What becomes a legend most? For James Byron Dean, it was a pair of denim jeans, a white t-shirt, and a fire-engine-red windbreaker. It might not seem so groundbreaking today, but for 1950s moviegoers watching Rebel Without a Cause, this simple ensemble (and the handsome, pompadoured young actor wearing it) became a pop culture phenomenon and the gold standard in attire for young folks everywhere.
Dean was a new type of star in his day: one that wasn’t concerned with looking perfect or projecting a carefully crafted public persona. Dean’s own offscreen sartorial choices–-a mix of roomy trousers, button-down oxfords, oversized trenchcoats, well-worn boots, and collegiate eyeglasses—look just as fresh today as they did then. On what would have been his 80th birthday, we’ve assembled some gifts worthy of the legend.