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How to dress like Marty McFly
Not only was Marty McFly from Back to the Future the first human to travel back in time, but he was also a bit of a fashion icon. His fashion, which definitely has an eighties vibe, is actually timeless and while not an easy look to pull off, can be achieved with some online shopping, patience, and a good bit of luck.
Since we have three movies and a few outfits to choose from, I am going to focus on the most iconic Marty, the Marty from 1985 as pictured here:
This is the Marty that we see right before he leaps back to 1955. He will wear this outfit until he travels back to 1955, there he will switched to a very stylish red and gray jacket based outfit.
Now you could just buy a Halloween Costume, but if you are more interested in something slight more authentic depending on your reason for dressing as Marty.
You might want to dress as Marty for Halloween, for Cosplay purposes or just to look cool. Whatever your reasons, hopefully, this guide will get you started.
The Class-5 Vest
When we first see Marty in Back to the Future, he is not wearing this now iconic, “life preserver.” Still, this is probably the most important bit of clothing you will want if trying to dress like Marty McFly.
The original was a dark orange (rust) down vest made by Class-5. Several thousand Back to the Future Fans are constantly on the hunt for one of these gems, so good luck finding one in good condition and at the proper size. If you can deal with having a non-original and semi-affordable option, several exist online.
The Magnoli Clothier’s McFly Vest is an amazing recreation of the original vest. It has the proper number of buttons and puffy chambers. It has a high price point, so it might not be for the budget-minded or casual fan.
Really just about any puffer vest in orange or red will do the trick. Just try and get as close to dark orange or rust as possible, and try and find a vest with just a few down chambers. Three to five works best.
Danezon sells a reproduction that looks pretty good. Sadly, I can’t find any reviews of their products.
Marty wears a two-tone blue denim jacket. Finding and original in the right style is just as rare as finding the vest. Luckily, people, the average person won’t be hung up on details. Still, if you are looking for an original and have a lot of money, you might get lucky. For those not willing to wait, you have options.
Magnoli Clothiers makes a good-looking custom-tailored replica. As you might guess by the word custom, it is a pricey alternative.
You could also go with a classic Levi’s Trucker Jacket. You won’t be able to pull off the cool rolled-up sleeves, but it has some nice wear on it and it will work as a nice piece of clothing to have even when you aren’t dressing like Marty.
The jeans Marty is wearing are Georges Marciano for Guess jeans. Much like with the shirt and vest, finding an original is pricey and challenging. Luckily the jeans, while unique when you review the details, are also generic enough to allow other jeans to pass.
Affordable and basic, the Levis 502 taper legged jean is a good choice. If you are a purist, you will want to pay attention to the color and wash of the jeans and try to match it to what was worn by Marty. Do not go with a more casual or relaxed fit jean. It might be more comfortable, but it just doesn’t look right.
Guess Jeans are a bit more expensive, but looking at their modern styles, they don’t match too well with the original. Still, they are an option if you are a brand conscious Marty imitator.
Marty’s shirt has a grid pattern. Grids were very popular in the Eighties. This particular shirt was made by Shah Safari and was near impossible to find until 2010 when a re-make of the shirt was put out in limited numbers. It sold out immediately. When you see shirts for sale or up for auction, these remakes are what you are finding. Those shirts will run you between $125 and $200, but if you are willing to compromise you can find shirts that are “close.”
Largemouth makes a replica shirt that has a decent pattern that matches nicely, but reviews of the shirt are mixed.
Or for half the price, Amazon sells a Goodthreads shirt that will get you close to the look.
Marty liked to layer and underneath his shirt, he wore a red-t-shirt. You can get by with most shades of red, but I would suggest a Cardinal Red t-shirt from Gildan. Its a good shade and the shirts themselves are comfortable and lightweight, which is nice if you are layering.
Marty is wearing 1985 Nike Bruins with a red swoosh in the film. You can track down a re-issue of these, which are reasonable, and look great. You will also have some alternative.
They did a special release by Nike Sportswear to celebrate Back to the Future Day in 2015. These sneakers occasionally show up through resellers.
You can probably sneak by with a classic Nike Cortez in white with the red swoop.
Just about any white sneaker will work, even if you don’t have the red swoop. I am partial to the Nike Men’s Court Royale AC Sneaker.
Marty held up his Guess jeans with 3/4″ black suspenders that had shiny metal adjusters. They are still wonderfully common and very easy to get.
Marty wears a Casio CA50W Calculator Watch. That watch is very expensive nowadays, but luckily Casio is still alive and kicking and produces the very similar Casio CA53W.
Jacket Button and Pins
On his denim jacket, Marty wears three pins. An “Art in Revolution” button, a Fender P-Bass pin, and a “boomerang” design. All three are available as high-quality reproductions.
Sunglasses can be expensive and vintage ones in good condition are even insane. Marty wore Zeiss aviators with mirrored lenses, but just about any mirror lenses in the aviator style will do. Marty’s were a bit oversized and had a dark frame. It is difficult to track down that exact style, but these are in the same ballpark.
Marty listens to his music and tortures his father using his silver Aiwa model HS-P02 Walkman. The price of Walkmans have been going up dramatically lately. So if you can find anything from the eighties at a reasonable price, it will work. If you want modern tech that works, I suggest you pick up a Jensen Portable Stereo Cassette Player. Just make sure to upgrade the headphones, the ones that come with are horrible.
The Video Camera
Marty captures Doc’s experiment on a JVC GR-C1. Holding one of these red beauties is a great way to tell everyone you are trying to look like Marty. I have seen these being sold for parts for as little as $100.
Dressing like Marty McFly does not need to be complicated. Just do a search for people dressed like him and you will see how not everything has to be perfect. If you do take some of my suggestions you will look like 1985 Marty McFly in no time. Just remember, no matter how much clothing and accessories you buy, to be Marty, you need the right attitude. An attitude that says, I was the first time traveler, and while I might have kissed my mother, I am still a proud stylish person that you better not challenge to a fight or a race.