(Note: this article is intended for civilian population, but some ideas may be good review for tactical personnel as well. It is the job of the tactical person [and the civilian] to do his or her job and get home alive and in one piece, along with team members [or loved ones].)
Imagine, for a moment, that you are walking home from work in some dark alley of New York City. It’s 2:00 AM and you stayed at the office late to get some project finished or to make that one un-please-able client happy, or you are simply coming home from a good time at the bar. Of course, someone with too much time and not enough money thinks you are a good target to attack and rob. You are now in a defense/attack position where you must defend your self and turn an attack into an ass kicking of a would-be mugger.
This is a real situation and you must be prepared for this. There are certain ways to dress and be prepared for such an attack, and there are ways NOT to dress for such a situation. Below are a few rules and thoughts on dressing for any situation so that you will never get caught with your proverbial pants down. This is not intended as a complete list, but is intended more as a general guide, each locale and situation is slightly different so each person must analyze their conditions and social standards and adapt as needed.
Clothing: Wear cloths that fit properly, are not overly snug, are not overly loose, that do not have dangling or projecting parts that can be caught on things, and that do not restrict movement. If the clothing you wear do any of the foregoing it should not be worn, or the problems need fixing or modification. For women particularly, dress nicely, but don’t choose clothes that are too revealing or restrictive, as that sexy dress may become a liability when it is ripped off or keeps you from being able to kick your opponent in the head. For men, overly baggy cloths are not good. If I were to attack someone with baggy cloths, the first thing I would do is yank those baggy pants to the ground and push you over. Those baggy pants become quick restraints for legs when they are around your ankles.
Also too, consider the protective aspects of clothing. A nice leather or denim jacket can absorb a punch or protect the skin from a knife attack, provided it does not break the previous rule of mobility
If you are to be carrying a concealed weapon, consider that you need to be able to access the weapon quickly, without getting snagged up on other clothing or accessories, and that the idea is to keep it concealed unless needed. If a concealed weapon is carried it must be secure enough to hold its position on the body if you are thrown to the ground or you must roll on the ground to avoid a strike. If you loose the weapon, it is now a liability to be used against your, so make sure you don’t lose it. (Note: the writer does not suggest that the reader should carry a concealed weapon. This is a personal decision for each person and conditions and laws very depending on location. It is up to each person to know the laws where they are and to decide if the situation requires such an escalation in aggressiveness. Suggested reading may include Military Rules of Engagement and Use of Force Continuum.)
Shoes: Wear shoes that are not too heavy or bulky and will allow you to feel your footing. They should have good grip of the ground in all situations. Leather soled shoes should not be worn as they can slip on certain smooth surfaces.
Jewelry: A heavy chain is a great item to use as a choke hold on an opponent and conversely the same is true if you are wearing a heavy chain; your attacker may use that heavy chain to choke you. In my experience, jewelry is a liability and draws the attention of attackers or those who want to just pick a fight. The less jewelry you wear, the better, or keep the jewelry hidden and concealed. That said, heavy finger rings may act as “brass knuckles” and this may aid you in your self defense.
Hair and Beards: Long hair and beards are liabilities in a fight. In a knife fight, the beard can be used to pull the opponent’s chin up to allow for a throat cut, and I don’t think I need to explain the problem with long hair. That is why military men of most countries are required to wear short hair and to shave their face. This rule is a carry down from roman armies and maybe earlier (the writer knows this but is not sure on the exact source of shaving and short hair for military personnel)
Wearing Weapons: In a pinch a belt can be used like a chain whip (provided your belt isn’t keeping your pants up). The buckle will hurt like hell when you hit your opponent in the head with that buckle. Some wallets have chains connected to your belt. A wallet chain (if easy to remove quickly) can be a quick weapon when needed for self defense (as I lived in a rough area as a boy, I typically wore such a chain for quick defense if I needed it). A nice metal pen in your pocket will do service as a spike or knife when needed. For women, don’t be afraid to use those long sharp finger nails for defense purposes (they can be like razors and a good tiger claw attack or raking of the face can give you the time to get away or proceed with self defense maneuvers). Walking with a hot cup of scalding coffee is another thing you can carry on those lonely walks. A pocket book (or brief case) can be used as a weapon or shield.
Generally, when dressing, consider weather the item will hinder your movement, or aid it. Consider if the item you are going to wear will draw attention or allow you to blend with your surroundings; flashy stuff catches folks attention.
Dress for your locale. In other words, don’t wear a business suite if you’re in a rough area. If everyone else in an area is wearing a t-shirt and jeans, follow suite. If the norm is sweaty, stinky undershirts and torn jeans, follow suite. Always remember the best defense is not having to defend oneself (i.e. if you make it so no one attacks you, or has a reason to attack you, you will not have to defend yourself; recommended reading includes articles on De-Escalation).