How to Dress like James Dean

by Kat Consador

Dean on the set of "Rebel Without a Cause"

AMC TV, "Live Fast Die Young" Book, Denimology, Roy Schatt and CMG Worldwide

Men can still take fashion cues from the legendary James Dean. His effortlessly cool style is both timeless and classic. This Hollywood icon was the ultimate rebel, a dark and brooding actor famous for his sultry and moody expressions. The brilliant performer, troubled artist and avid race driver perfectly fit the expression "Live fast, die young." In 1955, Dean's career ended prematurely when he died at the age of 24 in an automobile accident. He appeared in only seven films and was only credited in three. Despite the brevity of his career, he received two Academy Award nominations, and left an eternal legacy of being a "Rebel Without A Cause."

Items you will need

  • Leather jacket
  • White shirt
  • Denim jeans
  • Black boots
Step 1

Obtain the ultimate bad-boy component, the leather jacket. It's what gave James Dean his infamously iconic edge. The leather jacket's mysterious air also has a reputation for attracting women like flies. Own this jacket and follow the example of bad boys Dean, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and even The Fonz.

Step 2

Get the white T-shirt. It's what's inside that matters. Dean had a sensitive, albeit troubled, heart beneath his tough-guy exterior. In style terms, beneath the leather jacket, Dean sported a soft and form-fitting white T-shirt.

Step 3

Own the jeans. Dean made fashion history as one of the celebrities responsible for putting denim into fashion. He again made fashion history half a century later in 2006, when his Lee jeans were auctioned off for $35,850.

Step 4

Get the boots. Dean was often pictured wearing classic black boots. Get this basic wardrobe item and you'll be a step closer to being in James Dean's shoes.


  • Make sure each item is fits properly. Dean often wore his denim straight and comfortable--not too tight and not too baggy. Dean's most iconic look was arguably the one from "Rebel Without a Cause." If you're interested in his other looks, consider his styles as preppy bad boy in "East of Eden" or cowboy bad boy in "Giant." Dean also made waves in a more recent Gap ad campaign that showed him wearing loose-fitting khakis.

Photo Credits

  • AMC TV, "Live Fast Die Young" Book, Denimology, Roy Schatt and CMG Worldwide

About the Author

Kat Consador is a freelance writer and professional competitive Latin dancer. Her work has appeared in eHow and various online publications. She also writes for clients in small businesses, primarily specializing in SEO. She earned a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology from Arizona State University.