Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cover it Up

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about cover garments, and the differences between men and women trying to conceal a gun.

Let's face it, if you're a man, you can probably get away with throwing a wild-ass Hawaiian print shirt over a t-shirt, and you're good. Your wife or girlfriend may sigh, but it's not that big a deal.

Women, on the other hand, have further considerations. I'm not the best fashionista, but even I know that there are times when being baggy and loose may be comfy but probably isn't the best choice. Not to mention, if you're doing it all the time, people start thinking of you as "butch" and that may not be the impression you'd like to send.

I hate being treated like I'm going to break but let's face it there's not much I can do to avoid the delicate look, and the best I can hope for is elegant, which seems to involve lots of long lines and garments that scream "look at me, I have a waist!"

Add in the difficulties posed by women's fashion in concealment in general, and you've got a bit of a pickle.

So, lets address a couple of the problems I've come across and how I get around them. Your mileage may vary.

First, pants. Every woman has that pair of pants that they absolutely adore, the pair that looks good, feels good, and brings a little attitude to her step. Unfortunately that pair of jeans is rarely good for concealing a firearm.

This is one of those moments where you have to compromise. Either you can have the cute outfit that makes you look smokin' hot, or you can carry a gun. Now, I'm not saying that it's impossible to look smokin' hot while stashing a heater, but you have to go about it differently.

Instead of the shirt that just hits the top of your jeans when you reach over your head, you might have to go with something longer. Or instead of the smokin' hot jeans, you might have to go with slightly less hot and more roomy jeans.

Speaking of shirts, it also seems that the t-shirts available (in my size, marketed for my age range, YMMV and do please share in comments because information is a good thing) are leaning towards lightweight and clingy. Not tight, just a light enough material and fitted enough to cling to curves, which is a nice look, but not practical when you're trying to conceal a pistol. I've got one cute top that makes me look like I actually have cleavage (woohoo) and hangs loose and flowy from what I'm told is called an empire waist. The only problem with it is that it apparently looks a bit like a maternity top, but some nights the cleavage is totally worth it.

Personally, when I'm not going somewhere I can't carry, or somewhere that I really don't need to conceal, I like the combination of wranglers, a tank top, and a western shirt tied in front instead of tucked. My gun goes behind my hip, just forward of center over my right butt cheek. The wranglers are just heavy enough to keep the gun inside my waistband from printing obviously, and the bagging of the shirt at the back covers the grip and helps break up the line of the jeans to distract from any printing that might happen anyway.

Another jeans trick that I've heard positive things about but am just not frilly enough to pull off is finding a pair of jeans that has some decorative beading in the area your gun usually rests, or creating your own design. It's a bit counter intuitive because you would think that it would attract the eye to the gun, but the patterning helps blur the outline of the gun, much like camo helps blur the outline of a hunter in the woods. This may be an excellent option if you're a girly girl who would wear that stuff anyway cause it's cute. Unfortunately I'm not one of those people, so this is not an option for me.

It's also tough to remember that what's obvious to you may not be to Joe Blow on the street. Because you know your gun is there and that's what is making that bulge, you're going to see a gun, where Joe Blow may not even see a bulge. Get a second opinion. And a third. Etc. You may wind up saying "drat" a few times over a great look, but you'll start getting an idea of what other people actually see versus what you see because you know what's going on.

Of course, I carry IWB mostly. OWB presents it's own set of problems, since you're not worried about printing so much as actually flashing your gun. Since I don't really carry OWB when I'm not open carrying, I haven't really dealt with those issues much.

So how about it folks, what are your tips and tricks for concealing, and still looking fantastic?

Quotes at Last

Finally sat down and got the winners posted on the sidebar over there, so I'm not quite so much of a bad blogger now. Congrats to the winners!