Get the look: James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause

Daydream look in your eyes

Get the look: James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause, we show you how to dress like James Dean (bring your own angst)

Not many film characters will ever attain the kind of emotional resonance of James Dean as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause. Dean embodied the voice of the disaffected youth perfectly: broody and filled with angst, he was as the poster advertised  a "bad boy from a good family." His dressed-down attire made a powerful statement as a symbol of revolt against the stiffness and formality of the generation before him and his t-shirt, jeans, boots and red jacket has since become one of the most iconic looks in film. Dean was only 24 at the time of his death; the victim of a tragic car accident just one month shy of the release of Rebel Without a Cause. With Halloween round the corner and as tribute to the movie's 60th anniversary, here are pieces to buy now that recall one of the most celebrated figures in film history.

Kirk jacket in anti-freeze red by McGregor
Some enthusiasts swear that the jacket that Dean wore in the film was a McGregor Kirk in anti freeze red. Moss Mabry—costume designer for Rebel—is insistent that he painstakingly made three identical jackets for Dean from a bolt of red nylon. Whatever the case, the McGregor is as close as you will get to the original. 

White crewneck t-shirt by SunspelIn 2012, the exact white t-shirt worn by Dean was sold in auction for just over US$6,000. The shirt was obtained by Dean’s make-up artist and was sold with provenance from the James Dean Museum. No record has been made of the exact brand of the shirt, but the fitted silhouette and short sleeves of this Sunspel is a pretty good substitute.

1947 501 shrink-to-fit selvedge denim jeans by Levi's Vintage Clothing
Though Dean was rumoured to be a sworn Levi’s man, he wore the 1952 Lee 101Z Riders in both Rebel Without a Cause and his last film ever made, Giant (released posthumously). For Rebel, more than 400 pairs of Levi’s 501s were washed for a lived-in look for the entire cast. These 501s are a replica of their 1947 model but made from White Oak denim, Cone Mills, North Carolina. 

Engineer boots by Frye
The sturdy engineer boots worn by Dean in the movie are proudly displayed in Santo Domingo Convent in the Canary Islands (although the boots seem to be missing the inset straps that are typical of engineer boots). We were unable to identify the exact brand of Dean’s boots, but you could try these ones by Frye on for size.  

Jason Lim

  • Image: Getty Images
Download more