Fallout 4 Guide: Clothing And Armor – What To Wear and How to Wear It

In the Commonwealth, what you wear is as important as what you wield. Your clothing and armor are one of your best defenses against the radioactive terrain, providing boosts and bonuses that will greatly improve your performance as well as prevent damage in combat. With the proper strategy, you can build an outfit that boosts your character’s weaknesses and glorifies their strengths. In this guide, you’ll find out how.

Because the light armor and power armor systems now differ so greatly from the systems pre-Fallout 4, this guide will be divided into three sections.

Light Armor

Protecting your character’s body is now a more specific and thoughtful process than in Fallout games past. The midsection, head, and each quadrant can now be equipped independently with individual pieces of armor, each with their own boosts. These individual armor pieces can also be modified and upgraded, giving a far wider range of benefits than the bare bones “pants and shirt” system from before. They are also worn over a base, often a full body piece of clothing like Long Johns or a Vault suit, which have character bonuses of their own.

As with weapon modding, building settlement items, or crafting syringes, modifying armor will require loose component parts, which you can store in your settlement’s Workshop table for use across several types of crafting benches. One of the most commonly used items is leather, which you can typically find on Brahmin but also other types of Wasteland critters like Mole Rats, Deathclaws, and Yao Guai. Other items that are frequently needed include Adhesive, Cloth, Rubber, Cork, Ballistic Fiber, Fiberglass, Fiber Optics, Springs, and Oil.

Armor comes in three varieties, normal, Legendary, and Unique. Legendary items are dropped by Legendary-class enemies spawned randomly during combat. Uniques are items with specific stats that are obtained in specific scenarios, locations, or quests. There are six specific types of armors, Leather, Raider, Metal, Combat, Diamond City Guard and Vault Security. For the purposes of this guide I will omit details on the last two, as they are rare and thus impractical. The kind of armor you are using will determine some of the modifications you can make and each have three tiers indicating quality and strength: Regular, Sturdy, and Heavy.

A character of any level may break down an Armor item at a crafting table or remove or add basic mods, but the more beneficial mods will require the Armorer perk. There are many modifications available but here are some of the more notable ones:

Asbestos Lining 

Reduced Energy Damage and Immune to being set on Fire.   

Adhesive 6
Asbestos 6
Ballistic Fiber 6
Rubber 3

Armorer 1

Deep Pocketed   

Improved carrying capacity. +10 Carry Weight.    

Adhesive 6
Cloth 5
Leather 6

Armorer 2

Ultra-Light Build   

Greatly reduced weight and increased AP bonus. +10 AP. 

Adhesive 7
Cork 6
Fiberglass 8
Rubber 5

Armorer 3


Increases duration of chems 50%. 

Adhesive 8
Aluminum 12
Circuitry 8
Cloth 6

Armorer 4 Science 2

Stabilized (Arm Mod)

Scoped Aiming is more steady.

Adhesive 6
Aluminum 7
Fiber Optics 3
Spring 4

Armorer 2

Muffled (Leg Mod)

Reduces detection from moving.

Adhesive 6
Cloth 5
Rubber 7

Armorer 2

Sleek (Leg Mod)

Increased Movement Speed while sneaking.

Adhesive 8
Fiberglass 5
Oil 4
Rubber 10

Armorer 4

Custom Fitted (Leg Mod)

Sprinting takes less AP.

Adhesive 7
Leather 8
Rubber 4
Spring 5

Armorer 3

There are also some Unique varieties of light armor, and most of them are sold by vendors. Here are some of my favorites and how they can be obtained:

Freefall Armor Left Leg
Freefall Armor Right Leg

Prevents falling damage (both pieces must be worn).

Found on the top floor of the Mass Fusion building.

Mantis Left Greave

+1 PER
+1 AGL

Purchased from Lucas Miller.

Wastelander’s Chest Piece

+1 PER
+1 AGL

Purchased from Myrna (or Percy) at Diamond City Market.

Champion Left Arm

+1 STR
+1 END

Purchased from Lucas Miller.

Champion Right Arm

+1 AGL
+1 PER

Purchased from Becky Fallon in Fallon’s Basement.

Commando Chest Piece

Increases AP refresh speed.

Purchased from Proctor Teagan after joining the Brotherhood of Steel and killing Kellogg.

Destroyer’s Helmet

+1 CHR
+1 INT

Sold by Penny Fitzgerald in Covenant.

Destroyer’s Left Leg

Increases wearer’s movement speed by 10%.

Purchased from Daisy in Goodneighbor.

Destroyer’s Right Leg

Increases wearer’s movement speed by 10%.

Purchased from Alex Combes in Vault 81.

Black Ops Chestpiece

+1 STR
+1 END

Purchased from Deb in Bunker Hill.

Black Ops Right Shinguard

Increaser wearer’s movement speed by 10%.

Purchased from Deb in Bunker Hill.

Mark 2 Synth Chest Piece

Enemies have a harder time detecting you while you’re sneaking and not moving.

Sold by the Synth requisition officer in The Institute.

Mark 2 Synth Helmet

+1 PER
+1 AGL

Sold by the Synth requisition officer in The Institute.

Mark 3 Synth Right Arm

Increases Action Point refresh speed.

Sold by the Synth requisition officer in The Institute.

Mark 4 Synth Chest Piece

Enemies have a harder time detecting you while you’re sneaking and not moving.

Sold by Level 4 Workshop Armor Merchant.

Mark 4 Synth Left Leg

+2 LCK

Sold by Level 4 Workshop Armor Merchant.

Power Armor

Those who are familiar with the Power Armor system in Fallout 3 and New Vegas will find it has completely changed for Fallout 4. Power Armor is no longer an inventory item that can be equipped at any time. Rather, it operates as a mechanized suit. Power Armor can be worn over all over types of clothing and body armor, however the effects do not stack. Like the light armor, Power Armor is divided into six parts: helm, torso, right leg, left leg, right arm, left arm. The pieces do not have to match or belong to the same set, however they do have to be attached to a frame and cannot be worn independently. There are four types of Power Armor that can be obtained, T-45, T-51, T-60, and X-01 and they spawn depending on your level.

Power Armor can be modified two ways: through paint, and through body modifications using salvaged components. The ones available to you will depend largely on which type of Power Armor you are using. For instance, the T-51 model Power Armor is the only type that can apply the Railroad paint job, the Minutemen paint job is limited to the T-45. However sometimes other issues are a factor, like the Institute Paint, which is only available after completing the game on the Institute’s side. Power Armor is modified at a Power Armor Station, which are found all over the Wasteland, often at Red Rocket locations. They can also be built in settlements.

Power Armor requires a steady supply of fusion cores, which you can find in many buildings, typically highlighted with an overhead light of some kind, drawing attention to its location. They also spawn randomly in ammunition boxes in the Commonwealth. The fusion core give the the armor its power, and once it is depleted, the player becomes overburdened and cannot move quickly. Any actions that drain AP, like sprinting or using the jetpack (an item that can be modded onto your Power Armor), will also drain the fusion core. Both the charge of your fusion core and the amount of fusion cores you have in your inventory are shown in the Power Armor’s display.

Fusion core performance can be improved somewhat by collecting the Repair bobblehead, which will boost efficiency by 10%, or by investing in all subranks of the Nuclear Physicist perk, which will improve fusion core lifespan by 100%. The highest subrank of the perk will also allow the player to eject spent fusion cores from the suit, which land behind and act as an explosive device. If you’re in a jam and can’t find a fusion core, sentry bots often carry two or more fully charged ones. For a list of other places you can find them, check this section from the Wikia.

There are a few Unique Power Armor pieces, and you may find it worth the time to track these down:

T-60 Left Leg

Increases Action Point refresh speed.

Available for purchase from Proctor Teagan after achieving Paladin rank in the Brotherhood of Steel.

Visionary’s T-60c Helm
T-60 Helm

Increases Action Point refresh speed.

Given as a reward for completing A Loose End in favor of the Brotherhood of Steel.

Piezonucleic Power Armor

Radiation exposure increases Action Point refresh speed.

This piece will be any one of the four models of Power Armor, depending on what level you are when you complete the task necessary to earn it. You must go to the Cambridge Polymber Labs and talk to Molly, then track down a number of “unidentified samples” and a radioactive isotope to combine at a terminal, resulting in the Power Armor torso.

Clothing and Outfits

For the most part, the items you wear under the light armor pieces are not modifiable. However, upon completing the Jackpot missions for the Railroad, Tinker Tom will award you a ballistic weave mod, which allows you to strengthen and improve your clothing and outfits. Most, but not all, items can be improved. Many unique outfits cannot be altered. The selection of hats is also slim.

To improve your outfits with a ballistic weave mod, you will mostly need Adhesive, Ballistic Fiber, and Fiberglass. As explained in our guide, Adhesive can be made in massive quantities at settlement campfire with Corn, Mutfruit, and Tato. Ballistic Fiber comes from items like Military Grade Duct Tape, and Fiberglass can be found in items like Abraxo Cleaner and Telephones, the latter of which I suggest always collecting every time you see, as they also contain Copper.

Of the Unique outfits available in the Commonwealth, here are my favorites:

Agatha’s Dress/Reginald’s Suit

+3 to Charisma

Complete Curtain Call, the mission to rescue Rex Goodman from Trinity Tower, to receive this item.

DB Tech Varsity Outfit

+2 to Luck

Located in the DB Technical High School, on top of some lockers on the second floor.

Grognak Costume

+2 to Strength

Located in Hubris Comics on a shelf on the top floor.

Zeke’s Jacket and Jeans

+1 to Charisma
+4 to Unarmed

Do the two introductory quests for the Atom Cats to obtain this outfit.

For more complete stats on any of the above items and to get a more complete listing of the available armor, outfits, and clothing, check out the full article, complete with stat charts, over at the Fallout Wikia.