The life of a spy is dangerous and unpredictable, but one constant always remains: a killer uniform paired with a confident demeanor. From James Bond to Eli Cohen in the new Netflix series ‘The Spy’, these spies can be instantly recognized by their crisp suits. Even if your job doesn’t involve going undercover to save your country, you can still easily mimic a spy’s coolness by copying the look.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Eli had a drastic makeover upon starting his new job. In the beginning of the series, he wore a humble short sleeve shirt and trouser combination while working as an office clerk. It wasn’t long until he was rocking a sleek 3 piece suit on his first mission, with a new self-assured persona to match. Cohen’s spy wardrobe is proof of the power of a good suit, even if your job description doesn’t involve covert undercover missions. Whether you’re starting a new job, are looking to get a promotion, or just want to stand out at an upcoming special event, look to the spies for inspiration.
Eli Cohen’s first task as a spy was to dress the part. After being picked up by an associate on his first mission, he’s taken to a safeplace and is immediately led to a wardrobe full of crisp tailoring. After a brief moment of consideration, he reaches for a pinstriped shirt and a classic charcoal 3 piece suit, which he accessorizes with a simple white pocket square and a patterned tie matching the overall color palette.
The typical grey Suit of The Spy
|GREY WOOL SUIT||WHITE STRIPED SHIRT|
Another essential part of the spy lifestyle? Scoping out the elite at exclusive parties - black tie dress code, of course! This makes a tuxedo a must-have in a spy’s closet. Cohen opts for a half and half combination by pairing a white round lapel jacket with black trousers. He makes a statement by neatly tucking his bowtie underneath his shirt collar, instead of going for a traditional knot.
White Tuxedo of Sacha Baron Cohen
|WHITE TUXEDO||WHITE SHIRT|
Throughout the rest of the series, we get a good sense of Cohen’s dress sense. He prefers clean lines, slim cuts, and classic colors: grey, beige, burgundy and blue always paired with a crisp white shirt. He never forgets the finishing touches - ties and pocket squares - which is where he can add a subtle but poignant print. The series is set in the 1960s, but all of his looks remain relevant today. Even having one well-tailored suit is an essential for every man. It’s an item that will keep you looking smart for decades, and you’ll never have to worry about it going out of style.
The Red Suit of the Spy
|RED SUIT||WHITE SHIRT|
Styling Tips From The Spy
‘The Spy’ has a riveting plot line based on true events, but the styling is so good it’ll make you momentarily forget about Syrian-Israeli conflicts. Men should take note for their everyday wardrobes, even if you don’t have to wear a suit regularly.
The Blue Suit of the Spy
|DARK BLUE SUIT||WHITE STRIPED SHIRT|
- Stick to the basics. Cohen has a range of classic suits for every occasion. This is perfect for a life on the run, but it’s also relevant to building a strong wardrobe for us regular guys. If you have a job that requires a suit, or if you find yourself attending a lot of special events, have a nice range of two and three piece suits in your arsenal. Avoid patterns if you’re not 100% sure about them. They’re investment pieces, but that just means that they’re built to last.
- Know which colors and fits work for you. Cohen sticks solid colors that complement his skin tone. If you’re not into mixing and matching suits, that’s perfectly fine because sticking to solids is always a safe bet. Cohen has an olive skin tone, so he goes for warm tones like beige and burgundy. Those with lighter tones often look great in shades of blue, and those with darker skin tones can play around with deeper tones like navy and dark red. Same goes for fit - know what works for your body. Nothing is worse than an ill-fitting suit! Cohen has a long and lanky build, so he sticks to slim fits that look proportionate to his body. Larger guys might want some more room, but make sure the suit doesn’t look baggy.
- Pay attention to detail. A suit is a pretty simple outfit when you think about it - it’s a jacket, a shirt, and trousers. Small details and accessories will make you look polished and stand out. Always add a little something, like a tie or pocket square. This is where you can add pattern, but always make sure it fits in with your color scheme. If you’re not sure how to make a color scheme, just choose a tie that’s several shades lighter or darker than your suit. Leave the crazy prints to your eccentric uncle and stick to a classic pattern, like stripes, diamonds, or checks. And always make sure your grooming is impeccable: your shirt/waistcoat is neatly buttoned and tucked in, your trousers are belted, etc. Spy rule number 1: remember that someone is always watching you closely.
- Be confident. The key to pulling off a suit? Confidence! You’ve spent a lot of time and effort in finding the perfect suit and you look amazing, so own it. If you have to create an alter ego in your head, that’s perfectly fine.
Maybe you’ll never experience the thrill of being a spy, but you can definitely look the part. Copy the look with Hockerty!