The Importance of Choosing the Right CCW Clothing

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The best concealment clothing is natural cotton, linen, silk, or wool. These materials have structure and thickness that help them not hug the hard lines of your firearm.

Look for mid-rise pants with a waistband between the hips and navel. This pant rise pairs seamlessly with most shirt styles and is the most comfortable to carry.

Tie-Front/Knot-Front Shirts

Many CCW clothing can carry weapons swiftly thanks to holsters made for inside-the-waistband or belt-line concealment. However, what you wear is just as significant.

Tactical or military-style garments scream “armed,” while they might help you keep your gun hidden, they’re unsuitable for most settings. Likewise, a safari or photographer’s vest might be ideal for keeping your firearm concealed outdoors, but you’ll probably look too much like a soldier at a cocktail party.

Fortunately, plenty of non-tactical cover garments are great for carrying a firearm. A simple tie-front shirt can hide a small pistol or magazine without making you look suspicious. For added versatility, find a lightweight top in a flattering leopard or marble print that can be styled with your favorite jeans and 9-5 office attire. Or try a mesh or satin version that’s ideal for layering over strapless cocktail dresses and strappy stiletto heels for an elevated look for a birthday brunch or club date.

French Tuck Shirts

A man can hide a large handgun easily in his pants with a French tuck, but it requires a slimmer pair of bottoms and a shirt that fits well. Tight T-shirts and blouses could be a better choice for the French tuck, as are voluminous skirts or women’s shorts.

A tight, billowy, loose shirt in the back can work well with skinny jeans and a belt. A textured fabric can also be better at concealing a firearm, especially thick linen or cotton.

The fabrics’ thinness should also be considered, as some can show a darker outline of a gun. Men who need to carry concealed outdoors in the winter should wear a suit jacket that can hide either inside-the-waistband or belt-carry, trousers tailored for such use, and shirts that are slim enough to work with the coat.

Peplum/Ruffle-Hem Shirts

As you experiment with your clothing choices and figure out what styles work best for concealed carry, you’ll begin to have some go-to outfits. These are shirts you know have minimal printing and can quickly be put on before heading out the door. These outfits are essential so you don’t get frustrated when standing in front of your closet, wondering what to wear.

A peplum/ruffle-hem shirt is an excellent option because it adds volume to the top of your body, creating space for your firearm and holster. This shirt style fits snugly around your chest and shoulders, then flares slightly toward the waistline. Layer it with shorts, jeans, or skirts, or wear it alone. Try a Dolman-style shirt that fits tightly around the bust and neck for a casual look before flaring out toward the hem. It is an excellent option for women with small chests or pear-shaped bodies.

Cover Garments

There are a lot of clothing options that will conceal a pistol and holster worn outside the waistband (OWB). While army surplus stores can be great resources, the most effective choice for concealed carry is a jacket, sweatshirt, pullover, or vest tailored to your specific lifestyle. Cargo pants, tan desert boots, and a contractor shirt may look fantastic but will draw attention.

The closing cover sweeps the garment to reveal your firearm. During this process, the thin fabric can snag and entangle your hand. That can lead to an unfavorable draw scenario that could be costly in a real-world gunfight.

For a closed-cover garment, look for something roomy enough to let you move and pin the garment to your body as you drive your hand to get a firing grip on your weapon. Also, if you plan on wearing a buttoned blazer or sport coat as a cover garment, ask your tailor to leave the bottom button undone so you can open it quickly.