How to Dress Like a Spy

Three Methods:Dressing as a Contemporary SpyDressing in Tactical Spy AttireDressing to Perform Real World Surveillance

You can imitate a classic spy appearance with trench coats, trousers, and tuxedos, or you might upgrade to a contemporary look with a tactical turtleneck, like fictional secret agent Sterling Archer.[1][2] The fact is, there are many ways you can achieve your undercover appeal, Mr. Bond. It doesn't matter if you're trying to reproduce the style of your favorite spy character, or perform your own undercover surveillance, with some tips, you'll soon be dressed like a proper secret agent.

Method 1
Dressing as a Contemporary Spy

  1. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 1
    Groom your hair. Spies have been known to be smooth operators and suave characters.[3][4] If you are a male spy, you might try to style elegant whiskers or grow some roguish scruff to increase your charm. Ladies might achieve the same effect by styling a sleek, extravagant hairdo.
  2. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 2
    Keep your trench coat handy. Not only will these protect you from the elements, the cover offered from the high collar of your trench coat makes this garment iconic among spies. High quality, fitted jackets, will earn you style points and perhaps a nod of approval from James Bond himself.[5]
  3. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 3
    Dress to the nine's in your best evening wear. It is a spy's job to discover the secrets of high level dignitaries and political figures. If you are a man, this means you'll need your best tuxedo to fit in at black-tie political events. Female spies can infiltrate events with elegant dresses and evening gowns.
    • Think about having your clothing tailored so that everyone knows at a glance you are a genteel and cosmopolitan individual.
  4. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 4
    Be prepared for every weather condition. James Bond and Sterling Archer both have skied down slopes to escape or pursue their foes.[6][7][8] Famous spy John Steed from the classic spy TV show The Avengers is rarely seen without his iconic umbrella.[9][10]
  5. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 5
    Have an ace up your sleeve. Spies are equipped with innovative gadgets to outwit the countermeasures of their enemies. In ancient China, hollow bamboo staves were used by agents of the Roman Empire to smuggle out the priceless silkworms of the Chinese Empire.[11] You might consider carrying a book with a hiding place for an important tool, a multi-purpose umbrella, or belt-grappling hook to help you in your spy activities.

Method 2
Dressing in Tactical Spy Attire

  1. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 6
    Make black your only option. This color is perfect for blending into the darkness of the night. It will help you evade detection while you infiltrate enemy facilities. Stick with close fitting, durable clothing that will protect you yet not get in your way.
  2. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 7
    Clip carabiners to your utility belt or climbing harness. Weight tested carabiner clips can save your life if you need to scale a wall or climb a cliff face. And you can store valuable on-the-job spy tools, like handcuffs and binoculars, on a utility belt. Both utility belt and climbing harness, along with the things you might carry with these, are useful additions to your spy kit.
  3. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 8
    Disguise your face with a mask of your choice.[12] Some spies prefer the anonymity of a plain ol' ski-mask. Other spies like to disguise themselves a little more comically, and sometimes chose to wear masks imitating infamous characters. Whichever suits your preference, a mask can protect your identity while out on operation.
  4. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 9
    Equip a headlamp or goggles. A spy utilizes every part of his body for optimal tactical advantage. This includes his head. By wearing goggles, you can protect your eyes from dust while crawling through duct systems. A headlamp, on the other hand, can provide vital light without costing you a hand to hold it.
    • For greater functional authenticity, you might visit an army surplus store to purchase a pair of night vision goggles, or purchase similar vision enhancing gear through an online retailer.
  5. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 10
    Acquire gadgets to nullify security concerns. Access to certain areas will likely be restricted to certain areas that you, as a spy, need to get into. You'll need learn how to crack a safe and bring along any safe-cracking tools you might need, like a stethoscope to hear the tumblers of a lock fall into place.

Method 3
Dressing to Perform Real World Surveillance

  1. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 11
    Take note of your ordinary appearance. While performing your surveillance, you'll want any and every notable feature of your normal appearance disguised in some way. Looking in the mirror, write down any features of yours that you believe might draw attention, and also any feature that you've been complimented on or that others might think prominent.
    • For example, bright red or platinum blonde hair might make you more memorable and easier to spot, which is the last thing you want while performing surveillance.
    • Features of yours that are complimented by others are generally unique, and these might be used to identify you if you don't make efforts at concealment.
  2. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 12
    Alter your complexion. One of the first things people notice when looking at someone else is skin tone. By changing the color of your skin with the right self-tanning product or a little powder, you can make yourself look more nondescript. Aim for a color that you might describe as "plain" or "unremarkable."
    • Whatever changes you make to your face must be applied to other visible parts of your body. If you only apply self-tanner to your face, you might stick out more than you did before altering your skin tone.
  3. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 13
    Choose appropriate clothing. Before you go out on your mission, research what others will be wearing. If you're attending a formal event or a dinner at a nice restaurant, fancier dress is in order. But if your operation takes place at a cartoon character convention, you might blend in better with a graphic t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
  4. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 14
    Invest in the right footwear. Although seven inch heels might match your elegant gown during your infiltration at a political event, these may be a liability if your cover is blown and you have to make a break for it. The same goes for men in wing-tipped shoes or other dress footwear; smooth soled shoes might make traversing a roof, a time-honored spy tradition, treacherous.
    • Take your time finding footwear that matches your disguise and is also highly functional in various environments.
  5. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 15
    Have a purse or bag to consolidate your spy gear. A purse with a hidden pouch is an excellent way to smuggle around important spy tools, like a set of lock-picks or infrared sensor revealing spray. Men dressed in suits and ties might look less natural wearing a backpack loaded with mission equipment, but stashing this backpack in an accessible hiding spot at your mission location can put valuable tools at your disposal.
  6. Image titled Dress Like a Spy Step 16
    Cultivate an unobtrusive persona. Have a simple story ready that explains who you are and why you are at the mission location. This will come in handy if someone engages you in conversation while you are on mission. Try not to make up any tall tales or include any personal details. Your goal is to be as ordinary and unmemorable as possible.


  • Though the classic image of a spy is cool, calculated, and stylish, the true goal of a spy is to go about mission activity unnoticed.


  • If you are actually performing surveillance, be aware that some people consider this behavior to be questionable ethically, and it may be looked at as a violation of privacy.
  • Actually breaking in to a person's home or stealing private, personal, or government secrets may carry legal punishment. If you are caught in the act of espionage, you may be charged millions of dollars of fees, or given the death penalty.[13][14]

Article Info

Categories: Spying