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10 Things I’ve Learned About Dressing For Concealed Carry

10 Things I’ve Learned About Dressing For Concealed Carry

When I started carrying a firearm seven years ago, the internet offered little guidance tailored for women. Since none of my friends carried firearms, I had to navigate dressing for concealed carry on my own, learning through trial and error. Today, the dialogue among women about concealed carry has flourished, creating a supportive community. With our different life experiences and perspectives, learning from one another is valuable.

From the start, my goal has been to empower and inspire women by sharing my journey. Take it from me; you have every right to safeguard yourself, and if I can do it, you can absolutely do it as well.

Below, I've outlined some hints and strategies that have been helpful for me. Feel free to explore!

Pre-plan Your Outfits

A capsule wardrobe can save you time and reduce decision fatigue when it comes to concealed carry. You can refresh your wardrobe each season, and by styling your outfits in advance, you'll stay fashionable and minimize daily outfit planning. Having a handful of “go-to” outfits prepared ensures you don't have to leave the house without your gun, even when in a rush.

Clothes, jewerly and a handgun with a Vedder Holsters laying on top of a bed

Consider Quick Access

The outfit/holster combination that hides your gun best doesn't always equate to the fastest draw. For example, when I first started, I chose a compressive bellyband and deep concealment, which put the grip under the waistline of my pants. It was easy to conceal my pistol this way, but as I gained experience, I learned that I could draw my gun a lot quicker in a Kydex holster that placed the grip above my belt.

Pro tip: Experiential knowledge will mean more to you than reading an article, so don't take my word for it – test your performance by attending a firearms course that requires you to draw from concealment!

Holster Adjustments

Once again, the pesky issue of printing arises! But did you know you can tweak your Kydex holster for better concealment? Adding a holster claw helps tuck the bottom of the grip closer to your body. Similarly, when the whole grip tilts away from your body, a wedge attached to the bottom of your holster will fix the angle and make it fit more snugly to your torso.

Holster Claw attack to a Vedder Holster next to a Vedder Holster Wedge

Strategic Styling

When you determine which holster is in the “sweet spot” of concealment and quick access, style as many outfits around that holster as you can for your capsule wardrobe. You may wear clothes that require other types of holsters (thigh holster, purse, etc.), but most of your closet will support your quickest draw.

Concealed Carry Clothes

No matter how self-assured you are, a gun poking out of your clothes can make any woman feel self-conscious. My struggle with this issue inspired me to create the Concealment Camisole, a top designed with special shields to prevent printing when you carry a holster on your body. I feel so much better when wearing this camisole because I don't worry about people seeing my firearm.

Woman checking a top for her concealed carry options

What to Look for in a Pair of Jeans

I've carried a gun with a wide variety of jean styles, and I've discovered that cotton blends that include spandex, elastane, or lycra are far more comfortable than 100% cotton. These “stretchy jeans” provide enough room to add a holster without having to size up. You can also find a pair with a built-in gun pocket at Dark Alley Denim. Their two rear firearm pockets make concealed carry simple for any body type.

Blue Jeans and handgun

Not all Belts are Created Equal

After years of struggling with fashion belts that stretch out or allow the gun to flop around, I've finally realized that I need a more structured option like one of the many gun belts offered by Vedder Holsters. A belt designed specifically for concealed carry is rigid enough to keep the pistol in place and supportive enough for the weight of the gun.

A Purse Makes a Great Backup Holster

Sometimes you get into a pinch and need to temporarily disarm, whether in a public restroom, a dressing room, or while running into the post office. A good concealed carry purse provides a dedicated pocket to safely store your gun, keeping all other items away from the trigger. This trick has come in handy so often that I prefer all my purses include built-in holsters.

Tank Top Tactics

An extra clothing layer has multiple advantages. For example, protect your skin from chaffing by tucking a tank top in between your skin and the gun. Alternatively, if the outline of your gun is slightly showing through your shirt, use a compressive tank to hold it closer to your body.

The Power of Posture

When carrying over my appendix as a beginner, I tended to hunch over to protect and hide my gun. But this looked unnatural, made me look less confident, and gave the appearance that I was hiding something.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an anterior pelvic tilt angles the grip away from your body, making it more difficult to conceal. Tucking your tailbone under and standing straight with your shoulders back will help you feel more confident and help draw attention away from the firearm.

Bonus Tip

Before walking out the door, glance in the mirror to check your outfit and learn if there are certain movements you should avoid. Observe yourself when putting on a coat. Does your shirt rise? Make some significant movements or do a little dance, whatever you need, to make sure your gun won't become visible throughout the day.

Natalie Strong

Natalie, an Ohio resident, is the founder of “Elegant and Armed,” a blog that blends fashion and women's safety, inspiring others to embrace concealed carry with style. Natalie is a certified NRA pistol trainer, a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), and a writer for USCCA's Concealed Carry Magazine. Through her work, she empowers women to feel confident and capable of protecting themselves.

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