I don't claim to be the expert on this subject, but as one woman who likes to look like a woman I can only relay my experiences of trying to remain feminine while packing heat.
When I started my concealed carry journey just four years ago I was stuck in a whirl-wind of trial and error. I had days of horrible printing or poor concealment. I had days of looking unkempt and trashy because I wore clothes purposely too big in attempts to cover my gun. I tried many different holsters and means of carry and while the journey is one that never ends I do feel like I have learned a few things to pass on to my fellow female carriers who wish to carry and retain their femininity.
First, let me point out that all of my clothes are now size appropriate. Let me say that again. They are ALL size appropriate. Buy clothes to fit YOU. Believe me, you are a lot LESS noticeable when your clothes fit than when you are walking around looking like you are dressed in your big sisters clothing. If you are smart about what you buy in your size there is no reason to size up to hide a gun.
Second, let me say that in the following pictures I am in only one outfit with a variety of cover garments. I would NOT wear many of these combinations out of the house or suffer the wrath of the fashion police. This is just to illustrate different cover garments, not to show off my lack of style.
Third, let me state that the advise laid out is for those who wish to carry on body, around the waist, preferably just behind the hip on either side of the body. After trying everything from ankle carry to appendix, shoulder and back again, this is the place I have found most comfortable, accessible and concealable.
So, let's get started.
This is me:
I am 105 lbs. 5'3" and carrying a Glock 19 in an OWB holster with a double magazine pouch filled with two magazines. I chose this setup for these pictures because many would like to tell you (or even men) that it is impossible to conceal so much on a small frame. THAT IS HOG WASH! I have been concealing full size guns, spare magazines, knives and other tools since the day I turned 21. Shop smart and you'll be amazed at what you can conceal.
A NOTE ON PANTS:
Girls, pay close attention to this part because it is important. It has taken me much anguish to bring you this little secret and as far as I have discovered and discussed this part is almost universal to all sizes and shapes.
Remember these two words: MID RISE!
High rise pants have a tendency to hold the firearm too high unless you get a holster that purposefully sets the gun a little lower on the belt line. It can cause digging or stabbing in the ribs. Most women I have talked to who find high rise pants comfortable for carry are open carriers with duty holsters who don't have to bother with concealment. Once concealment is added to the mix and the holster has to carry the firearm as close to the body as possible I start to hear lots of complaints about comfort.
If the rise is too low you get two different problems. One, the weight of the gun starts to pull your pants down (especially when carrying a heavier gun) and two, the hip makes the grip jut out making it very difficult to conceal. Again, an open carrier may not have a problem but for concealed carry you are going to have to start wearing your husband's sweat shirts to conceal properly unless you have absolutely no hips to speak off and are straight as a board.
Now, I did say that it is ALMOST universal. Of course, with the vast differences in shapes and sizes there are those who can and do conceal wonderfully and comfortably with high or low rise pants but more often than not, mid-rise is the way to go for strictly concealed carry.
Mid-rise pants seem to be the sweet spot. The curve of the hip pushes the grip of the gun right into the curve of the waist but not high enough to stab the ribs when sitting or bending to the side. The draw is comfortable and your pants stay right where you want them to all day long.
Let me draw your attention to the photo below:
As you can see, the grip and even the spare magazines are held close to the body. The grip sits in the curve of my waist and back and the comfort is unmatchable.
If you are having a hard time getting your carry set up comfortably concealable I would first start playing with the rise of your pants. You might be amazed at how quickly your concealment and comfort issues vanish.