How To Assemble A Budget-Friendly Wardrobe of CCW Clothing
You might think that a whole new wardrobe of concealed carry clothing is warranted, and that one is likely going to have to get out the credit card and prepare for an onslaught of expensive charges. There’s good news, everyone! You don’t have to.
You can easily get a CCW wardrobe together for not much money at all. It really doesn’t take much in most cases, so you hardly need to part with an arm and a leg to dress for CCW success.
CCW Clothing Needs Depend On How You’ll Carry
A person might get the impression that you need to buy purpose-made (and somewhat expensive) CCW clothing in order to successfully conceal – and you really don’t necessarily have to. Whether you’ll need to add anything at all to your arsenal of clothing really depends on how you intend to carry.
You will, though, probably need a quality gun belt. Really not much getting around it, at least if you’re going to waistband carry.
OWB carriers need the least amount of cover up, though the holster design comes into play. OWB holsters can produce a bulge where the gun is carried, though the holster can influence how the bulge is addressed. Make sure you are thinking about that when choosing an owb holster. Low- and mid-riding holsters will usually require some sort of outerwear to address. High-riding holsters require less cover up.
You may decide to choose an IWB holster, as they tend to be much more concealable, though they can likewise produce the telltale “bump” of printing where the gun is located. Most people can IWB carry with the shirts they already have, but tucking adds one to two inches to the waist.
Pocket carry and ankle carry are really only possible for smaller firearms, so all that’s really needed is roomy enough pockets or somewhat loose pant cuffs.
Shoulder holsters require outerwear to conceal, period.
Shopping for Concealed Carry Clothes
Getting concealed carry clothes for IWB carry is easy – usually, one only needs to go up one waist size in pants. Most shirts will cover the pistol and holster.
Good top tip? Look for adjustable waist pants, either via tabs or elastic. These can easily be found for not much in most department stores; Dockers and Haggar pants are good brands to look for. You’ll have to live with buying “dad pants” and the shame of being that lame, but they will work, fit almost any dress code, are available almost everywhere and are relatively cheap – usually between $20 and $40. Pair with a good leather gun belt and you’ll blend right in.
Want something a little more casual? Try military surplus stores or websites (Amazon is also good) and get a pair of BDU pants. Most have waist tabs, with a couple sizes’ worth of play. Solid colors like black, navy blue and khaki are available, so you don’t have to wear camo and look like you’re heading for the family reunion and speed dating night at the trailer park. Ditto for BDU shorts. You can easily get either for around $30 per, though online will often be cheaper than in-store, as some “mil surp” stores mark up egregiously.
However, some shirts won’t fully cover the pistol or will still print, especially if a person prefers slim fits. Some tuck their shirt over the pistol and holster, which may require a tall size shirt.
Luckily, Big and Tall sizes are replete among retailers. A number of department stores have dedicated displays, and a vast selection is available online, for very reasonable prices. If the issue is just the extra bump rather than length, a big size or just opting for the next size up shirt will easily accommodate. A few shirts can easily be obtained for around $20 to $30 per, to fit any need. Tees, polos, dress, it’s all out there. (The author recommends Van Heusen; JC Penney usually has great deals on them – the sub-$30 range is common – and they work as casual and formal wear.)
Dressing for OWB concealment is easy. High-riding OWB holsters can be covered by an untucked shirt. If your normal shirt doesn’t do it, a tall-size shirt likely will.
Mid-length and low-riding OWB holsters will likely require a jacket or other type of outerwear. For low-riders, you may need to opt for a tall size, depending on the length. One good idea? Carry on or close to the kidney position, and wear a t-shirt with an unbuttoned button-up. No one will ever know. Flannel shirts, in light, medium or heavy weight, work very well for this application. In summer you can even opt for a Hawaiian print. You’ll need a Ferrari and a mustache to complete the look, though.
Suit carry is another matter. You might need a new jacket for optimal concealment, which is expensive no matter what you do.
Ankle and pocket carry merely require room at the point of carry, which is easy. If you can put your hand in your pocket to the wrist, a pocket gun can be carried. Ankle holsters merely need a bit of room. Regular or straight cut pants are widely available and cheap.
Minimal Investment in Concealed Carry Clothing Is Required, If At All
Really, you shouldn’t have to spend much on concealed carry clothing – because it’s just like everything else. The wardrobe you have already may serve perfectly; make sure you try it first before spending any hard-earned cash on extra gear. However, if you have to, you probably only need a couple extra shirts or pairs of pants in a different size, and that’s it.
Is this to say you shouldn’t buy tactical clothing or purpose-made CCW clothes? No, you can if you want to. They’re built for it, and many have features (such as hidden pockets) that regular clothes lack.
However, it is totally possible to dress for less for concealed carry success.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.