Which clothing is the best to wear under armour ?

You obviously want to maximise protection as much as you can and this means you should use every layer of clothing possible.

You can wear power armour, normal armour and then some types of clothing as a 3rd layer, but only specific items such as long johns or vault suits.

What is the best 3rd layer item you can get?

  • 5
    Note: With Power Armor, none of the other layers matter. Except stuff that's worn on your head, if you don't use the Power Armor helmet.
    – Iszi
    Jan 21, 2016 at 22:43
  • Didn't realise they don't matter when wearing power armour, cool :). Still I'd rather not be half naked when I get out of the stuff :D Jan 21, 2016 at 22:46

4 Answers 4



Early in the game, it's the Vault Suit. This is primarily for the radiation resistance, but it also has good energy resistance. Both of these things can be upgraded at an armor workbench.

If you're unconcerned with radiation, then you might pick another piece of clothing based on the buffs to your SPECIAL stats. This will depend on your character build and the stats that matter to you. Any of the items listed in Nukapedia's Clothing table will allow you to put on your armor without restriction. Some of the items in the Outfits table will allow armor as well, but not all the pieces.

For gun users, the Minuteman Outfit is good, as it offers Perception and Agility. Another option would be the Military Fatigues, which offer both +2 to Agility and 5 Energy Resistance. I often use these when I'm inside and not worried about radiation.

For Melee users, you might want to add to your Strength, perhaps with Army Fatigues, which add +1 to Strength and Agility. Another good melee option is the Grognak Costume. This is technically an outfit, as it doesn't allow you to wear a chest piece. However, it includes some good inherent damage resistance, +2 to Strength, and a great 20% bonus to melee damage.

Ballistic Weave

Later in the game, if you acquire the ability to add Ballistic Weave to clothing, the situation changes completely. At this point, you can use an armor workbench to add a huge amount of damage resistance to clothing and outfits. From 30 each of damage and energy resistance with no ranks in Armorer, to 110 of each with Armorer IV. Notably, you cannot add Ballistic Weave to the Vault Suit. You'll likely want to choose the piece of clothing that buffs the stats you need most, and then add the highest Ballistic Weave you can create.

Note that not all clothing can have Ballistic Weave added. There's a list of possible options on the Ballistic Weave page I linked. Most of them are actually outfits. The only clothing included, meaning that you can equip all armor slots, are these:

  • Army Fatigues (+1 Str and Agi)
  • Baseball Uniform (+1 Str and Agi)
  • Dirty Army Fatigues (+1 Str and Agi)
  • Green Shirt and Combat Boots (+1 End and Cha)
  • Military Fatigues (+2 Agi and 5 Energy Resist)
  • Minuteman Outfit (+1 Agi and Per)
  • Tattered Rags (+1 Luck)

You can also add Ballistic Weave to a few hats:

  • Battered Fedora (+1 Luck)
  • Green Rag Hat (10 Energy Resist)
  • Trilby Hat (+1 Cha)
  • Newsboy Cap (+1 Cha)

As you can see, none of these have any radiation resistance. So, if you wear ballistic weaving clothing and a hat, you'll most likely want to add Lead lining to at least one piece of armor. I usually add it to each arm, and that seems to be sufficient.

Noncombat Utility

It's also useful to carry additional pieces of clothing for use when not in combat. I carry both Charisma and Intelligence gear with me at all times, and even hotkey it. You can often access clothing from your hotkeys in the middle of a conversation.

You can easily find hats that add +1 to Charisma and Intelligence (Newsboy Cap on the guy that tries to kill his brother in the Diamond City Market, Press Cap on Piper).

You can find clothing that adds +2 to Charisma pretty easily as well. There are many types that do this, including most suits and dresses. You can get +3 to Charisma clothes by completing Curtain Call. Finding +2 to Intelligence clothing such as a lab coat usually takes longer, but should happen by the time you're in your teens. I've found a lab coat in the first suitcase in Sanctuary, though, so results vary.

You can find +1 to Charisma glasses, including Black-Rim Glasses and Fashionable Glasses, pretty easily. There exist glasses that give +1 to Intelligence, the Road Goggles, but these are more rare. I got some from the Pillars of the Community. If you have the Automatron DLC, then you can get a pair from Zoe's corpse. There are also +2 to Int (and -1 to Cha) glasses called Liam's Glasses. To get these, you must complete Plugging a Leak while siding with Liam. Note that this quest is unavailable if you've completed Tradecraft, which means that you can't get both Liam's Glasses and Ballistic Weave. Choose the weave. If you have the Far Harbor DLC, you can get The Captain's Hat, which gives +2 Int.

There is also a legendary armor mod, Sharp, which adds +1 to Int and Cha. If you have one or more pieces of this on, you might not need to swap items.

When you're trading or persuading, put on the Charisma gear. When you're doing noncombat things that give you experience, like crafting, picking locks, or turning in quests, put on the Intelligence gear. Putting all your armor back on after switching your main clothing is a bit of a hassle, so sometimes I'll just swap the glasses and hat.

Power Armor

Remember that clothing is irrelevant while wearing power armor, as the only equipment that affects your stats at that point is the armor itself.

  • 1
    The Grognak Outfit probably also deserves special mention early game- pre-lining, it's quite strong, and you can still wear armor in most slots along with it. Jan 21, 2016 at 23:17
  • 1
    @LessPop_MoreFizz I hadn't even thought about that being clothing, but I suppose it is. I'll add that.
    – DCShannon
    Jan 21, 2016 at 23:18
  • Regarding the great non-combat tips, I like the Destroyer's Helmet because it gives +1 Charisma for trading, +1 Intelligence for crafting, and is armour, so you don't need to change it depending on whether you're about to fight, trade, or craft. It's good for all three and so you don't need to carry other hats. Well worth the price IMHO.
    – boomstick
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:10
  • I find that if you wear radiation resistant clothing it affects radiation resistance even when in power armour. So not sure it's completely irrelevant.
    – SMeznaric
    Jan 25, 2016 at 5:49
  • 1
    @mikewaters Yes, it is completely irrelevant. You could have armor worth 100k caps on or rags, and it won't make a lick of difference to anything until you get out of the armor.
    – DCShannon
    Nov 2, 2016 at 20:27

By far, adding the Ballistic Weave mod to your clothing is the single best increase you will gain from protection, regardless of clothing article. It increases the ballistic and energy resistance of the clothing by the following amounts:

 MkI   - 30
 MkII  - 45
 MkIII - 65
 MkIV  - 90
 MkV   - 110

To gain the ability to add Ballistic Weave to your clothing, you must join the Railroad faction and do quests until P.A.M. unlocks the first "Jackpot" quest. After completing it, Tinker Tom will unlock the ability for you to mod clothing at an armor workbench to add the mod. Tinker Tom will also start stocking a rotating series of clothing with the Ballistic Weave mod already applied. These articles of clothing will have names starting with "Armored".

You don't have to worry about hitting a "point of no return" to get this ability, either: You won't get far enough in the Railroad quest chain to block out access to any of the other factions.

There are several options for clothing to add Ballistic Weave to that will also allow you to wear an additional item in every single normal armor slot:

  • Green Shirt & Combat Boots: For flat protection, this is probably the best as it gives you +1 endurance, which means more hit points. It also gives +1 Charisma.
  • Military Fatigues: Is a good alternate for protection as it offers +5 energy resistance in addition to its +2 Agility.
  • Army Fatigues: +1 Strength & +1 Agility. This is my current favorite as I optimize for carrying capacity.
  • Minuteman Outfit: +1 Agility & Perception
  • 1
    Add to this that applying it to Summer Shorts gives you the most free slots to add armor on top of it, and you've got my vote.
    – Iszi
    Jan 21, 2016 at 22:42
  • @DCShannon The question, at its core, is asking what you can do outside of power armor and normal armor to offer you the best protection. Ballistic Weave has such a huge impact on your protection (especially at MK V) that using it has a bigger impact than swapping between different clothing items. That being said, I'll look up what the best item to apply it to would be for the maximum impact, which sounds like it'd satisfy your concern. :)
    – Shaun
    Jan 21, 2016 at 22:44
  • @Iszi I've addressed your concern, but went with a few better options.
    – Shaun
    Jan 21, 2016 at 22:56
  • @DCShannon I addressed your concern, but I see you've put up a competing answer in the interim. :)
    – Shaun
    Jan 21, 2016 at 22:57
  • I don't disagree with what you have here, but I've been meaning to write some more about clothing since that other question on the early game. Seemed like a good opportunity.
    – DCShannon
    Jan 21, 2016 at 22:58

Personally, I think that the BOS uniforms really useful, since it gives you 1 defence, 5 energy defence and 5 rad resistance.

  • 3
    The BOS Uniform is not terrible, so you could wear it for role-playing purposes and not feel like you're hurting yourself, but the Vault Suit already has 5 Energy resistance and 10 Rad resistance even before upgrades.
    – DCShannon
    Sep 20, 2016 at 14:59

I think the special stats clothes not working under Power Armour is wrong: I'm still getting the buffs for wearing road leathers. I've checked a lot.

The only things that seem to stop working are unique effects like the stealth bonus of the Chinese stealth suit. I have no mods or exploits active on my PS4. Raidiation suits still add bonus protection in addition to what your Power Armour provides.


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