The Walking Dead in Style: Negan's Leather Jacket

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Love it or hate it, The Walking Dead has reigned on AMC as one of the most-watched television shows of all time. With its fair share of hardcore fans, the show has managed to make an impression in just about every American’s household.

Most people know the gist of The Walking Dead: small town sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes takes on a zombie apocalypse while trying to keep his family and friends safe in a newly unforgiving world. Relatively new to the cast, however, is the greatest antagonist the show’s heroes have faced yet: Negan.

Portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan has stunned viewers as the show’s anti-Rick, bashing in heads with an unapologetic, show-stopping smile. Charisma, charm, and intimidation are the key factors of Negan’s character, and what better way to epitomize that than with a leather jacket?

While it may not get as much attention as Lucille, Negan’s leather jacket is just as iconic to his character’s look. If you’re looking for a way to work a little TWD into your wardrobe or want to channel Negan’s irresistible confidence, his leather jacket is one of the best ways to do it—and we’re here to show you how.

 

What You’ll Need For This Look

In order to follow this tutorial, you won’t need much. Being able to style Negan’s jacket will come down to how much you love the show and how daring you want to be. In this tutorial, we’ll be going over three looks: a simple outfit for beginners; an ensemble suitable for a true badass; and finally, an ode to Negan himself that borders on cosplay.

Here’s what you’ll need!

  • Negan’s leather jacket. This one is a given. The jacket is everywhere online, but make sure you go for an authentic one. To make sure your jacket is actually Negan-approved, look for an asymmetrical zipper, a large biker collar, and a belt adjustment at the waist. Keep in mind that authentic, good-quality leather will last longer.
  • Your wardrobe. No matter which of the looks you are trying to achieve, it’s best to start with your own wardrobe and work up from there. Leather jackets are statement pieces on their own, so there’s no need to go out and buy something special.
  • Some Season 7 - 8 Inspiration. If you need to get in the mood, we highly recommend watching Negan on screen before dawning his iconic jacket. Technically, Negan’s debut is in the last ten minutes of the season 6 finale, so start there and work your way up to the most recent episodes to catch Negan in all his different moods.

STEP 1: Watch The Walking Dead

Anyone trying to style a fictional character’s clothing is most likely already a fan of the show. If by chance you aren’t familiar, however, go ahead and start binging. Even if you’re a diehard fan, this is a great opportunity to re-watch the newest seasons.

We feel you can’t channel a character’s energy without having seen said character in action. We think it’s important to understand the dynamic Negan adds to the show’s story before putting on his clothes. Otherwise, you may end up feeling silly and regretting the purchase.

So bunker down and watch your heart out. As you watch, ask yourself what it is you like about Negan’s jacket. Is it the confidence with which he wears it? Is it because it is symbolically one of the cleanest items within the show’s universe? Whatever it is that draws you to the jacket is the persona you will end up putting on when you wear the jacket, so make sure it’s a feeling you want to own!

 

STEP 2: Choose Your Look

Just because you want to dedicate a piece of clothing to Negan doesn’t mean you want to look like you’re trying to be Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the flesh. On the other hand, it’s very possible you want other fans of the show to recognize immediately the man you are emulating. Either way is fine! Everyone has their own individual style, which is what makes mixing fashion and fandom so enjoyable.

Take a look at your wardrobe and what you normally wear. A part of styling Negan’s jacket will be choosing a look that suits you and your own personality. Chances are, you aren’t a totalitarian leader of a post-apocalyptic compound. You’re probably not even an asshole. So while styling your jacket, don’t toss aside your flannels and start buying a surplus of red scarves. What you already have in your closet is the perfect place to start.

 

STEP 3(A): Style Your Jacket (Look A – Clean and Casual)

If leather jackets are new to you or you want an understated look, start small. Negan’s jacket is bold, with a flashy collar, lots of zippers, and a finish that’s not quite matte. Adding too much can overwhelm your outfit, so go for your simplest pieces that look good with everything.

Our go-to items are t-shirts or sweaters in neutral or jewel toned colors. If you don’t want to look like a ringer for Negan, we recommend you stay away from white or red—these colors look great with leather, but be aware they fall in the same color palette as Negan’s costume. Ultimately, the choice is up to you! No matter what you choose, we recommend you max out at just one base layer—more will make the jacket bulk out, a look that doesn’t look great with Negan’s slim-fitting jacket.

For this look, we recommend stone-washed or ripped jeans on the bottom. The ruggedness will complement the jacket’s polished appearance nicely and will make you look like you aren’t even trying.

STEP 3(B): Style Your Jacket (Look B – The Inner Badass)

Unsurprisingly, Negan’s jacket is a classic biker jacket. Biker jackets even today have a reputation for being worn by intimidating, masculine individuals. If you want to look like you’re in charge, here’s how to achieve a bolder look. While you won’t look just like Negan, you could probably pass for a loyal Savior in his army.

Here’s where you can add some flare. Throw on a bright flannel or a denim button-up over a classic white t-shirt. You’ll still want to keep the layers as thin as possible to prevent bulking, but the added texture and warmth will make you look like you’re ready for anything. It is essential for this look that your jacket remain unzipped, to stay casual and keep your top half loose.

Pair this look with a solid pair of boots and some slim-fitting dark-wash jeans. The streamlined look on the bottom will balance out the thicker layers on top and keep you looking modern.

 

STEP 3(C): Style Your Jacket (Look C – You're Basically Negan)

If you want fellow fans to stop you on the street and say, “Hey, did you know you look kind of like Negan?” then this is your stop. Just a couple steps short of cosplaying, we’ve included this look because it’s important for us to be able to provide styles and outfits for all individuals, even those with unorthodox desires. Be careful as you add each of these items.

An easy Negan-esque item are dark pants. Trim around the waist and loose throughout the leg, Negan exclusively wears greys and blacks on the bottom with just enough room to move. Going for a mostly dark look on the bottom half—including his bulky, black biker boots—will have you look more like Negan than blue or brown.

Lastly, there’s the scarf. Almost as iconic as the jacket itself, the red scarf Negan wears ties his effortless and charismatic look together perfectly. If you’re feeling bold, wrap up in a bright red scarf—or you can start with colors like forest green or midnight blue if you want to work up to crimson.

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Conclusion

Not everyone wants to own a piece of clothing from a fictional television show about zombies—but you know, some of us do. Which is why it’s important to us that we are able to satisfy everyone’s individual needs. Fashion isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s brains—some people find styling their clothing exhausting. Channeling any character, whether it’s a charismatic villain or the rough-around-the-edges underdog, can give you a boost of confidence and really help you enjoy getting dressed in the morning.

We hope you enjoyed, and would love to hear your feedback. Let us know in the comments if you liked this tutorial, or how you would personally style Negan’s iconic leather jacket!

Maria Ermolenko