In another lifetime, I would have been a spy. Well, probably not—but a girl can dream, right? I can just picture myself in a slinky dress with a dark wig, sitting at a blackjack table and staring down some James Bond lookalike.

OK, so maybe I only want to dress like a secret agent. And after watching the new Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation trailer, who can blame me?

Just look at the chartreuse dress Rebecca Ferguson is wearing while she takes down bad guys. Secret agents get all the good outfits. Which is why I’ve put together four outfits inspired by the very best spy movies or television shows around:

Mission Impossible

Spy Style 1

There are only a few times in your life where you can get away with an all-leather look, but dressing like a Mission Impossible spy is certainly one of them. Black leather pants are a must for any spy, paired with a chic crop top, ankle boots and dark red lipstick. A lighter leather jacket breaks up the dark palate, while still looking kick-ass.


Spy Style 3

I am such a sucker for this 1940s Hitchcock flick about a woman who goes undercover to seduce a bad guy—all while madly in love with Cary Grant. Ingrid Bergman has the best style as Alicia: lots of menswear, hats, striped shirts and plunging necklines. Try this modern take with a Bardot-style striped top, retro accessories and a midi skirt to add a pop of color.


Spy Style 2

Sydney Bristow is one of the classiest spies of all time. Sure, in her downtime she wears jeans, but her missions are all about sophisticated dresses, sky-high pumps and a plethora of brightly colored wigs. Oh, and we can’t forget the lingerie. This girl often spent more time out of her clothes than in them. Do Bristow proud in a tight sheath dress with leather details. Just don’t forget to manic-panic that hair for any top secret missions.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Spy Style 4

So he might not be the most serious spy around, but everyone loves the frozen-in-time English spy. This psychedelic look is a nod to Powers’ 1960s roots, with a brightly colored mod dress, round-framed glasses and white platform sandals. Very groovy.

Recommended reading:

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (Candlewick)

the agencyThe first book in The Agency series, A Spy in the House follows orphan Mary Quinn after she’s offered a spot at Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. It’s the 1850s, London, and the academy is actually a secret all-female unit called The Agency, where young girls are trained to become spies. Her first mission sends her into the world of a rich merchant and Mary must use all her detective skills to solve a mystery, stay alive, and yes, fall in love.