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How to dress like Hunter S. Thompson

Updated on October 28, 2011

Hunter S. Thompson - Fashion Icon ?

Hunter S. Thompson, the writer known for his drug-fueled stories of the Hell's Angels and a wacky trip to Las Vegas, was also known for wearing some rather bizarre outfits. Even before his death in 2005, the Hunter S. Thompson costume was becoming popular among college students on Halloween. I'll tell you exactly how to put together the perfect Hunter S. Thompson outfit.

The classic Hunter pose
The classic Hunter pose

The face

There are a couple trademark HST items we see in the picture to the right. First of all, you've got to have the sunglasses. In the picture Hunter is wearing aviator sunglasses, which he owned many pairs of. You'll be most recognizable as the Good Doctor if you wearing yellow or orange aviators. You may have noticed Johnny Depp wearing orange aviators in the movie version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Another trademark item in the photo is the cigarette filter on the cigarette. I've seen people try to pull off the HST costume with just a cigarette, and it doesn't work. Hunter just didn't smoke that way, so it looks unnatural.

If you really want to pull off the Hunter Thompson look, you'll need to be balding or shave your head so it looks like you are. The one way around this is to have short hair and just wear a hat, which we'll get into below.

Hunter with visor
Hunter with visor

The visor

If you're balding and want to show off the top of your head, you can wear one very recognizable Hunter Thompson fashion item: the green visor. These visor are very popular in Las Vegas gift shops and can be found on eBay. He didn't wear these all the time, but Johnny Depp does wear one in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and there are pictures of Thompson wearing one when he was in Vegas living out the adventure that he would turn into the book.

Shorts, shoes, and accessories

In this photo we see Hunter enjoying himself on the beach -- and a few things you should pick up for your costume: short shorts (these were popular in the 1970s, during Hunter's prime), a shirt with a wacky print on it (you can probably get away with a Hawaiian shirt) Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoes (the low cut, not the high tops), and the leather cuff bracelet.

Hunter wasn't particularly known for his jewelry, but he did sometimes sport things like a necklace made of shark's teeth and stuff like that. I think he was trying to show off the outdoorsman that he was, and also it was a subtle nod to one of his idols, Ernest Hemingway. 

Hunter on the beach
Hunter on the beach
An older Hunter Thompson at home
An older Hunter Thompson at home


When he wasn't wearing a visor, Hunter could often be seen wearing what's called a safari hat. These hats have a brim that goes all the way around the hat. The shirt that Hunter is wearing in this photo is called a safari shirt, and you can find them at places like The Gap. The shirt isn't really considered a trademark item but it is something he wore a lot, especially later in his life.

Are you planning on dressing up like Hunter Thompson this year?

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      RevolutionEVOLVE 3 years ago

      HST was an amazing whirlwind of unpredictability. The suicide was not part of that. He always said it was how he wanted to go out...not a gun to head of course-that wasn't his style.

      Quote: “My concept of death for a long time was to come down that mountain road at 120 and just keep going straight right there, burst out through the barrier and hang out above all that . . . and there I’d be, sitting in the front seat, stark naked, with a case of whiskey next to me and a case of dynamite in the trunk . . . honking the horn, and the lights on, and just sit there in space for an instant, a human bomb, and fall down into that mess of steel mills. It’d be a tremendous goddam explosion. No pain. No one would get hurt. I’m pretty sure, unless they’ve changed the highway, that launching place is still there. As soon as I get home, I ought to take the drive just to check it out.”

      He did make mention in an interview that because of the popularity of the Duke character, that is who people expect Hunter to be when they met him. I got to the point were he had begun to question who he really was. This would not have been enough to prompt killing himself- after all he spent most of his life forgetting who he was.

      What it came down to involved his skills as a writer, the path the world seemed to be headed ( the events surrounding 9/11 hit him pretty hard), and probably the biggest factor was his terminal cancer.

      All of that just accounts for the timing- suicide was his escape plan of choice.

      I miss him very much

    • profile image

      Thought Criminal 6 years ago

      @Duo1 Dude you're a fucking moron.

      This is Thompson's suicide note:

      "No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt"

      While what John64 said isn't his reason for suicide it's totally believable. Becoming as popular as Thompson did would most certainly get in the way of his style of journalism.

    • profile image

      Duo1 6 years ago

      @john46 how do you know why he did what he did? you don't. So shut up.

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      John46 6 years ago

      @kosmo big shame he chose to commit suicide. He had been saying in interviews for quite a few years beforehand that he 'had been getting in the way a bit'. He felt that due to popularity he couldn't properly report a story - he obviously got involved in a story to the point whereby it was his story. (this is the essence of gonzo)- however he said that his persona raoul duke was so instantly recognisable that he would have stories follow him and would be unable to step back and report it.

      @maximille he didn't take the drugs for any mind enhancing or expansion purposes at all inhis own words (as duke) he took them simply 'to get completely and totally twisted, nothing more'.

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      wondering... 6 years ago

      what about the watch? anybody know?

    • I am DB Cooper profile image

      I am DB Cooper 7 years ago from Whereabouts unknown at this time

      What you're looking for is generally called a leather cuff bracelet. Just Google "leather cuff fear and loathing in las vegas" and you'll find a few varieties that are very close to what Johnny Depp's character wore in the movie.

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      Edwaerd Garcia 7 years ago

      Do any of you know where I can find the Hunter Thompson Leather Bracelet he wore in the movie? I've been looking for it like crazy. Thanks

    • bibi16 profile image

      Bibi 7 years ago from Phoenix Arizona

      I don't know if I could pull it off, but i have the wardrobe, most of it anyway. Thanks. BB16

    • I am DB Cooper profile image

      I am DB Cooper 7 years ago from Whereabouts unknown at this time

      Take regular khaki shorts and cut them so they're about 8 inches above the knee. It's ok if the cut is messy; it's not like Hunter went to a tailor for this type of thing.

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      Smersh 7 years ago

      Where can i get zeese shorts?

    • maximille profile image

      maximille 7 years ago

      He had a strange taste, from his mind enhancing use of substances to the color of his clothes. He sure hell was a character.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 7 years ago from California

      Hunter S. Thompson was certainly a character, and definitely one of the most foul-mouthed and drug-addled writers of all time. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is definitely a classic. At some point, I'll have to check out Depp's interpretation. Too bad Hunter committed suicide, though I guess he thought his time was up. Moreover, I like the idea behind this hub. Later!