The Greyman (also sort of looks like my Jr. High prom date)
You can read URBAN SURVIVAL: The Greyman PART 1 HERE
In our other Greyman articles we primarily covered what not to do if you are trying to look Grey. For this article we are going to show you what to do (clothing wise) when going for the Greyman look. Over the years I have figured out the different types of Grey clothing that best works for me when concealing gear and weapons.
The Greyman isn’t a must do for everyday life; I understand in our community wearing the latest TAD jacket is a fashion statement. This article is to give you a few pointers for those times when you don’t want to look like a guy who has been to 20 tactical training classes, is carrying a gun and generally looks like someone on safari.
When would you want to blend in as just a regular guy?
In my opinion if you work in a 9 to 5 office gig being a Greyman at work is a wise decision. If you are the “go to guy” whenever your coworkers have a question about last nights episode of 24 or you show up to work every day in a ranger green TAD Jacket with morale patches all over it, well…
When that nice but quiet guy in accounting flips out you are the first person he Zaps, or even worse, he waits until you call in sick to go on his rampage.
And for some guys reading this going Greyman may be an occasional requirement for your job, you may be doing low profile EP work, conducting surveillance or you are an off-duty policeman going to the mall with his wife and kids.
Also (this has nothing to do with your job or personal safety) no man wearing a pair of slacks with 18 pockets, an AK-47 t-shirt, desert combat boots, a black Casio G-Shock and a baseball cap covered in Velcro and IR patches is going to get laid. Fo reals…
There are two of different ways you can go with Greyman clothing, buy clothing that is specifically made to conceal items or modify regular clothing.
Buy Clothing Specifically Made to Conceal Items
Scottvest clothing is more or less the 5.11 for techie nerds, their clothing is pretty fashionable, doesn’t even look remotely tactical and has a bunch of hidden pockets sewn in. I have recently become a Scottvest fanatic, and compared to tactical clothing prices you really won’t spend much more on Scottvest stuff then you will on TAD or 5.11.
Also, this is the only brand I know of made with tons of concealed pockets that looks Greyman and cool. One reader also pointed out a company called Vertx Tactical that sells Grey style clothing, I have not seen VT stuff in person but from the web page their clothing looks like a good option for Greyman clothing.
Modify Regular Clothing
Modifying non-tactical clothing is an easy and cheap way to add a few items of Greyman clothing to your wardrobe. I actually started doing this a long time ago back when I was a stinky hippie backpacker trekking through Southeast Asia as a way to hide a handcuff key (see the Expat Survival articles for an explanation on this) and to hide my money and passport.
A few things that your local tailor can do for you:
- Have the stock pockets removed and new larger and deeper ones sewn in (like the 5.11 pockets).
- Sew in Velcro pockets, mag pouches, knife pouches, ect. on the inside of your jacket.
- Have discreet pockets cut and sewn into your pants. These are basically cargo pants pockets without flaps that are sewn on the inside of your pants instead of the outside. You can also have mag pouches, knife pouches, ect. sewn into the concealed pockets.
- Sew in admin pouch features in your jacket pockets and in the hidden pockets on your pants.
When choosing colors go with earth tones and solid color schemes and stay away from highly branded clothing. Also Carhartt pants are great for looking grey when you need to wear really tough clothing.
A Note on T-Shirts: you can probably get away with wearing vintage trendy t-shirts because so many people wear them, but generally speaking you want to skip any t-shirts with text on them.
This is probably the #1 fail when people are trying to look Grey, buying or modifying clothing is completely defeated if you wear a pair of ninja black Hi-Tech boots. It actually isn’t really that hard to find Shoes that are as tough as tactical footwear yet look Grey.
I like Converse kicks when going Greyman, guys have climbed mountains and sailed around the world wearing these – I even wore them in Iraq sometimes. Converse are not only tough ass Shoes, they are reasonably priced and no one will even bat an eye at them.
If you need a pair of safety Shoes when going for the Greyman look I would suggest picking up a pair of steel-toed tennis Shoes from Wal-Mart. I used to wear steel-toed tennis kicks when doing low-profile Executive Protection gigs back in the States.
Caps and Hats
When going Greyman a ball cap is one of the most used items, it can conceal your features in 1 second (just put it on). Just about every surveillance class I have ever taken mentions ball caps as a must have item while tailing someone.
When choosing headgear for the Greyman look go with solid colored ball caps, or you can go to a sporting goods store and ask them what their top selling ball caps are, then choose the one that is the least loud.
Fedoras, panama hats, boonies and any other type of hat that you generally don’t see people wearing indoors are also out.
Jewelry and Watches
Jewelry is the easiest Greyman issue to address, do not wear any at all.
For watches: Just like clothing your watch should be low profile, so 86 the G-Shock or Rolex. The best Greyman watch is a Swatch, they are cheap, tough and no one will notice it.
As you can probably guess the riggers belt is out unless you have your untucked shirt over it, a simple leather belt is the ultimate Greyman belt. My leather LL Bean belt has outlasted all of my nylon belts; I have had it for over 15 years.
Carry the bare necessities for self defense
Unless you are a cop or PSD guy who is going Greyman for work, you do not need to carry enough weapons to single-handedly assault Mogadishu. A single compact handgun, one extra mag and one knife (all evenly distributed for weight) is more than enough when going Grey.
As most people reading this probably know, when you carry several weapons it will change the way you walk and your mannerisms. So in this case going Greyman isn’t just about dress, it is about the way you move. You also don't want to look like you have a 3rd arm growing under you coat.
As with any sort of tactical instruction or advice tailor the information to your environment. If tons of people in your town wear cargo pants then go with a non-tactical brand of cargos – if you are in the business district of your town wear a suit.
That’s about all I can think of Greyman clothing wise, if you guys have any suggestions please make a comment below.
~James G Founder - Editor in Chief
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.