Clothing Tips & Advice For Police Officers

What to Wear and When …
Police Officers – How To Dress For Authority & For Comfort

Originally written for and published in Men’s Health Magazine.

You’re a COP (from the British “Constable On Patrol”) out there everyday, protecting and serving. Ever realize that your personal appearance, that first impression you make on a suspect, may mean the difference of whether they see you as a geek with a gun, or a respected officer of the law?
Bad Cop Good Cop
The Uniform
“You Will Respect My Authoritah!”
police man clothing
Fabric Tropical Weight Polyester.Wears like iron, doesn’t wrinkle, but it’s hot, hot, hot! (Maybe that’s why some officers sweat like, err, pigs?) Wool is actually cooler since it breathes, and wool resists wrinkles. Cotton is a good choice for summer, but it wrinkles. Hey, wrinkles may help the “more human” image.
Color Black is too powerful. Maybe this is a good opportunity to tone down the authority with Khaki color (plus it’s cooler in the summer)or LAPD DARK BLUE Navy is an authority color, and flattering to most body styles, but can be warm in summer.
Shirts Short sleeves seem cooler and less restrictive, but you’ll notice Hollywood always puts dim-witted Long sleeves bestow authority and respect plus needed protection in a “resisting arrest” situation. You need the full cut style for comfort during all that activity plus it hides the cheeseburgers!
Pants High water pants won’t really help you in case of floods, but they make you look really silly.Flat front pants don’t give and if you spend a lot of time sitting in a squad car. Pants should be long enough to cover your socks. It’s difficult to strip search someone who is convulsing with amusement. Pants are worn at the waist, not under so make sure you’re wearing the right size! Pants Pleats are practical, they widen automatically at the hips when you sit providing you more room when you need it.
Necktie An authority contributor, but not when they are the poly clip-on type. A proper knot with a “dimple” is OK, but everyone else is going casual. Do you really need the tie? Especially if it gives the bad guys something to grab!
Shoes Heavy, shiny (patent leather) military style shoes. Opt for lightweight “jogging” style boots or shoes with action soles for running and supporting those flat feet. Shoes are an important element of a “first impression” wardrobe. Keep them polished and in good condition!
Belt LEATHER EQUIPMENT BELT12 pounds or more of guns, ammo, holster, pepper spray, keys, baton, cuffs, a knife, tape recorder and radio.The heavy leather belt is unforgiving and digs into your waist. Lighten up with high tech ballistic nylon for the holster, and go for smaller electronics. Hey, if we can afford tiny radios for NASA we sure as hell can give them to the guys keeping our streets safe.
Hats Whether it’s the “Smokey” state trooper style hat or the eight-point cap they are hot, uncomfortable and tend to fall off during foot chases. What about a nice baseball cap with the Department logo on the crown. Just remember to take your cap off inside the donut shop.

– – Andy Gilchrist