Style Lessons You Should Learn From Marlon Brando
Fashion4 Minutes Read

Style Lessons You Should Learn From Marlon Brando

May 30, 2022 Share

Starring in a host of classics, from A Streetcar Named Desire to The Godfather, one look into Marlon Brando’s history as an actor will show you how he commanded the silver screen with style and acting skill.

Throughout the 1950s, all levels of menswear flourished, and the man who arguably owned the casual side of fashion was Marlon Brando. When Brando rose to fame for his role in 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire, he set a dapper and radically cool bar for men’s appearances to try and meet. Brando’s wardrobe elevated the essentials most men take for granted — crewneck T-shirts, long-sleeved jumpers, cotton trousers, slim leather belts and leather motorcycle jackets.

Like all great trends, Marlon Brando’s style perfectly expressed the zeitgeist that went on to become a touchstone for American fashion. With T-shirts and leather jackets dominating the fashion scene, Brando’s expansive style influence has extended well into the 21st century. Read on to learn how to style yourself like Marlon Brando (in his twenties)!

Stick to the basics

A white t-shirt is the easiest way to cap off a classic look. Take a few notes from the brooding actor, whose simple white tee defined a generation of American men. When Marlon Brando catapulted to fame in 1951, it was partially due to his fashion sense. The reason behind his style success was a batch of classics, at the peak of which was the white T-shirt. A primary symbol of masculinity in the heyday of Old Hollywood, Brando also loved wearing his favoured type of kecks with a knitted crewneck jumper. Tucked into trousers, the knit worked wonders.

Marlon Brando portrays Stanley Kowalski, wearing his iconic fitted short-sleeve white t-shirt in 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire | Photo by Warner Bros/Getty

Tuck in your shirts

Marlon Brando’s signature style move involved tucking fitted t-shirts into his trousers. Not only does that put the natural silhouette on display, but it also gives you an excuse to loop a skinny leather belt through your trousers or jeans.

Young Marlon Brando lighting a cigarette circa 1947 | Photo by Bettmann

Outerwear is key

A black leather jacket never goes out of fashion. Lauded by Hollywood as the original rebel, Marlon Brando played by his own rules, both on-screen and in his private life. With an understated cool factor and swagger, his appearance in 1953’s The Wild One helped solidify his bad-boy image, popularising chunky black leather jackets, blue jeans and peaked caps. And so, for more than 60 years, the biker jacket look has become the uniform for cool and classic youthful rebellion. Pro tip: The key to finding a perfect leather jacket is the fit. 

Marlon Brando riding a motorcycle in The Wild One | Photo by Mondadori Portfolio

Rock a side part

Aside from clothing, Brando groomed impeccably too. He rocked a slick side-part that has since served as a blueprint for debonair men looking to update their hairstyle. Neatly combed over or left rough and unruly, Marlon Brando’s side-parted hairstyle gave birth to one of the coolest moments in grooming history. (The best part is that it is easily achievable for pretty much everyone)

Marlon Brando at his home in Los Angeles, California circa 1954 | Photo by Murray Garrett

It all starts with a pair of Levi’s

Marlon Brando’s 1947 Levi’s 501s were a direct inspiration for the costumes of Rebel Without a Cause, which opened the floodgates for Levi’s jeans as the new uniform of cool. Cuffing your jeans and wearing them rolled up at the ankles is still in vogue — back then as well as today.

Marlon Brando in The Wild One | Photo by Columbia Pictures / Diltz / Bridgeman Images
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