options, especially when you shop online. (whenever I see a girl teetering down the street in her high heels I think, "Victim shoes.")

5. Accessories can be a distraction - who would ever expect that the lady with the dangly earrings and the purple glitter nailpolish is packing heat? Those scary guns are totally a guy thing anyway, right? This is one of the big advantages of being a chick who carries.

*Disclaimer: this is fashion advice from a nerdy librarian who still mostly wears goofy tshirts and Doc Martens, has been known to put her hair up in a scrunchie, frequently paints her fingernails blue, and still thinks that a Dr. Pepper flavored lipsmacker is an essential beauty item. Take it for what it's worth.


CircuitGizmo said...

"Accessories can be a distraction - who would ever expect that the lady with the dangly earrings and the purple glitter nailpolish is packing heat? Those scary guns are totally a guy thing anyway, right? This is one of the big advantages of being a chick who carries."

Of all of the advice I've read about concealed carry clothing, this one is new. Good thinking. (Not that I wear earrings...)

Eyehaightewe Gofuqurcelph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ed Rasimus said...

Purses, you've got purses!

You can also address the issue from the other side, rather than what to cover the gun, what gun fits under the cover. Lots of nice choices in the small 9mm like Kahr, Kel-Tec, the new Taurus, Walther, Sig that aren't mouse guns but don't way you down like the classics.

The Packetman said...

Perhaps you should get Kathy Jackson to come on BB & Guns to discuss this .....

Mike W. said...

Hilariously offensive t-shirts (of the kind fit for GBC chat) would probably work as a distraction too.

A shirt that had "cock" "balls" plastered on the front would be distracting.

But then that's not exactly the kind of distraction you were recommending...

Kirk A said...

I love my down vests during cooler weather.

Nancy R. said...

Breda ... I've got a 1950's vintage swing coat pattern in that I want to try in a heavy linen for summer. (Now that it's almost over.) Thanks for the reminder. I think the open chambray shirt screams "Shoot me first" as loud as the belly bag. But that's just me.

ZerCool said...

On the topic of belts: if you want to get a men's dress belt, by all means, do so - but be prepared to spend a chunk for a good one. The $14.99 1" dress belts at Sears or Bonton are pretty much junk and WAY too floppy to hold up anything heavier than an LCP.

Joseph said...

How about the classic garter thigh holster and a short skirt? It's a great look and accessible as all get-out!

Lissa said...

Ed, I'm seriously against purse carry, for the simple reason that purse-snatch-ery would lose you both your wallet and your gun. Also, it's too easy to put it down "for just a second" and have a greenhorn get hold of it.

Now, waist pouches -- ala Fiona in Burn Notice -- are attached to you at all times, can be worn over dresses, shorts and jeans, and don't need to get unbuckled when you hit the porta potty. I highly recommend it.

instinct said...

OK, going to pimp for my friend Michael now that you have mentioned belts and holsters.

If you ladies need a good belt or holster to carry your preferred bang stick go over to

Michael can custom make you belts, holsters and even purses so you can be stylish and well armed, all at the same time.

Ed Rasimus said...

Profitable discussion here for the gun-chicks and the guys as well. Lots of the top end holster makers have some excellent equipment for the women. Galco, Kramer and Mitch Rosen offer some neat choices.

I never really got sold on the "good gun belt" argument and repeatedly tried belts I picked up at the menswear department or the Western wear store which seemed as stiff as you could expect. Then I popped for a Mitch Rosen belt and became a believer. It DOES make a huge difference and it doesn't really scream "gun-belt" either.

Breda said...

Zercool, I meant a men's dress gun belt.

Glenn B said...

Your advice about a stiff gun belt is good, as is the advice about a mens belt. I don't wear a gun belt though, I settle for a good quality men's leather belt, one that is on the sporty or casual side usually. I find them stronger, in most cases, than dress belts. I can get some fairly nice ones for under $25 and some as low as about $15 at Sears or other stores that sell regular belts. I try to get belts that are all one piece of leather and have the buckle secured by stictching as opposed to a snap. Make sure to avoid composite leather belts (basically shredded leather glued together to form a belt), braided belts, cloth belts. Try to get a belt that is at least 1.5 inches wide for stability of the holster, and pay attention to those belt loops to make sure the belt will fit them (not too small nor to big).

As you pointed out, loose fitting tops are great for concealment, so are light jackets. Another option is wearing a prety blouse tucked in (well for you not for me, I wear a t-shirt) and wearing a button down shirt over that, leaving the buttons unbuttoned like a jacket but much better for hotter weather.

Doing the check of yourself to see how well your pistol is concealed, that you mentioned, is a very good idea.

As for the accessories, it may be true that some will never think a gal with a skirt, blue or sparkling purple nail polish and dangly earings may be armed but remember that guys are, shall I say - pigs, and they oggle women. So they may notice that odd bump on the hip.

If you go with a fanny or belly pack type holster make sure it is made to hold a pistol. Ones made to hold pistols usually allow for quick and easy draw.

All the best,
Glenn B

PS: listened to your show last week, the recorded version, it was very good - you and Bonnie can be proud. Will listen to your latest one this weekend. Hopefully I will get to hear a live one soon.

All the best,
Glenn B

Mike W. said...

Dr. Pepper lipsmaker? I'm shocked you're not using something bacon flavored!

John B said...

My late love was big on the Dr Pepper lipsmacker. I carry and use one in her sweet memory.

I witness at least one purse snatching a week in our micro-metropolis. I feel I should carry rating numbers like an olympic judge. I always was like Major Smith in Where Eagles Dare. Gun on person. Not in purse.

I carry, my biggest distraction is my T Shirt Hell T Shirts.

pax said...

I avoid men's belts stiff enough to carry a gun because they're radically uncomfortable with curves. Strongly recommend that women with curves look for contour-cut belts, which are stiff enough to support the firearm but designed to conform comfortably to feminine curves.

Galco makes some nice ones that taper in the front; the belt buckle becomes standard-sized at 1 or 1 1/4 inches, while the belt remains rigid enough for comfortable gun support at 1 1/2 inches. The contour cut allows the belt to "flare" a little at the bottom edge, so it accomodates the hip curve.

You can get contour-cut belts from several custom holster shops (including Ted Blocker Holsters), but a lot of guys will try to talk you out of it because creating the contour cut belt uses more leather and takes more work. They'll tell you it's "not necessary" because they don't want to do the work. But if you've got curves, it's the only way to go. The difference in comfort has to be felt to be believed!

Mike W. said...

Yep, Comp-Tac sells the Galco contour cut belts IIRC.

Midwest Chick said...

Thanks for posting about this. I mentioned over at JayG's that it's tough finding a good way to carry as a female, hence the fallback on the purse-carry, which several people have mentioned is less-than-optimal.

Hil said...

Mike W: I do actually have some bacon-flavored lipgloss that I picked up at the SHOT Show last year. Sad to say, it's disappointing. Smearing bacon grease on your lips SOUNDS awesome in theory, but in reality it's just plain weird.

You guys are making me rethink my purse-carry. Thanks for the food for thought!