1. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Cheap way to disguise yourself

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by agentkirb, May 19, 2012.

    I was thinking about this the other day and I wonder what would be a good cheap way to disguise yourself against people that know what you look like for a long period of time. I know stuff like special facial masks or plastic surgery work but those tend to be expensive. I'm thinking a lot cheaper like glasses, maybe wearing different clothing... is there anything I'm not thinking of?
     
  2. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    One of the best ways to disguise yourself if to lose something rather than add it. Beard, glasses, hair etc.

    Maybe you've faked a limp for ages and suddenly are walking well (or vv)
     
  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Hmmm... maybe the person normally wears glasses and has long hair but decided to cut his hair and wear contacts?
     
  4. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    Aye, it can work. To give you an example: after leaving a job I went back to see some friends and entered the lift (elevator, whatever) with someone I had worked alongside for ten years. He didn't recognise me until I said, "After you, Seamus," as we got out. The reason? I'd shaved off me beard.
     
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  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Change hair color and length. and clothing style. Gain or lose a few pounds, if there is time.

    But fashion changes and hair changes can really make someone look nearly unrecognizable. Many years ago, I didn't recognize one of my co-workers until he spoke. He had ditched his toupee.

    And when I shaved my beard, cut my shoulder length hair short, and started wearing button down shirts, I got stopped at the door and asked who I was there to see. At a company with 80 people.
     
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  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for men:
    shave or stop shaving

    for women:
    change makeup drastically [or start/stop using it]
    pad bra [or stop wearing one

    for anyone:
    drastic change of clothing style
    pad a layer of underclothes [or wear girdle to change body shape]
    dye hair
    drastic change of hair style [wigs, or natural]
    tweeze eyebrows into different shape
    put a lift in one shoe to change the way you walk
    wear clear glasses [or stop wearing them, if possible... if not, change the style drastically]
    tuck padding inside cheeks
    wear hats you'd never have worn before
    carry items you'd never have carried [briefcase; tote bag; backpack; etc.]
     
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  7. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    See, when I first thought about this I was thinking that normally people go with the obviously fake mustache and glasses disguise. But for a serious story where they are around the guy for a few days that might not work. I never even considered actually growing or shaving off facial hair. And this wasn't mentioned but your comments made me think of something else: working out. Surely if you suddenly put on muscle that you didn't have before, it would be harder for someone to recognize you.

    I wonder what things could be done about the voice though. Because I noticed in two replies the thing that gave you up to the person that didn't recognize you was that you spoke. Although... perhaps in a story I could just ignore that aspect entirely and no one would think about that because it's all text with no sound.
     
  8. bo_7md
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    bo_7md Member

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    Well, it depends on how long do you want the disguise to last, and how long do you have to prepare.

    1- The face: a broken nose would do the trick just fine and costs nothing. The swelling around the nose and eyes will be enough to give you a different look for a few days. Throw in a beard, a mustache and shave your head. I just saved you the cost of a face reconstruction surgery there LoL.

    2-The Voice: If you have enough time you can train yourself to speak at a different tone than your natural one. Voice actors do it all the time. If you don't have time, just scream as high as you can until you get a sore throat or strain your vocal cords, this will give your voice a nice raspy effect.

    Bo-
     
  9. Silhouette
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    Silhouette Member

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    For men I think wearing those shoes with lifts in them could be a useful element in a disguise. If you're scanning a crowd for someone you know then you're probably just thinking of the highlights (height, weight, coloring, and basic shape) so changing those would throw someone off long enough for the character to escape a sticky situation. And people so rarely think of men being able to change their height.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    One time I was hired at a company smaller than that. When I was hired, I had long hair (my hair is curly, so it was really just very bushy) and a full beard. One weekend I got a haircut and shaved off my beard. Monday morning I got three different reactions from the first three co-workers I saw.

    1) Hey! Didn't you used to have a beard?
    2) Hey! You look good without the beard. Like you're younger!
    3) Who are you? (This was from my boss.)

    Shaving a beard off and getting a haircut may fool some people, but others might not even really notice.
     
  11. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Well, for what I was thinking of the disguise would be used for like an "undercover boss" situation where this person has to work with people that know what he looks like for a few days.
     
  12. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    The best way to disguise oneself is both the cheapest and most difficult. Your soul. Change it. Adopt a personality foreign to yourself and start to believe in it. Do things you don't normally do, and cease the ones you do. It helps if you pick a specific alternate personality, like say a jock type for a nerd or a person who cares more about fashion than your current self. Imitate a specific person, if it helps. Walk differently. Adopt a slouch. Develop an interest in something unlike yourself.

    I read a book about a woman who disguised herself as a man, and because she adopted male habits, it took very little physical appearance changes in the end to make her seem like a male to others. The downside is that...well, let's just say her next book ended up being about mental asylums. But naturally, a character in your book might not need to be that extreme.
     
  13. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Even cheaper than a wig should be completely shaving the hair off. You might have seen a person many times but you haven't seen his/her head shape. I know, surprisingly true. This with a set of false tooth to alter his facial structure and speaking manner should do the trick.
     
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  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't overlook a change in hair color along with hair style.
     
  15. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Get a really dark spray on tan.
     
  16. Afion
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    Afion Senior Member

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    Get loads of cheap heavy make-up, fake tan, false eyelashes, bad taste clothes and so on. Go somwhere where everyone has similar bad taste so you blend in. If the person you're hiding from knows you as a serious person, they'll never recognise you ;)
     
  17. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    i gotta admit, this made me laugh, i shaved my beard off a while back and i didnt get any comments. After 2 days of not having the beard one of my co workers did say number 1.
     
  18. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Use a wheelchair. Many people will just think of you as 'the wheelchair guy'. And it disguises your height as well. You could have him or a family member have suffered a temporary injury that required a wheelchair (like breaking both legs) and just never got around to getting rid of the wheelchair. Or have an elderly wheelchair-using relative who died and the wheelchair is still among his/her stuff.

    Probably wouldn't fool people for long, though, but if you mix it with changing your hair, using a different voice and so forth, it could work.

    Plus you could work in commentary about people's reactions to disability.
     
  19. Helmsing
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    Helmsing Member

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    Using a wheelchair, depending on the area of usage, may draw more attention than wanted. Gimmicks draw attention, less is better. Shaved head, broken nose, plucked eyebrows, simple little things will serve best.
     
  20. Robert Donnell
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    Robert Donnell New Member

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    Beards!

    I find that beards make you unrecognizable, change your hair length, clothing style. Go to Goodwill and buy nice clothes or grubby inappropriate clothes, this costs little. Change your hangouts and location city. Change your car, sell your nice car and buy a junker that nobody would notice. One day you are a powerful mobster in a nice suit and driving a Lexis, the next you are a hillbilly in coveralls driving a pick-up truck with a scruffy beard. Or shave, get a nice hair cut and wear a suit, rent a nice car. Change the way you speak.
     

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