Where Should I Carry? A Guide for Every Body Type
One of the largest challenges a woman faces when first adapting to concealed carry is finding the most comfortable, concealable place to carry her firearm. Some of the most popular methods of carry, and those which most holsters are made for, are designed with the male frame in mind. We carry ourselves blissfully and distinctively different than the men in our lives. Our curves and lines aren’t designed to conceal sharp edges; and our clothing is not typically made to hide odd shapes beyond those we develop around the holidays.
For a woman, one size does not fit all in the holster world. No woman is like another in her style, body type and comfort level. This isn’t a handicap, but rather a wonderful advantage! This means we have a vast array of options to choose from, and a wide range of tricks and tips to learn from the women who have been there before us and made it work. In finding your own perfect fit, you should ask yourself a few questions:
“What is my shape?”
“What is my style?”
“What makes me comfortable?”
The first answer may actually be the most difficult to come up with. It’s easy to be blinded by what you WANT your shape to be. I remember pulling back my hair in middle school and tracing my face in the mirror with lipstick to learn how to accentuate my features with makeup. I didn’t like the shape the mirror reflected. Instead of embracing my square head, I rounded off the edges the lipstick revealed and envisioned my face as a “perfect” oval. This left me trying to enhance attributes that weren’t my own- but rather someone else’s. I ended up bringing out what I considered to be my flaws instead of drawing attention to the beauty of a square face. The same can happen with your body. Wanting to have an hourglass shape or smaller hips doesn’t make it so- and dressing to accentuate someone else’s curves instead of your own can actually hide your true beauty.
So what does any of this mean in your quest to find the perfect place to hide your .38 special? Knowing your body, your own true curves and lines, is key to finding the best place to hide extra bulk seamlessly. All of us have certain features we play up, even if unintentionally, while we prefer to keep others hidden. What are yours? The areas you already conceal may prove to be the perfect spot for your gun to hide as well. Do you wear your tops a tad loose up top to hide a small bust? You may want to invest in a bra holster. On the other side of the coin, a woman with larger breasts who doesn’t wear tops that hug her lady lumps could get away with bra carry as well. An hourglass figure may find she has extra room around her waist for a small handgun without looking bulky- while another with the same shape may find waist carry impossible if she prefers a streamlined look.
This brings me to style. A woman wears many hats in the course of a single week, or even a single day; and this can alter your style significantly. However, most of us do have a thread of similarity between our clothing choices. I myself don’t like my upper arms, and so whether I chose to rock a business casual look or just relax in boots and jeans, my upper arms are usually covered. This quite often leaves room for my firearm to snuggle up in the band of my bra under one arm unnoticed. If you slouch, a gun at the small of your back may jut out; where a woman who sits up straight could hide her piece flat against her back in even a moderately tight top. Feeling bloated? On days when you absolutely cannot add an inch to your midsection comfortably, you can still make that trip to the grocery store fully protected with an ankle or thigh holster. If your style requires a business skirt and blazer, a shoulder holster would be an unbelievably comfortable option. (And it makes you feel like a sexy secret agent too!) The point is, fitting your firearm into the daily routine of dressing yourself for whatever the day might bring isn’t an impossible feat. Use your size and fashion sense to your advantage.
The last, but equally important piece of the puzzle is comfort. If you can’t sit all day with a gun pressed against your lower back, don’t. If there isn’t room in your waistband for a firearm without hurting your stomach or ribs, appendix carry isn’t the way. Can’t reach it? Don’t put it there! Style and functionality can flow together with a little practice and creativity. Use the torturous restraints society has given us for keeping our parts in place to your advantage. Holsters have been made to attach to bra straps, garter belts and everything in between! There are increasingly more options designed specifically for ladies, making it easier and safer to conceal without losing your sense of style or comfort. There are even holsters that SLIM you while you wear them! What could possibly be more girly than that?
Whether you are shaped like a pear, apple, hourglass, perfect sphere or vanilla bean; you can conceal a firearm on your body without cramping your style. Reach out to the woman in your life who inspired you to carry and ask her for tips. Make new friends on a concealed carry forum and find women with similar issues to brainstorm with. Or just get out there and conduct a little trial and error research for yourself! You’ll be glad you did; and so will the woman who one day finds herself looking to you for advice.