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I recently joined and one of the groups is on fighting.  Basically writer’s discussing weapons and how to write believable fight scenes.  I started a thread on Fighting and Fashion, to discuss what the stylish character wears about town to conceal (or enhance) weapons.  I thought I’d share my thoughts on the issue of dressing to kill here 🙂

Dressing with weapons in mind is something my characters deal with often.  Since comfort and concealment is a problem in real life carrying, I make it a problem in theirs to lend it a note of truth.

Most of the time my main characters are petite women, and a lot of holsters and guns are made to fit larger people, and it’s difficult to get a flat thing to lay against a curved surface (as in, the hip). So my characters who carry often have small guns that are either not concealed or are concealed under a jacket on an under arm holster.

The best one I’ve found in real life was one you put around your ribs and the gun gets kind of tucked under your breasts and against your sternum and you pull it out from underneath.  Pretty nifty design.  You still have to wear a loose shirt with it though.

Here is another suggestion for people writing about characters carrying weapons: actually try one on (or have someone of a similar body type to the character you’re talking about try it, again, these things work differently for different body types) and see where you would realistically put it.  If your woman character doesn’t really have hips, carrying on the belt is a lot easier than for women with hips.  You have to also consider what clothes would be good if the character is carrying concealed.

Usually the clothes to keep it concealed are looser and baggier than a woman in modern America would wear, at least a stylish one  But that could also be a detail you point out.  Someone notices the usually well-dressed professional woman has a baggy shirt on and untucked.  Is she feeling grubby today or is there something else under there?

With men, it’s easier because they have more flat surfaces on them and tend to be longer than women, so a gun against their hip is flat on flat and there’s just more area of the flat, but that still takes getting used to.  Men’s clothes tend to be baggier as well, so even a nicely dressed one can have a dress shirt tucked into slacks, and just be loose fitting.

Whoever your character is, try to see the world through their eyes when carrying.  This goes for guns, knives, pepper spray, nun-chucks, throwing stars, ect…  And what they’re wearing also should be reflected in martial arts scenes.  If your character is a black belt but she’s wearing a pencil skirt, she’s not going to be able to pull off a kick without hiking that skirt up around her hips.

The reality is in the details.  The more you can nail down about how this person is carrying and pulling off their moves, the more people reading will believe it.

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