Skip to main content

DIY "A Clockwork Orange" Costume: How to Dress Like Alex's Droogs

I'm a film buff, men's stylist, writer, and general renegade.

Learn how to look like Malcolm McDowell's character from the film.

Learn how to look like Malcolm McDowell's character from the film.

Make a Droog Outfit for Halloween or Cosplay

A Clockwork Orange is one of the most iconic movies of the 20th century. It's as disturbing as it is beautiful—truly one of Stanley Kubrick's greatest films. The main characters in the movie, including Alex (Malcolm McDowell), are part of a gang of street thugs called droogs. The droogs dress in unusual attire, which I will cover piece-by-piece so you can have the best droog Halloween costume on the block. (Actually, I kind of hope you'll have the only one on the block.) I'll go from the top of the head all the way down to the shoes and accessories.

Alex's costume on display for an exhibit at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Alex's costume on display for an exhibit at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The Bowler Hat

Bowler hats are round and are not the same as top hats or fedoras. You can usually find them at costume shops, but failing that, they are also on eBay. Get one in black: It has to be black.

A Banded Collar Shirt

First, get a plain white crewneck t-shirt. Avoid any shirts with logos or other marks on them; you just want your shirt to be white. Even an undershirt will work. On top of that, you'll wear a white banded collar shirt.

Banded collar shirts are kind of rare, but you can find them with a little searching. As you can see in the photos, a banded collar is not the same as the collar on a typical dress shirt. If you know a tailor, you could have a regular dress shirt collar made into a banded collar, but that might be more expensive than just buying a new banded collar shirt.

White Pants

For pants, just go with white. White jeans will work, but chef pants would work even better. Even white dress pants will do. Try to match your pants with your shirt, but it doesn't have to be perfect. If your pants are an off-white or light beige they might look odd when paired with the white shirt, so make sure the pants are truly white.

White Suspenders

You can get these on eBay, but if you're in a rush, just call your local tuxedo shop and ask them if they have any they'd be willing to sell you.

The Codpiece

The hardest part of this costume (literally and figuratively) is the codpiece. If you play a lot of cricket, you might already own one, but chances are you do not. Codpieces just aren't very popular anymore. You might be able to find one at a store that stocks cricket equipment. Failing that, check eBay. If you can't find one there, you'll have to make one.

Black Military Boots

You can find decent black combat boots at any army surplus store. There are plenty of good military surplus stores online as well. You're going to tuck those white pants into these shoes, which is why they need to be military-style boots that come up well past your ankle.

Fake Eyelashes

Alex wore fake eyelashes, and so should you. Ask one of your female friends how to put them on. If they're nice, they'll even go to the store with you to buy them to avoid any embarrassing moments.

Eyeball Cuffs

Alex wore bloody eyeball decorations on his shirt cuffs. You can make them by cutting a white ping pong ball into two pieces and using markers to make them look like eyeballs.

To get the blood effect, I've used glue mixed with red food coloring. (Use Google Image Search to see what it should look like.) If you don't want to ruin the cuffs of your shirt, you can make it in a non-stick pan and then just use white tape to carefully attach it to your cuff.

The Cane

Some people forget about the cane, but you won't be one of them. The cane Alex uses in the movie is sometimes called a shillelagh (pronounced shuh-LAY-la), but it's also referred to as a walking stick or bata stick. Just make sure it's black, thin, and straight.

Fun Fact: Shillelaghs were actually banned in England because the Irish were known to use them while fighting, so the sticks were lengthened and called batas (or just walking sticks).

A Blond Wig (Optional)

Alex has dirty blond hair with a bit of a curl to it. It's long but not quite shoulder length. This piece isn't absolutely necessary because you'll be wearing a bowler cap, but it's a nice touch.

The droogs in their full costume.

The droogs in their full costume.

Your Droog Costume Is Complete!

Now take some pictures of yourself and upload them so we can all see how you did!


C.J. Wright on January 06, 2011:

I haven't thought of that movie in years. I seriously doubt I've ever seen it sober!