How to Dress Like Norman Bates

Bates Motel Norman Bates

In the A&E TV series, Bates Motel, Norman Bates is portrayed as a modern day, teenage version of his 1960’s Psycho counterpart. While Norman may have many citizens of White Pine Bay, Oregon fooled by his sweet and innocent charm, we quickly learn that his complicated relationship with his beloved mother will lead him down the dark path toward insanity.

​Norma’s need to protect Norman from his blackouts and appear “normal” is reflected in his style throughout the series. Norman’s style may be seen as more sophisticated than a typical teenager. This refined style is all part of his persona to fit in and appear as responsible and good-natured as possible.

His style is comprised of a button down shirt, with or without a sweater or jacket, paired with khakis, loafers, and his messenger bag. His style is classic and comfortable and could easily be incorporated into your everyday attire.

Clothing Purchasing Guide

We recommend:

Jackets & Sweaters

Shirts

Pants & Shoes

Norma Outfit, Watch, & Bag

Norman's style overview:

  • Collared shirts
  • Sweaters & vests
  • Slacks

Norman's Jackets

Bates Motel Norman Bates gray pea coat

As a teenage boy, Norman spends many of his days in high school. As stated before, Norman knows he is different and is always trying to fit in. His school style is classic, casual, and inconspicuous.

For a jacket to match this everyday school look, try this army green jacket from season 3 episode 1.​

​For a more sophisticated look, Norman will wear his gray pea coat. Check out this one, which is almost an exact match from the coat seen in season 4 episode 6.

This episode takes place during Norman’s time at Pineview, a psychiatric institution where he was committed to try and control his blackouts.

The other patients and families in this scene can be seen wearing more upscale clothing as well, as opposed to the dirty county mental hospital where Norman was originally taken. This is exactly the image Norma is trying to portray; to fit in with a crowd where they normally don’t belong.

Norman's Shirts & Sweaters

Many of Norman’s looks involve several layers. While we covered the outerwear in the previous section, the main staple in any of Norman’s layered outfits would be a button down shirt.

He tends to choose neutral colors in any of the layers. Also, when wearing a button down on its own, he is more likely to choose a plaid or striped pattern.

A perfect example of a stand-alone button down would be something similar to this black and white plaid shirt in season 2 episode 7.​

In order to achieve a complete Norman outfit we need to build some layers. You can either choose a plaid or striped pattern button down (like the black and white one mentioned previously) or this plain blue button down.​

Sweaters​

If you pair the plain blue button down with this navy blue sweater, you will achieve Norman’s look from season 3 episode 9! This episode and outfit really personify Norma’s plans to “normalize” their family to the outside eye - as she is seen throwing away Norman’s taxidermy in order to deter any notion that her son may be interested in something so strange.​

The most versatile aspect of Norman’s wardrobe is the ability to mix and match many of the items in his wardrobe. Here are two examples of sweater/shirt combinations Norman is seen wearing in different episodes from the series.

The first is a classic Fair Isle sweater by Brooks Brothers. Norman can be seen wearing many different varieties of this sweater throughout the entire show. This is an ideal example of his vintage style. This sweater paired with a tan button down is very similar to Norman’s outfit in season 2 episode 8.​

Bates Motel Norman Bates fair isle sweater

The next shirt/sweater combination can be seen in season 3 episode 1. This school day look is made up of a base layer of a striped button down paired perfectly with a blue cable knit sweater. Norman wears this style combination along with the army green jacket mentioned previously in this article.

This is a perfect example of how all these items can be mixed and matched to create a specific look from a certain episode, or to create a look all your own!​

Norman's Pants & Shoes

Choices for Norman’s pants are all pretty basic. He is almost always seen wearing a pair of slacks. The color can vary depending on what you would like to match it with.

A safe bet is always a pair of khaki slacks with a slim fit. This pair of Match Men's slacks would go well with the previous cable knit sweater/striped button down shirt and jacket combination from season 3 episode 1 to almost complete the entire outfit.​

​Another example of Norman’s pants would be the same Match Men's as above, but in "army gray 2". Wear this pair along with the black and white plaid shirt above to imitate Norman’s outfit from season 2 episode 7.

​Norman's Shoes

None of Norman’s looks would be complete without the perfect shoes.

As we have seen previously, his wardrobe is versatile. He has many staples that can be worn in many different combinations. His shoes are no different.

The most common shoe we see Norman wear is a traditional pair of Oxfords.

​For a more casual look (and to complete his look discussed from season 2 episode 7), try this pair of comfortable Vans slip-ons.

​Norman's Accessories

Norman does not have many accessories throughout the series. He is seen wearing a simple, silver wrist watch in many episodes. Try this one on for size.

The brown messenger bag is seen in many episodes where Norman is attending school. This is a perfect complement to Norman’s traditional style as opposed to a typical school backpack.

The messenger bag sends a more sophisticated vibe than his fellow classmates. This brown messenger bag by Roots is an exact match!

​But Wait!...There's More!!!

Bates Motel Norman Bates Norma outfit

In honor of the new and final season of Bates Motel, I decided to do a special Norman category.  We all know that Norman wouldn’t be who he is without his beloved mother, Norma.

After her tragic passing at the end of season 4, season 5 is all about Norman’s psychosis totally encompassing his life. He can no longer tell the difference between insanity and reality. No Norman article could be complete without addressing Norman’s wardrobe when he transforms into Norma.

We get hints here and there that he has been wearing her clothes in the beginning of this season. In season 5 episode 1 we even see her lingerie hanging in the bathroom to dry as if it has been worn.

Season 5 episode 3 shows us Norman’s illness from an outsider’s perspective. In addition to wearing one of Norma's dresses, Norman is also wearing her black heels and a blonde wig in the exact length and style Norma would wear her hair.

His imitation of Norma is so believable, even a crazed Caleb has visions of Norma right in front of him instead of Norman.

​Whether you prefer to dress as the sweet and innocent teenager version of Norman or the split personality Norma version of Norman; this guide should help you easily incorporate more of Norman Bates’ clothes into your own wardrobe. You should have a better understanding of where Norman’s style comes from and, of course, his beloved mother who is always there to help him along the way.

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Erin

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