The clothing and accessories that people wear are a distinctive part of the popular culture. Clothing styles change not only with the time period, but also communicate one's social class and occupation. Those who don't dress appropriately are often viewed as outcasts or rebels, or at the very least, odd and out-of-place.
Marty McFly's clothing proved to be an endless source of embarrassment for him during his adventures, in spite of Doc Brown's attempts to be prepared. They generally had three options when they traveled from one time period to another: they purchased and changed clothes after arriving in a new time period, they tried to find appropriate clothes for their destination before traveling, or they neglected to change clothes and just endured the awkwardness of attracting attention.
Note: Outfits are described here under the time periods the clothing came from, which were not necessarily when they were worn.
Clothing in 1985
- "C'mon, I had to change! You think I’m going back in that-- that zoot suit?"
Basic outfit – During most of his adventures, except when he changed clothes in 1955 and 1885, Marty wore Guess blue jeans with black 3/4" suspenders, a red t-shirt, lavender ("purple") Calvin Klein underpants, and white Nike Bruin shoes with red swoosh and backtab (no word Nike on them until he visited 1885) with gray socks (changed to white socks when he visited 2015).
School outfit – From Friday before school through his first day in 1955, Marty added a Guess Marciano two-tone blue jean jacket (denim jacket) with an "Art in Revolution" button, a Fender P-Bass pin and a white checked Shah Safari short-sleeve shirt to his basic outfit. He accessorized this with a Casio digital watch on his left wrist, a silver Aiwa model HS-P02 portable stereo cassette player, and mirrored aviator sunglasses with a sweatguard in the morning.
Tales From Space – Doc gave Marty a yellow full-length radiation suit for protection when loading the plutonium. Due to the similarity of his outfit to that of a space alien on a comic book cover, his outfit scared the Peabody family and an elderly couple driving past Lyon Estates in 1955.
"Devo outfit" – Doc wore a white full-length radiation suit, over a green print shirt, white undershirt, black pants and brown shoes. He also had a watch on his left arm, and digital stopwatch on a lanyard around his neck.
Train shirt – While in 2015, Doc changed back to 1985-style clothing, a yellow Hawaiian shirt with a cartoon train pattern and brown cargo pants, expecting to return Marty, Jennifer and Einstein back home right away.
"Hey Mom, nice pants" - Jennifer wears a blue vest over a white shirt and has the pink flower pants.
Other distinctive clothing of 1985
- Dave wore a uniform for his job as a Burger King restaurant server.
- George owned a suede jacket
- Biff wore a green warm-up outfit on Saturday; a purple warm-up outfit on Sunday.
Clothing in 1955
- "Get yourself some 50’s clothes ... something inconspicuous!"
- —Doc to Marty
"Life preserver" – (See: 1985 Marty)
First day of school in 1955 – Marty wore a red and gray jacket (that he took off in the school cafeteria), white shirt with light blue rectangles, brown pants, Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star shoes, and had hair tonic in his hair.
"Darth Vader" – (See: 1985 Marty)
The day of the skateboard chase – Marty wore the same red and gray jacket, this time with a black shirt with red chain link pattern, brown pants, Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star tennis shoes.
"That zoot suit" Marty wore a gray wool suit, a white shirt and narrow red tie, that afterwards he called a “zoot suit”.
"Something inconspicuous" – Marty chose an “inconspicuous” outfit to cover his Basic outfit; he added a black porkpie hat, black leather jacket, dark sunglasses. At the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, Biff's gang member Match wondered how he changed his clothes so fast.
At the Delgado Mine – Marty wore the same clothes as the day of the skateboard chase, and added a tan overcoat.
"Clint Eastwood never wore anything like this" – Doc prepared Marty to travel to 1885 with a pink and blue shirt with long, yellow fringe running along the chest, back and sleeves, under five embroidered atomic model designs on the front and back of his shoulders, a red bandana around his neck, red corduroy pants, an ornately tooled belt with golden sunburst buckle, white Nike sneakers, and carried along a white cowboy hat and boots that were too tight.
On Saturday, Biff wore a red short-sleeve pullover shirt. The rest of the week, Biff wore a gray jacket and black pants. He added a white tie for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.
"You’re so ... thin" – On Saturday, November 5, Lorraine wore a purple dress with a rounded collar.
"I think you'd look better wearing nothing at all" – On Saturday, November 12 at Ruth's Frock Shop, Lorraine wore a novelty black cotton giraffe-print circle skirt which Biff lifted up to expose her panties once outside the shop.
"Well, lookee what we have here" – At the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, Lorraine wore a pink strapless dress, bought with Babs at Ruth’s Frock Shop, which she covered with a white sweater. When she leaned over in the car, Biff was able to see down the front of her dress.
On Saturday evening, Doc wore a silver robe with black lapels, white shirt, and white knit tie, and dark pants. During the rest of the week, he wore a long white laboratory coat, and put on a pair of green safety goggles when demonstrating the clock tower model. The following Saturday, as he tried to connect the electrical cable, Doc was wearing shoes with Velcro closures that had not yet been invented, although he might have found them in his future counterpart's suitcase.
Other distinctive clothing of 1955
Clothing in 2015
- "First, you have to get out and change clothes."
- —Doc to Marty upon arrival in 2015
"Marty, you’ve got to come back with me" – Doc appeared in Marty’s driveway wearing a long yellow coat, a red shirt with Japanese symbols (no undershirt), silver wraparound glasses with internal video display, and a transparent plastic necktie.
Train shirt – (See: 1985 Doc Brown)
"You're the spitting image of your future son" – Marty Jr.’s outfit and Marty’s disguise consisted of an auto-adjusting and auto-drying jacket, blue jeans worn inside-out (Marty only turned his pockets out), white socks, white Nike MAG power-lacing shoes and a color-shifting lenticular baseball cap. Marty Jr. wore a white t-shirt with a logo featuring a plus and minus sign.
47-year-old Marty wore a brown business suit over a light brown shirt and brown and yellow multiple ties with rising sun motifs.
Biff's outfit consisted of a red quarter zip sweatshirt and black, white and green plaid pants.
Griff's outfit consisted of a helmet with sharp metal spikes, a black-ribbed light green jacket over a black chainmail shirt, black pants and black boots adorned with a sharp metallic rhinoceros-like horn.
Other distinctive clothing of 2015
Clothing in 1985A
Although Biff was fabulously wealthy as a result of his cheating with the almanac in 1985A, his sense of dress was still tacky as the Biff of the original timeline. His outfits were gaudy and ugly, with gold chains and bright blue blazers, giving him the appearance of a lounge lizard.
Other distinctive clothing of 1985A
- Biff's bodyguard Match wore a black cowboy hat.
- Biff's underling 3-D no longer wore his nominal 3-D glasses as the 3-D fad had long since faded since 1985. However, unable to part with the nickname, he wore aviator sunglasses to which he had custom made for the left lens to be red and the right lens to be blue.
Clothing in 1885
- "You can’t wear those futuristic things in 1885. You shouldn’t even be wearing them in 1955."
- —Doc Brown at the Pohatchee Drive-in
"Clint Eastwood never wore anything like this" – (See: 1955 Marty)
"You sure look like Seamus McFly" – Same as "Clint Eastwood never wore anything like this" (see: 1955 Marty), with a straw derby hat
"Some respectable clothes and a fine hat" – Most of the week, Marty wore a long, blue workshirt, brown jeans, and a brown sarape over long underwear, with a brown flat-topped hat, and boots. The outfit was very similar to the one Marty saw Clint Eastwood wearing in A Fistful of Dollars.
"Go ahead, make my day" – One morning, Marty woke up wearing his long underwear with a half-fastened drop seat, and put on his hat and gun belt to practice in front of the mirror.
Other distinctive clothing of 1885
Behind the scenes
Lea Thompson found the pink dress uncomfortable to wear and even more uncomfortable to dance in, and would walk around the set in the 1950s corset bra and crinoline underskirt to avoid wearing the dress, and once even shocked her mother when she visited her on the set. But despite that, she still hung on to one exemplar of the dress that was given to her, and helped out with the filming of the second movie when the original dress had been lost, and she provided it herself.
Costume designer Joanna Johnston said she was terrified at the prospect of designing the clothing of the future, making costumes for the cast and 150 extras from scratch, since Bob’s concept did not have a basis in anyone else’s work. For a future society in which men and women are truly equal, the clothing styles would exaggerate the difference between the sexes. She decided to use a very wide variety of fabrics in bright "but not fluorescent" colors.
Costume designer Joanna Johnston was already familiar with the clothing for the period, having worked on the movie Tess, but found that most of costumes that were made for the Westerns of the '40s, '50s and '60s lacked the authenticity she was looking for. After further research, she created clothing for the main characters and as many as 500 extras based on the original clothing patterns she found.
- ↑ http://www.bttf.com/forums BTTF.com Message Board
- ↑ http://www.bttf.com/forums BTTF.com Message Board
- ↑ http://www.bttf.com/forums/topic.php?tp=38901-I+FOUND+IT%21+This+is+like+finding+the+holy+grail...+I+have+found+the+Marty+McFLy+Vest%21%21%21#
- ↑ BTTF III novel, p. 38, 39
- ↑ Velcro 50th Anniversary : Timeline, see "1985".
- ↑ BTTF III novel, p. 73
- ↑ BTTF III novel, p. 98, p. 205
- ↑ Feature Commentary with Bob Gale and Neil Canton, Part I, at about 1:10.
- ↑ Gaines, Caseen, We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future trilogy, p. unknown
- ↑ Klastorin, Michael, and Sally Hibbin, Back to the Future: The Official Book of the Complete Movie Trilogy, p. 71-72.
- ↑ Klastorin, Michael, and Sally Hibbin, Back to the Future: The Official Book of the Complete Movie Trilogy, p. 60-61.