The denim jacket has remained an all-American symbol synonymous with youth and rebellion since the late 1800s, when Levi Strauss worked up its embryonic form, the “working blouse.” Transcending centuries of sartorial change, the jean jacket we wear today stays true to its defiant blue-collar roots. So to celebrate its rugged glory, we’ve rounded up 10 times the denim jacket won—on the backs of stars, of course.
Elvis: The King of Rock & Roll has endorsed the denim jacket—a black one, in particular.
John Lennon: Imagine Lennon peacefully protesting the Vietnam War in his Wrangler 11MW jacket.
Paul Newman: He might have played a petty criminal, but Cool Hand Luke earned the respect of his fellow inmates as a rebel hero in this light blue number.
Robert Redford: Redford proved denim looks as good as leather on a bike, with the young Lauren Hutton behind him in 1970’s Little Fauss and Big Hasly.
Steve McQueen: This photo.
John Travolta: Travolta, probably right around the time he was playing Vinnie Barbarino on Welcome Back Kotter—and years before he ever heard about Scientology.
Clint Eastwood: When you’re playing a tough trucker alongside a pet orangutan, as Eastwood did in 1978’s Every Which Way But Loose, it never hurts to rock a little denim.
Michael J. Fox: Before going back to 1955, Marty McFly auditions for Battle of the Bands wearing none other than the time-transcending jean jacket. Somehow Huey Lewis does not approve.
Justin Timberlake: That time Timberlake rocked a Canadian tuxedo—and hat—at the 2001 American Music Awards, alongside then-girlfriend Britney Spears, also wearing a denim dress.
Ryan Gosling: A skilled Hollywood stuntman in 2011’s Drive, Gosling pulls off a denim jacket moonlighting as a getaway driver for a crime boss.