Clothing for a Mystery Detective

Clothing for a Mystery Detective

You may have heard the old saying, “Clothes make the man or woman.” What you wear says a lot about you and, for many a profession, certain attire goes with the job. After all in all those cop shows when the officer is placed on suspension, what does their boss ask for? "Your badge and gun.”

So let’s think about some of the classic articles of clothing that are attached to the infamous detective. These days, a detective really can wear anything, but there have been certain items over the years that many a classic detective donned before heading out to solve the case.

  1. The Trench coat - A waterproof coat made of heavy fabric. The coat was first worn by British Military officers during the first World War, where the war was fought in the trenches. Over the years, we have spied these classic coats worn by movie/literary detective Sam Spade, Columbo, and Inspector Gadget.

  2. A Deerstalker - this is a hat with a lid in the front and back. We can often spot a little bow on top and in a variety of plaids. Only one detective probably wore this chapeau, but he might be the most famous literary detective of them all, Sherlock Holmes.

  3. The Fedora - is a hat often characterized with the centre creased and a soft felt exterior. First worn by women in the late 1800s, it soon became a staple for many men. We can see it on the likes of movie characters like Indiana Jones with a hat band just above the rim. For the classic detective, it completes the outfit when wearing the trench coat mentioned above.

  4. Hats - whether to provide a disguise, protect your head from the elements or just part of your fashionable ensemble, many detectives have worn a variety of headwear. I’ve mentioned the two most significant ones above, but the list wouldn’t be complete without the Bowler worn by Sherlock Holmes partner Dr. Watson. A Homburg hat worn by the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot created by Agatha Christie, or a wool hat decorated with a hatband or fake flowers worn by another Agatha Christie detective, Miss. Jane Marple. Another one that has been spotted on the big screen is the trilby hat worn by Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series.

  5. Pipe/Cigarette/Stick of Gum - while not an actual article of clothing, it’s hard not to mention this accessory that has accompanied many a detective. The most notable is the unusual pipe that Sherlock Holmes has, the Gourd Calabash pipe. Whether it was a choice earlier in life or something to do while on a stake out we can spot many a detective with something in their mouth.

So what article of clothing do you think best defines a private detective?

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