The 13 Most Iconic Jackets Of All Time
Fashion plays a huge part in both music and film. Costume designers and directors will often aim to create statement fashion pieces - other times a simple garment will take on a life of its own and become iconic.
Dozens of famous jacket looks and styles stemmed from music and film, many of which we still see influencing fashion today. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous jackets from the past and present and see which is most popular. We gathered data from search engines and used this data to score each jacket out of 100, to find out which is the most popular...
Here are some of the most famous jackets
1. Neo’s trench coat
Neo from The Matrix is a dark horse when it comes to fashion influencers! Neo’s outfit was designed by costume designer Kym Barrett and was appropriate to the film's sci-fi genre, featuring slender sunglasses, the famous black trench coat, and oversized combat boots. Despite the Matrix being released in 1999, we are still seeing Neo’s fashion influence on runways today, 23 years later - John Galliano was the first designer to share its influence on the runway with his PVC and micro-glasses collection in the Christian Dior runway in 1999, just months after the film was released. We have also seen many celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid being photographed in trench coats.
This famous coat is the most popular on our list, being scored at 100, with a total of 85,900 Google searches a year! This coat is probably still famous to this day due to the style being seen on many runways and with so many celebrities being photographed wearing this style of coat.
Image Credit: The Matrix 1999 (Warner Bros. Entertainment)
2. Pink Ladies and T-Birds jackets
Everybody should know which film these renowned jackets are from, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock, Grease was the film that made these jackets so famous. The T-Birds jacket, notably worn by Danny Zuko, is a black leather biker jacket with silver hardware, and the T-Birds trademark is embedded on the back. This film was set in the 50s, and the combination of jeans, a white t-shirt, and the T-Birds jacket acted as a uniform for the group, serving the traditional purpose of signifying their place in society. The Pink Ladies jackets served the same purpose - these were naturally pink in colour, a satin material and bowling jacket style. The T-Birds and Pink Ladies outfits are a go-to for fancy dress to this day!
The Pink Ladies jacket is the second most popular jacket on our list with a score of 82 out of 100, and a total of 70,300 yearly searches. This is more than likely due to many people going to fancy dress events as the Pink Ladies. The T-Birds jacket wasn’t as popular, receiving 6,900 searches a year, resulting in a score of 8 out of 100.
Image Credit: Grease 1978 (Paramount Pictures)
3. That Clueless two-piece
When you think of 90’s fashion, you should automatically think of the yellow plaid blazer and skirt from the 1995 film Clueless - if not, something’s wrong. We have recently seen a lot of 90s fashion come back around, including dupes of the notorious Dolce & Gabanna two-piece which made its debut in the film - Iggy Azelia even wore it in her Fancy music video in 2014. The skirt suit was used as it was a high-fashion and chic nod to a traditional school uniform, but with a grungy edge thanks to the yellow and black plaid, fitting the 90s trend.
This iconic jacket and skirt combo is the third most popular on our list, scoring 58 out of 100 and seeing 50,200 yearly searches.
Fun fact: Costume designer Mona May revealed that the blazer and skirt two-piece was almost blue or red!
Image Credit: Clueless 1995 (Paramount Pictures)
4. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club
As well as bringing many number one hits, the eighth studio album from The Beatles also brought some amazing fashion choices. The Sgt. Peppers iconic suits are the fourth most searched for jacket on our list. They were designed by Noel Howard and consisted of psychedelic military-style jackets with flamboyant embellishments. The inspiration behind these outfits was the full dress uniforms worn by Edwardian Officers, the most formal uniform worn for parades and special occasions. The outfits perfectly fit the album's mix of traditional, military-style melodies with 60s pop, mocking past ideals of sacrifice and heroism.
These jackets gained around 21,100 searches a year according to data, scoring them at a 25 out of 100.
Image Credit: Sleeve art for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967, Parlophone / EMI). Cover art by MC Productions and The Apple.
5. Welcome to Fight club
The first rule of Fight Club is to not talk about it, but we need to break that rule to talk about number five on our list, Brad Pitts's iconic red leather jacket worn in the 1999 film! This rust-red leather jacket, worn by the character Tyler Dearden, is one of the most sought after jackets out there. As well as its unique colour, the jacket features white double stitching along the edges, an oversized collar, and red buttons down the front - it is truly one of a kind. The custom-made jacket was designed by Michael Kaplan and sold at auction for $32,500.
The famous jacket see’s around 14,200 searches a year, resulting in a score of 17 out of 100.
Image Credit: Fight Club 1999 (20th Century Fox)
6. The Black Parade
Those who went through (or still are going through) their emo phase will recognise this jacket! In 2006, American rock band My Chemical Romance released what went on to become their greatest hit, ‘Welcome to the Black Parade.’ The music video showed the band wearing military-style black jackets with silver stripes and studs and a stand-up collar. Frontman Gerard Way and the band were certainly ahead of the times - in 2009 these military-style jackets became a huge trend, featuring on high-end fashion runways such as Balmain and Chanel.
This jacket was scored 11 out of 100, with a total of 9,500 yearly searches.
Image Credit: My Chemical Romance - Welcome to the Black Parade music video (2016.)
7. The scorpion jacket
The film Drive, released in 2011, was a great success and produced an iconic item of clothing which is still loved by many. Of course, the iconic item was the white satin bomber jacket we saw Ryan Gosling’s character wear in the film. This jacket featured a black collar, cuffs and waistband, and an embroidered yellow scorpion on the back, giving it its alternative name of ‘the Scorpion Jacket.’ This was a collaborative design by costume designer Erin Benach, director Nicolas Winding Refn, and Ryan Gosling. Nicolas was inspired by Kiss, the rock band from the 70s/80s, and the mix of disco and hardcore rock that the band did so well. Gosling also liked this and imagined a costume that married the concepts together - he also set his sights on a ‘souvenir jacket’ style. Erin wanted to make the bomber jacket more fitted to suit the firm character that Gosling played. They all wanted to add a more personal touch to the jacket, which became the embedded scorpion after watching a video named ‘Scorpion Rising’ which featured men working on cars.
Despite being so iconic, this jacket had a lower number of searches at 5,800, scoring it at 7 out of 100.
Fun fact: Erin Benach tried to design the perfect bomber jacket 20 times, succeeding just an hour before filming started!
Image Credit: Drive 2011 (FilmDistrict)
8. Wild at Heart Snakeskin Jacket
Nicolas Cage is known for his unique leather jackets. While he has brought many incredible looks over the years, his snakeskin leather jacket that he wore in the 1990 film Wild at Heart is arguably the most famous. This brown-all-over snake print leather jacket, with hip-flap pockets on either side and notched lapels, was Nicolas Cage’s own jacket. In the film, it was paired with an all-black outfit consisting of a black tee, Levi 501’s, leather boots and a belt. Cage's character Sailor Ripley describes the jacket as “a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom.”
The snakeskin garment was scored 5 out of 100, with 4,600 searches.
Image Credit: Wild At Heart, 1990 (The Samuel Goldwyn Company)
9. Freddie Mercury’s Wembley Jacket
In 1986, Queen's frontman proved to us all that nobody could pull off a yellow, cropped, military-style jacket as well as he could! Freddie was known for his out-there fashion, but this jacket paired with a white t-shirt and white trousers that featured a red and gold stripe going down the side of each leg was arguably his most iconic look. The jacket was designed by his friend and costume designer Diana Moseley - it featured gold buckles, eyelets, and trim. Reportedly, the design was inspired by Spanish opera costumes and the outfit's colour scheme was said to be a nod to the Spanish flag (although yellow was also known to be one of Mercury’s favourite colours.). After Freddie sadly passed away in 1991, he left the jacket to his long time partner Jim Hutton. In 2004, the famous jacket sold at auction for $36,000.
Despite its fame and often being a go-to fancy dress option, this jacket saw a lower search volume than others on this list with 4,200 yearly searches, resulting in a score of 5 out of 100.
Image Credit: Freddie Mercury performing live at Wembley, 1986. (UMG (on behalf of Hollywood Records); Warner Chappell, Sony Music )
10. Sons of Anarchy leather outerwear
In the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy, we see the motorcycle gang wearing black leather jackets often, all with the Sons of Anarchy patch on the back. After world war two, leather was (and still is) worn by motorcycle riders due to its durability and functionality. The first leather biker jacket with a zipper was made by Irving Schott in 1928 - Irving named it ‘The Perfecto.’ This was a fitted leather jacket which zipped up high and consisted of pockets, lapels, and snaps. The Perfecto went on to become a famous piece of biker fashion history. Motorcycle Vests (aka Biker Cuts) were also seen in the series, worn often by main character Jax. Motorcycle vests were also created for function - removing the sleeves allowed increased arm movement and mobility, it was just an added bonus that the style added to the rebellious style bikers tended to wear.
The yearly search volume for the Sons of Anarchy Jacke was 3,700 - scoring a 4 out of 100.
Image Credit: Still from Sons of Anarchy, 2008 (20th Television)
11. Thriller Jacket
Of course, the red leather jacket worn by Michael Jackson in his 1983 Thriller music video made our list! The jacket was designed by Deborah Nadollman Landis, who stated that she specifically designed the jacket to help Jackson appear more "virile." As well as the candy-apple-red colour, this jacket had many other noted unique features such as the V-shaped black stripes, M logo, many zips, unusual buttons, and rigid protruding shoulders. This jacket became a huge outerwear trend in the mid-1980s and was highly sought after, with many replicas - we even saw other celebrities such as Kanye West and Chris Brown imitating the jacket in later years. MJ’s jacket was scored as a four when it comes to popularity.
Surprisingly, the search volume for this jacket was lower than expected, seeing a total of 3,300 yearly searches and scoring a 4 out of 100.
Image Credit: Michael Jackson Thriller Music Video, 1983. (Epic Records; Sony Music Entertainment)
12. Rebel Without a Cause
James Dean was a huge heartthrob and fashion icon in the 1950s. As well as his classic white t-shirt, leather jacket and jeans look, another major moment for him was the red bomber-style jacket from the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause. Consumer designer Moss Mabry visited numerous high schools in Los Angeles to gain insight into teens' clothes and styles, and then the iconic cherry-red, nylon windbreaker was born! James Dean tragically died in a car crash at just 24 years of age, just before the film premiered - the jacket was put up for auction in 2018 and was expected to sell for $400,000-$600,000.
Although this jacket is extremely popular, it only scores 1 out of 100 due to the search volume being a yearly total of 1,200.
Image Credit: Rebel Without A Cause, 1955. (Warner Bros.)
13. Indiana Jones brown leather jacket
Indiana Jones is one of the most well-known movie characters of all time. Not only is he brave, smart and funny, but he also looks the part. Set in the 1930s, the films see Indiana Jones wearing a brown leather jacket whilst adventuring. The jacket design was based on the design of the A-2 bomber jacket but with side pleats added to the design, and cuffs removed to give a wider range of motion. We also see the jacket’s detail vary between each film, such as the length. The jacket was supplied by Peter Botwright’s company, Wested Leather - they provided the jackets for both Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Last Crusade.
Surprisingly, the Indiana Jones jacket received the lowest amount of searches at a total of just 640, making it the least popular jacket on our list and scoring it at a 0 out of 100.
Fun fact - The jacket was made wider to make Harrison Ford appear bigger than he actually was.
We looked at the yearly search data for each jacket and used this data to score each one out of 100 and rank them accordingly.