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How to Achieve the Modern-Day "Bad Boy" Look

Taha loves investigating and writing about trends in culture, fashion, and media.

Learn how to get the bad boy look—it's simpler than you think.

Learn how to get the bad boy look—it's simpler than you think.

What Is a Bad Boy?

Bad boys—we all know who they are. They ooze confidence and sexuality. Their attitude says either "I could care less" or "you don't wanna mess with me." Girls hate to love them and guys want to be them.

This breed of men has existed forever. They are the heart-breakers, yet they somehow always get new hearts to play with. Their attitude comes from within but is expressed externally through clothing. Bad boys don't wear just anything—they wear clothes that help them express their inner badness, and they wear them effortlessly. In this article, I'll go over the important elements of the modern-day bad boy outfit.

Components of the "Bad Boy" Outfit

  1. Tee Shirt
  2. Jeans or Chinos
  3. Boots
  4. Leather or Denim Jacket
  5. Accessories
  6. Grooming

1. Tee Shirt

A tee shirt is a very simple piece of clothing. Before being made popular by Marlon Brando, tee shirts were generally only worn as undershirts. James Dean took the T-shirt to another level in his films.

As for your bad boy look, you can always go with the classic white tee, but don't be afraid to try other colors. Do avoid bright colors, however, as they can undermine the laid-back badass look. Try to go with plain tee shirts that don't feature ornate graphics or unusual textures. Tee shirts give the impression that you are easy-going, comfortable, and don't take things too seriously. They are a staple of the bad boy look.

Note: Bad boys usually don't wear button-downs unless they are plain and darkly colored.

Deceased actor James Dean is the quintessential bad boy. Note the white tee shirt and dark leather jacket.

Deceased actor James Dean is the quintessential bad boy. Note the white tee shirt and dark leather jacket.

2. Jeans or Chinos

I rebel against the popular idea that bad boys only wear jeans. Chinos are just as badass as jeans. Khakis (the grandmother of all chinos) are reminiscent of a military look, while jeans convey more of a working-class background. Feel free to go either route, but know that there's a catch: you can only wear chinos with dark colors, and by dark, I mean either dark blue or black. If you'd prefer to wear lighter shirts, stick with jeans. Whatever you choose, make sure your pants fit you closely but aren't too tight.

3. Boots

From James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause to Ian Somerhalder in The Vampire Diaries, I have never seen a bad boy wearing any shoes but boots. Try to choose between combat, Chelsea, and chukka boots. Bad boys typically wear black boots, as they exude a sense of ruggedness that girls adore. You can wear boots on a hot and sunny California day or a frigid Canadian winter night. They are versatile, comfortable, functional, and bad—enough said.

Here, a young Marlin Brando pairs an open leather jacket with a slim-fitting plain tee.

Here, a young Marlin Brando pairs an open leather jacket with a slim-fitting plain tee.

4. Leather or Denim Jacket

Black leather jackets are synonymous with the bad boy look and are an essential component of every bad boy's wardrobe. A leather jacket is the one piece of clothing that can convey a bad boy persona alone. Guys wore them in the 1950s and are still wearing them today. In terms of style, try to go with a classic biker jacket or a more modern bomber jacket fit.

Keep in mind that a leather jacket is not the only option for a guy who wants to give off bad boy vibes. When the weather is milder, a denim or trucker jacket works just as well as part of a bad boy outfit. If you decide to go for a denim jacket, make sure the color and shade differ at least slightly from your jeans.

5. Accessories

James Dean, the original bad boy, used to wear a watch with a black leather strap. This sort of watch can be a good accessory to your bad boy outfit. Some modern bad boys also wear bracelets. Bracelets are typically considered feminine, so bad boys wear them to demonstrate that they don't care what society thinks.

Here, Maroon 5's Adam Levine pairs a plain white tee with a dark leather jacket. In this case, his stubble really helps complete the look.

Here, Maroon 5's Adam Levine pairs a plain white tee with a dark leather jacket. In this case, his stubble really helps complete the look.

6. Grooming

Bad boys don't come with a standard cut or style, so you can choose to wear whatever hairstyle suits you best. As far as facial hair is concerned, you can choose to be clean-shaven or have a bit of stubble. A full beard doesn't really work with the "boy" element of the bad boy persona in my opinion.

It's a Good Day to Be a Bad Boy

I love the bad boy look because of its simplicity and ability to make a strong and hard-to-forget impression on everyone in the room. These were just some basic guidelines—for further inspiration, look to Marlon Brando, James Dean, Johnny Depp, Ian Somerhalder, etc. Good Luck!

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