Whenever a game developer announces a sequel to a popular title, my first and immediate question that I ask myself is, “I wonder if they will learn from their mistakes and take into consideration community feedback?”.
Fallout 4 is no stranger to controversy and backlash from members of the Fallout fandom, but there’s no denying that Fallout 4 does do a lot of things better than Fallout 3. One of those things is the clothing system.
One of the first things I immediately liked about Fallout 3 was Lucas Simms’ reaction to you if you entered Megaton in a vault suit. Unfortunately, this isn’t a common occurrence.
Clothing was beneficial to have at the beginning, for the minor skill and attribute bonuses, but eventually became obsolete in the midgame. The only article of clothing that sticks around is eyewear if you have the Lucky Shades or Three Dog’s glasses.
Luckily, Bethesda made some changes to the clothing and armor systems in Fallout 4, and they’re universally better improvements. Not only are there more reactions to vault suits, but more ambient reactions to various clothing in general.
I strolled through Diamond City in a postman’s uniform, and a patrolling security guard told me, “Nice hat” as he walked by. I always appreciate little details like this.
But most importantly, clothing is now far more essential in combat. You won’t just be wearing clothes in the early game; you’ll be doing it for the entirety of your Fallout 4 playthrough. All it took to make clothing useful was giving us the ability to wear it under armor.
Well, that and one specific mod, but we’ll get to that later. There are a lot of clothes in Fallout 4, and it can take a while to sift through them all to figure out which are the best. And that’s if you manage to find them. But don’t worry, as I’ve got you covered.
Today, I’ll be your tour guide and fashion designer to give you the best wardrobe in Fallout 4 from start to finish.
What Kind of Clothing is in Fallout 4?
Clothing in Fallout breaks down into six different categories:
- Full Headwear
- Clothing (Confusing, I know. I’ll explain later)
Access to all the clothing in Fallout 4 requires the Far Harbor and Nuka-World DLC packs. This guide will NOT be covering armor pieces that are parts of complete armor sets.
Since this Fallout 4 Clothing guide is about decking yourself out early on, I prioritized methods with as little combat as possible.
How Are Clothing And Armor Different In Fallout 4?
In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, clothing and armor sets were two different entities. You could wear one or the other but not both.
That changes in Fallout 4. There are still outfits and armor sets that you can’t wear simultaneously, but there is lots of clothing and armor you can. And that’s because most armor in Fallout 4 is now modular. Instead of being one set, armor is six different pieces. That includes Power Armor.
Not only does this allow you to mix and max pieces from different armor sets, but it also allows you to wear a layer of clothing underneath. That’s clothing, not outfits. You can even wear clothing and modular armor beneath Power Armor though the stats don’t count towards your current SPECIAL or resistances.
In Fallout 3, the armor tiers were pretty clear cut. Metal was a lot better than leather, and combat was a lot better than metal. Armor was far more even in New Vegas, and in Fallout 4, Bethesda took a page out of Obsidian’s book. Combat armor is still better than metal armor overall, but metal armor has superior Energy Resistance.
For that reason, if you’re going into a synth den, you might want to use metal over combat. Maybe you wear primarily combat armor but got a leather armor piece with a great legendary effect that makes the drop in resistances worth it.
The changes give you more flexibility when customizing your clothing and armor setups and more value and longevity. My Clothing Guide will be about the optimal choices for each slot, but don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment!
Unique Armor Sets
In addition to the usual suspect armor sets like leather, metal, and combat armor, Fallout 4 has unique armor sets. There are a lot of traders in the Commonwealth, and some of them have unique armor pieces. If you find them all, you’ll have complete unique armor sets on your hands.
But to be honest, the term armor set is a bit of a misnomer since there isn’t a single unique armor set in the game that fills every armor slot.
The Destroyer’s armor is the closest since it only lacks a right arm. I’m not sure why Bethesda chose to do this, but perhaps it just works like Todd always says.
You Could At Least Wear A Helmet
Tyrion offered a certain someone these wise words. The Commonwealth is a dangerous place, and you’d be wise to heed Tyrion’s advice.
Luckily, you can get your hands on a solid helmet almost as soon as you step out of Vault 111. Stand at attention, son or daughter, because you’re joining the army.
I’m kidding. After all, the army is long gone. But their equipment isn’t, and it’s not like they need it anymore.
Head west into the river from the bridge entrance into Sanctuary Hills. After a while, you should see a rusted military vehicle surrounded by a bunch of radioactive barrels.
Your Geiger counter will be ticking fast here, so don’t dawdle. On the left side of the rust bucket is an army helmet sitting on a cinderblock.
Alternatively, you can find two army helmets at USAF Satellite Station Olivia. One is in the room past the fusion core generator.
Look to your right and in the corner next to the lockers. You’ll find Sergeant Teddy Bear with a cigar and an army helmet.
The second is in the final room in the basement. Next to the tool case with the intel room key is a skeleton with an army helmet lying beside it. You might find yourself coming here early on after acquiring that early set of Power Armor behind Sanctuary Hills.
The army helmet is a solid headpiece with 10 Damage Resistance that will last you until the mid-game.
Don’t Forget Your Party Hat
The army helmet is excellent for early-game combat, but you should have something more appropriate in social settings. That means getting your hands on a proper hat. There are four hats you want to keep in mind: Green rag hat, battered fedora, trilby hat, and newsboy cap.
The newsboy cap and the trilby hat are your Charisma headpieces. The higher your Charisma stat, the better your buy/sell prices from vendors.
It also makes passing Speech checks easier. They barely weigh anything, so there’s no reason not to bring one along.
The battered fedora gives you a +1 bump to your Luck stat. Luck-builds are very overpowered in Fallout 4, but it’ll be a while before yours is ready.
Still, get a battered fedora now to save yourself some trouble later.
The Green rag hat gives an additional 10 Energy Resistance. Unfortunately, it’s also the hardest of the lot to find. If you’re involved in the Settlement system, you might get lucky and get one from one of the settlers that come along.
You can purchase all of these hats from Fallon’s basement in Diamond City. General goods merchants will also sometimes have them in stock.
The green rag hat is the only one you might have trouble finding. Store the battered fedora and green rag cap at Sanctuary for safekeeping.
Upgrading Your Helmet: The Destroyer’s Helmet
The army helmet will last you for a while, but there’s one more upgrade before moving on to ballistic weave gear, and that’s the Destroyer’s helmet.
Once you’ve got yourself a decent amount of caps, make your way to Covenant. Speak with Penny Fitzgerald and purchase the Destroyer’s helmet.
It’s a unique combat armor helmet with the Sharp legendary effect and balanced Damage and Energy Resistance. It’s the best helmet you’ll have until you gain access to the ballistic weave mod.
Once you’re ready to move on to the best headgear in the game, seek out the Railroad.
The Strongest Hats in the Commonwealth
The ballistic weave mod is the single most essential mod in Fallout 4. It takes your headwear and clothing to the next level of protection, better than almost every armor set outside Power Armor.
To get the ballistic weave mod, you must first assist the Railroad in numerous Fallout 4 quests. Check out the full breakdown in my ballistic weave guide.
After completing the first Jackpot mission, speak with Tinker Tom to obtain the ballistic weave mod. It scales based on the rank of your Armorer perk. With no investment in the Armorer mod, the ballistic weave mod provides 30 Damage and Energy Resistance to an assortment of hats, clothes, and outfits.
That already makes it way better than your Destroyer’s helmet. At Armorer rank 4, you gain access to ballistic weave MrkV, which provides 110 Damage and Energy Resistance. Yeah, that’s a lot of protection.
Remember that battered fedora and green rag hat I told you to buy? It’s time to bring them off the bench. If you’re well into making your Luck-build, use the fedora. Otherwise, use the green rag hat.
And that’s it! Your headwear is taken care of for the rest of the game. Let’s move on to giving your eyes some assistance.
Four Eyes Are Better Than Two
Eyewear is perfect for VATS builds, as almost every set of glasses or goggles in the game provides a bonus to Perception. Goggles also work for this purpose, but they’re harder to come across without engaging in violence.
To get your hands on a set of Perception-boosting glasses, visit our old friend Becky Fallon at Fallon’s basement. She almost always has at least one in stock. Pick up some eyeglasses, sunglasses, or Patrolman sunglasses, and you’re good to go.
Glasses Do Look Cool After All?
Two sets of eyewear give a Charisma bonus and are essential for your Charisma outfit. Those are the black-rim glasses and the fashionable glasses.
The fashionable glasses look cool but are a bit hard to come by (Though Becky can have them in stock). But the black-rim glasses? You can find a pair of those minutes after getting into Sanctuary.
Head for the Red Rocket truck stop where you meat Dogmeat, a short way north of Sanctuary. Behind the stop and down the hill is a Mole rat den. Head inside and take care of the annoying, jump scare mole rats that pop up.
On the right side is a skeleton on a ledge. Next to this skeleton is a pair of black-rimmed glasses. These will serve as your +1 Charisma eyewear for the rest of the game.
But if you really want those fashionable sunglasses that even Johnny Cage would be proud of, head for Back Street Apparel. It’s a small raider base northeast of Diamond City.
Inside you’ll find fashionable glasses in the first center display case. You’ll also find a pair of sunglasses to the right and various hats scattered on the shelves.
And that’s all she wrote for eyewear. Fallout 3 and New Vegas both have Lucky shades, but Fallout 4 doesn’t, unfortunately. Ah well. Let’s move on to getting you something to wear. I don’t want the locals to pick on you for lacking modesty.
Dress for Success
In Fallout 4, you can wear clothing underneath your modular armor. It turns out that this is a game-changer since you can modify many pieces of clothes with the ballistic weave mod.
There are six sets of clothing you should keep in mind:
- Army fatigues
- Baseball uniform
- Dirty army fatigues
- Green shirt and combat boots
- Military fatigues
- Minutemen outfit
You can wear all five modular armor pieces over top of these six clothing sets. Which one you wear depends on your playstyle. Get used to them since these will be your clothes of choice for the entire game.
Both army fatigues and the baseball uniform are the most balanced option and provide +1 Strength and +1 Agility. Regardless of your build, everyone benefits from the additional carry weight and Action Points.
If you’re a VATS-heavy character, go with the military fatigues for the +2 Agility. If you want a balance between Action Points and VATS accuracy, the minutemen outfit is your best bet for the +1 Agility and +1 Perception.
The green shirt and combat boots set is like the green rag hat and battered fedora; get one early on and save it for a rainy day. It gives +1 Charisma and +1 Endurance. You’ll be using this later in the game for your Charisma outfit.
You can purchase all of these easily except the Minuteman outfit from Becky Fallon. Moe Cronin always has the baseball uniform in stock. Once you unlock the ballistic weave mod, Tinker Tom will sometimes have all of these except the Minuteman outfit in stock as well.
Finding a Minuteman outfit early on is simple enough. When you head into Concord for the first time and help Preston deal with the Minutemen, take a look around town.
Several Minutemen corpses are lying about, and one of them may be wearing the Minuteman outfit.
If you strike out in Concord, head for the Super-Duper Mart on the edge of nearby Lexington. Three dead Minutemen are inside and may have a Minuteman outfit.
After getting the ballistic weave mod, apply it to your clothing set of choice to give it a maximum of 110 Damage and Energy Resistance. You won’t find anything better to wear in the Commonwealth.
Early on, your go-to outfit will be your +1 Charisma eyewear, +1 Charisma headwear, and any +2 Charisma outfit. Later in the game, you’ll be making the transition to the green shirt and combat boots with Sharp armor.
Sharp armor gives +1 Charisma and Intelligence per piece. With 5 Sharp armor pieces and Charisma-boosting glasses, headwear, and a green shirt and combat boots, you can have a +8 Charisma outfit. If you really want to save on your carry weight, you can make this outfit your primary armor loadout.
What About Bandanas and Outfits?
Largely useless. Bandanas are purely cosmetic and don’t add to your offensive or defensive prowess. Dogmeat looks better in them than you do anyway.
The only outfit worth mentioning is the Silver Shroud armor. It’s actually a pretty good set of armor early on, with 42 Damage and Energy Resistance and 15% damage reduction from humans.
When fully upgraded, the resistances go to 87 apiece. However, that requires level 45, and you’ll have way better by that point.
Question: Can you use the ballistic weave mod on companion’s clothing?
Answer: Yes. You can take your companions’ default clothing (But not all, like Preston), apply the ballistic weave mod, and give it back to them.
Question: When should I go get the ballistic weave mod?
Answer: MrkIV is when the Damage and Energy Resistance gets really strong, and you only need Armorer rank 3 (Which you can get at level 25) to unlock it. Ballistic fiber is what will probably bottleneck you early on.
Question: Are Vault jumpsuits worth wearing for combat?
Answer: Before you get the ballistic weave mod, the Vault jumpsuit will give you better Energy Resistance than any other set of clothing if you upgrade it. But once you get the ballistic weave mod, Vault suits will have outlived their usefulness. But if you want to go pure defense in the early game, go with your Vault 11 suit.
Now that you know all the best clothing in Fallout 4, you’re ready to take on the Commonwealth. Or at least, when people or things hit you in the face or other parts of your body, you’ll be able to take the hits. Rocky would be proud.
You’ve got the best wardrobe your bottlecaps can buy or eyes can find, but you still need weapons to handle what the wasteland throws at you. Luckily, weapons are far more diverse in terms of effectiveness, and you aren’t as limited in options as you are with clothing.
I could tell you what the best weapons out there are, but part of the fun is causing mayhem with as many weapons you can get your hands on. Don’t let me keep you.
Until next time, this is Xavier from Wasteland Gamers, signing off.