Select Page

James Dean Fashion Lookbooks Denim Style

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today” Dean

James Dean was a loner, outsider and anti-hero, therefore his role as Jim Stark in “A Rebel Without A Cause” (1956) soon became the voice of the 1950s teenage generation. The young generation understood James Deans mystique and lonely character as the gap between the older and younger generation was massive, they did not share the same values, idols, music, fashion or movies. The teenage disillusionment where no one, not even their peers could understand the teenagers.

Most American youngsters could identify themselves with Jim Stark, and they felt exactly the same way as their parents or society which did not understand the new rock music they danced to, the denim jeans they wore or movies they loved. James Dean is the introvert, restless, and a drifting loner, where Marlon Brando rawness made everybody circle around him, Brando extrovertedly leading his gang The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club ((BRMC) in the classic movie ” The Wild One“. The mob of forty young rebels wearing black leather jackets, engineering boots, white tees and a Rider Cap, riding their motorcycles nowhere as modern cowboys drifting into the horizon. Marlon Brando plays a rebellious character named Johnny Strabler.

James Dean, however introverted, like teenagers struggle with pimples and insecurity, James himself confused about his masculinity and sexually dragged between sexes. James Dean is an anti-hero, outsider and restlessly both private and on the silver screen. Therefore, James Dean, at first sight, apparently untouchable and almost impossible to understand. People were drawn towards him, attracted by the mystic soul. James attracted not only the girls but boys that easily could identify themselves and simply became in love with him. James Dean has ever since been an icon of gay culture as his vulnerability and androgynous character and the camera made him always good looking. I guess he was just to handsome to be heterosexual.

James Dean Fashion Lookbooks And Denim Style



James Deans fatal car crash

September 30, 1955, James Dean died in an ambulance on the way to the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, 28 miles away from where the fatal accident happened. In the ambulance was his Porsche factory-trained mechanic, Rolf Wütherich who survived the irrevocable crash. James Dean’s drove his new Porsche 550 Spyder, a car he should supposedly be driving during a weekend’s sports car races at Salinas, California

The Porsche was brand new and did not have enough break-in miles prior to the race. Therefore, decided James his Porsche mechanic Rolf to drive the Spyder adding more seat time. James Dean should not ever make it to the hospital; pronounced dead-on-arrival, the local time 6:20 p.m. Dean died only at the age of 24, some people burn in both ends, intense, fast and make an unforgettable impact on everyone.

James Dean did only three films before his death, East of Eden (1955), Rebel without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). The final films earned James Dean Oscar nominations, he was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his role in East Of Eden (1955), no other than James Dean could have created a bigger myth, eternally iconized stardom.

James Dean Fashion Lookbooks Casual Sport Style



James Dean Style And Street Smartness

Nevertheless, James Dean will forever be twenty-four, young and constantly handsome, sexually confused, dragged between sexes. His intelligent fashion style and taste were way different from other youth icons in the 1950s. When Marlon Brandow wore the black Schott Perfecto leather jacket James, on the other hand, wore a red Nylon McGregor jacket. A college-style that was less rebellious, smarter, nevertheless feminine.

James Dean earned his stardom because of his roles as Jim Stark “Rebel without a cause”, especially his role-playing Carl Trask in “East of Eden”, a movie based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Last, not least James Deans role as the main character Jett Rink in the movie “The Giant” (1956) The Giant is an epic story and portrayal of a powerful Texas ranching family challenged by changing times and the coming of big oil.

The American film industry with their stylists made denim jeans incredibly popular among the youngsters, not only did Hollywood cinema stylist understand how to use jeans as an iconic symbol, denim jeans were dark, mysterious and different. The popularity grown as the cinematic heroes loved wearing the dark indigo blue jeans, soon denim jeans became a dangerous symbol. Jeans got worn by rebellious drop-outs, connected to dirty sex, booze, drugs and rock music. In several states, jeans were soon banned and not allowed wearing in public schools and colleges.

James Dean Fashion Lookbooks Lee 101 Z Rider Jeans style



James Dean Fashion Lookbook Biker Style



James Dean Fashion DNA

  • McGregor Drizzler Jacket
    • James Dean’s bright-red Nylon McGregor Drizzler Anti-Freeze Jacket low waistline and fleece lining, a white tee and Lee 101 Riders 1955 deep indigo blue became an iconic denim outfit. These three everyday items of clothing worn with each other by Dean became one of the most iconic styles in film and fashion history.
    • James Dean together with Marlon Brando literally changed the way teenagers perceived what was cool. Their dress down style was the change in fashion culture forever, replacing the dress-up code in the 1950s and the next decades.
    • The new jeans and fashion culture was perceived as something dangerous; connected to drugs, motorcycle gangs and rebellious attitude, most often the actor played the role of the loner, anti-hero and outsider.
    • A hero who stood up against the established, the enormous impact movies like “Rebel Without A Cause“, “East Of Eden“, “The Wild One“, “On the Waterfront“, “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Jailhouse Rock” cannot be underestimated
  • James Deans favourite Jeans, Lee 101 rider jeans
    • In the movie “A Rebel Without A Cause” wore James Dean Lee 101 z rider jeans. The Lee Jeans should become his preferred style and trademark.
    • The famous image of James wearing Lee 101 Rider showing how good a jean shall fit the back used by Lee Jeans in their advertising, PR and marketing.
    • Lee 101 Rider Jeans was first manufactured in 1924 in the mid-west USA.
    • Lee Jeans introduced already the Zipper in 1926 and five years later introduced a slim fit denim jacket named Lee 101.
  • The polo tee
    • James Dean was a huge fan of polo tees and V-neck’s. A dark indigo Jean or even raw denim jeans with a Polo tee are a classic look that can be worn in any occasion, but personally, I feel the jeans should not be worn to skinny. Unless you are in really good shape avoid wearing the polo tee stuffed in the jeans but loose over the jeans otherwise the intention of casual look is wasted.
    • Personally, the brand preferred personally is Lacoste who is a French brand created by the founder Rene Lacoste, celebrating 75 years these days. Lacoste long heritage of polo tees started with Rene playing French Open.
  • LVC sports tee
    • Levi’s Vintage Clothing or LVC is a different vintage replica from the long and rich history of Levi’s Strauss. The tee selected from the board is a classic 50’s sports tee, the main difference except that the cotton weight is heavier is the construction that has been shorter, capped sleeves that highlight the arms and the tee is slightly longer.
    • The fit makes it easier to wear a tee naturally fitter in a basic model as the actors wore them in the 50s. This is almost impossible to do with a regular tee today.
    • Tees shall never be worn tight; the t-shirt shall naturally fit the body without need of wearing a size smaller than regular.
  • Frye Engineering boots
    • The Frye engineering boot is an American classic. However, different brand as Dean is wearing in a rebel without a cause, even so, Frye boot is the motorcycle and engineering boots which have stood the time of style. The boots on the Biker Fashion lookbook are from N. Hollywood and is a contemporary and modern look of the boots used in “A Rebel Without A Cause”
    • The Jack Purcell shoes Fashion Lookbooks Casual Style
  • Sunglasses Randolph engineering
    • The aviator sunglasses used by the United States army, navy, and allied air forces worldwide. The glasses are expensive but the process of making a pair handcrafted, more than 200 stages in production cost. The sunglasses made by Randolph’s engineering are American classics and wherever the trends fly they will stand time
  • The motorcycle gloves
    • Motorcycle gloves original James Dean’s Motorcycle Gloves, if you have a classic motorbike a nice pair of horse-hide motorcycle gloves with flared forearm covers fits
  • Jeff Rink Ranch Coat
    • The ranch coat jacket is a vintage replica of the coat worn by Jeff Rink in The Giant, the replica is made for collectors and people obsessed with details.
    • The Phoenix Project remake of the coat is only made in 650 copies, Stevenson Overall Co + Bench & Loom.

James Dean Fashion Lookbooks Ranch Coat Style



Sources and Useful Information (Click and Open)

Check out the new Dictionary with More than 1000 illustrated terms on Eco Fashion Design

Recommended Reading James Dean
The Mutant King is an exceptional biography. It presents the complete story of James Dean’s life based on lengthy research and interviews with people he worked with, his family, friends and his many lovers. From Passion for Speed to Immortality focuses on the iconic actor’s aspirations to be a world-class racing driver. Nearly thirty biographies of him been written, but none has investigated his passion for car racing, how much it was an integral part of his life, and how it affected him in so many important ways.
%d bloggers like this: