Being a fashionable woman and carrying a concealed handgun can be quite challenging. After all, women have a wide range of choices in wardrobe, none of which are designed with concealing a firearm in mind. Though the market is changing, and there are some women-only holsters, most holsters are designed for mens’ bodies and not the curves of a woman’s body. Not to mention that we wear tighter fitting clothing making concealment difficult. But, don’t fret. With the right holsters and a few wardrobe add-ons, you can carry and still look cute and fashionable.
When you are shopping for a holster, you must remember how essential it is for it to be comfortable all day, keep your gun concealed, and have your gun easily accessible. That is why many women choose to have more than one type of holster—so that they can find a way to carry no matter what they choose to wear.
Ankle carry is perfect for maxi skirts and dresses or with boot cut and wide-legged pants or jeans. Buy a slightly longer cut than usual in your skirts or pants. When you are trying on pants, sit down in the dressing room to see how much the bottom of the hem rises. Another important thing to remember is what type of shoes you will wear. The hemline will get shorter the taller your heel is.
Jeans, shorts, and dress pants with belt loops will accommodate a waistband carry holster. The best ones are pancake-style holsters that lay flat against the body for a low-profile look. The DeSantis 105 is an excellent choice. It is adjustable for height and cant and is made of leather and Kydex. For waist carry, you will need a sturdy belt. I prefer leather. If you are going to carry inside the waistband, buy one size larger in pants to accommodate for the bulk of the holster. The barrel of the gun and most of the slide will stay inside the pants, while the grip will be outside the pants resting on your back or hip. One of my favorite styles of jeans for either inside the waistband or ankle carry is “boyfriend” or “relaxed” styles. I love my Calvin Klein boyfriend cut jeans. There is plenty of room in the waist for a holster and if I chose to uncuff the bottom of the jeans, an ankle holster conceals just fine due to the relaxed cut of the jean legs.
If you want to wear a shorter dress or skirt, a thigh holster is easy to get to and comfortable. A thigh holster has to attach to something around the top, so you will have to have a belt or a garter belt to attach it to. Gracie from Packing Pretty wears jean shorts under her dresses to accommodate a belt holster. She also has put together a Pinterest board of conceal carry-friendly fashion. Check it out here. Further, I suggest looking at faliaphotography’s YouTube video. She gives a very through and detailed fashion show on ways to carry in your favorite outfits.
With pants, shorts, skirts, or a dress, you can always use a cover-up piece as an accessory and as extra concealment for your gun. There are plenty of cardigans, sleeveless vests, jackets, and hoodies to choose from, depending on your style.
If you prefer skinny jeans, an inside the waistband holster is about your only choice. If you love your skinnies, opt for a longer cut, looser-fitting blouse, or t-shirt. I have seen ones with an empire waist that cover completely. One good thing about the fall 2012 trends is that shirts come in flowy peasant styles, oversized, and tunic, which will all conceal your gun well.
The fall fashion shows have shown that menswear styles will be big for Fall. Fortunately, that means that vests, jackets, and wider-cut trousers will be at your local mall. A vest is a cute and trendy cover-up piece. I also saw a trend toward boxier cuts on tops and jackets, giving you more room in the waist.
A shoulder holster can be worn with a cami, tank, or tee with a cover item such as a jacket or cardigan. If you have to dress business professional everyday, consider a shoulder holster.
Another style of holster I like for pants without belt loops and skirts is the DeSantis Superfly holster. These holsters have a grip-style surface that makes a belt unnecessary for retention.
Before you wear your outfit out, make sure you will not reveal your gun if you have to reach up or grab up the kids. This is where the extra cover-up piece comes in handy. Longer, light cotton sleeveless vests are perfect to help conceal in the summer time. The colder months are easier. Roomier sweaters, cardigans, hoodies, and puffy vests are all good tops that should cover your belt holster.
My best advice is to invest in a few extra cover-up pieces and in a few different styles of holsters. Many women who carry will also change what gun they carry depending on what outfit they want to wear. Sometimes an outfit will call for a smaller gun than your regular carry weapon. As long as you feel comfortable with the gun and the outfit then by all means, carry a smaller gun if you must.
Ultimately, the holster and dressing for concealed carry comes down to the process of trial and error, but don’t get frustrated. I promise you, you can look girly and fashionable, while taking control of your own safety.
What is your favorite way to carry? Tell me about how you adapt your clothing choices to accommodate your CCW in the comment section below.