When it comes to dressing up in business or formal attire there is no comparison between an off the shelf suit and a tailored concealed carry suit. We know true professionals like you understand living in the real world. So, in addition to making clothes, we'll be sharing advice and best practices on how to go about your daily life (carrying), and looking good doing it. So make sure you subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of the page so you're notified of our newest content!
Sometimes, looking good, means wearing a suit. As a true professional you will undoubtedly need to wear a suit sometimes. That could be at court, a meeting with a client, an interview, a press appearance, or just for the sake of looking good. Not to mention, it's never a bad idea to skip the multi-pocket tactical pants and short sleeve baggy button-up shirt. So, when you're ready to flaunt that professional appearance, you might as well go big. Whether you're going to shell out for a high-end custom made suit, or just pay a little extra to have it tailored for concealed carry, it'll show. So let's look at some of those alterations that keep you looking good, but keep that heater concealed.
Choosing the Right Suit For Concealed Carry
First, let's focus on how to choose your new favorite suit, which is going to accommodate your favorite (IWB or OWB) holster. Let's be clear, you definitely need to pay attention to a few features when choosing a suit to wear when carrying a firearm. Not to mention you should be looking for a nice timeless looking style. We have recommendations that will help you with both.
Weak, flimsy fabrics will bunch up around your weapon and draw unwanted attention. And typically those fabrics don't look good either. You should aim to choose a stiff, durable fabric that will keep your gun from leaving an imprint. In other words, it doesn't much matter whether the suit has a natural or structured silhouette, or a notched or peak lapel, or is single-breasted or double-breasted. But it is ideal to pick a stiffer canvas. That usually means its a safe bet to go with a worsted wool suit.
A Suit Jacket Almost Ready for CCW
When looking for a nice durable wool suit, we suggest a single-breasted, notched lapel, with a soft silhouette. When we're wearing a suit with an IWB (or even an OWB) holster, we prefer the jacket to have side vents or a center vent. This usually allows for enough flexibility and flow to minimize printing. Additionally, we recommend you choose a jacket with two buttons and a lower neckline. This will allow for more room around your waist, which ensures that the lower section of your jacket doesn’t press up against your weapon or holster.
Tailoring the Perfect CCW Suit Jacket
Finally, when altering your suit, you should aim to create one to two inches of extra room around your waist. You can achieve this by letting out the fabric near the waist seams. Bring your jacket to a tailor and have them do it for you. Or, if you buy your suit from a place like Nordstrom, they might be able to do it while they are hemming, taking in the pants, or altering the cuff (all of that is usually free of charge). Another small alteration that pays huge dividends, is having small thin weights or washers sewn into the inside of the front bottom corners of your suit jacket. Not only does it keep your jacket from blowing back and revealing your weapon, but it increases your draw speed by allowing you to move the jacket out of the way faster. It's not absolutely necessary, but it is nice to have.
Don't Forget Your Pants
There are quite a few choices when it comes to choosing suit pants. Obviously you should go with the same fabric as your jacket. That really is a no brainer, since the stylish suit you're looking for likely comes as a jacket and suit pair. For a contemporary look, we also recommend flat front pants with a plain hem and a half or slight break. We are always on the hunt for those Goldilocks suit pants that offer a slimmer fit, but also something we can move in and wear an ankle holster when we need to. In the photo below, we see a notched lapel, center-vent jacket and flat front trousers with a slight break plain hem.
When altering the pants, like the waist of your jacket, the waistband should be measured at about one inch larger than your normal pant size. As we noted, for style points, we generally like our jackets and pants to fit pretty slim. You just end up looking better. But you do need to allow a little room for the IWB. Or look for some of the newer suit pants that have a bit of spandex mixed in with the wool. This gives the waistband a little stretch in the waist for the holster.
Concealed Carry Suit Belt Loops
You want to find that sweet spot. Where your suit pants have a slim stylish fit, but there is plenty of room for your IWB holster. And that holster should rest without causing discomfort. If you have a favorite pair of pants already, let out the waist and make it an inch or two larger. One last thing to consider are the belt loops. For us, these are the Achilles heel of suits. That firearm can put a hurt down on those belt loops. Typically, they're just not made for that extra weight. Ask your tailor to reinforce them or see if he/she has any other ideas. We've taken extra material from the hem or jacket alterations and have had the tailor reinforce the belt loops. It's worked pretty well. Let us know in the comment section if you found other good solutions.
What's the Best IWB Holster to Wear with a Suit?
Look, make sure you grab a good IWB holster. The right IWB holster for your business attire is important. Look for an article on that in the near future. But ultimately it's not rocket science. Most holsters have similar features and generally ride the same. Go with what you know and like. Just make sure you pick an IWB that allows you to tuck in your dress shirt and that is comfortable. Then make sure you train with it. If you follow some of the advice above you'll be well on your way to a look that separates you from the off the rack Jos A Bank.
We hope this guide helps you incorporate stylish business attire into your concealed carry routine. When you look good, you play good. So don't be afraid to dress it up. If you have any suit recommendations, especially something that comes off the rack most of the way there, we'd love to hear about it. Please leave a comment and let us know.
Updated: 9/3/2019 (original post 10/13/2018)