marty mcfly, back to the future, michael j foxIf you take a good look at the outtakes of Eric Stoltz's brief run as Marty McFly in "Back to the Future," you might get the idea that the actor was canned not because of his comedic timing, but because of his clothes. In that black jacket, black jeans and skate kicks, Stoltz looked more like the lost member of The Romantics than the kid who was about to go back in time and kiss his mother. Thankfully, Robert Zemeckis realized something wasn't quite right with Stoltz's take, liberated Michael J. Fox from his day job on "Family Ties," and set about creating a true '80s icon.

Out went Stoltz's man in black, in came Fox's chirpy, Huey Lewis–loving everyteen -- albeit with enough stylistic quirks to suggest the sort of high schooler who'd be best buds with an eccentric, septuagenarian scientist.

That Zemeckis was willing to can four weeks worth of filming to get the right leading man speaks to the sort of attention to detail that permeates "Back to the Future" and lifts the series above its '80s blockbuster rivals. Follow the McFly look too closely and you'll be instantaneously recognizable to anyone who was pre–voting age at some point in the '80s. Instead of a full-on copycat costume, therefore, enjoy our more subtle take on a classic ensemble, one that -- appropriately enough -- works just as well in the "future" as it did back in 1985.

Penfield Stapleton Puffer Vest
The most distinctive item in Marty McFly's ensemble is his puffer vest (or life preserver, as his '50s grandparents-to-be called it). Rather than replicate that distinctive maroon item, we suggest this more understated number from Penfield. As with the movie you are referencing, the outerwear design is all about the little touches: yellow lining, Western-style yoke patterning and an offbeat, outdoorsman-meets-hip-city-kid vibe. ($228 from Urban Outfitters)

Sunwashed flannel shirt in willow plaid
The McFly style is big on layers. Vest, jacket, T-shirt and, tucked away in the middle somewhere, a classic old-school plaid shirt. Cool and practical, particularly during fast-changing fall and spring weather. ($69.50 from J.Crew)

Lee 101 Rider Jacket
Double-denim is a hot look right now. The key to rescuing this trend from the '80s ghetto is to avoid matching shades of blue. Pair your faded, vintage-esque Lee jacket with a pair of dark blue, skinny Levi's. Two classic brands, one up-to-date version of a retro-inspired trend. ($205 from Asos)

Levi's Super-Skinny 510 Styled Blazer Jeans Scraped Stretch
($79.50 from Levi's)

Nike Men's Zoom Mogan Mid 2 iD Shoe
The best way to get your hands on a version of Marty McFly's classic '80s Nike hi-tops is to design your own pair. It's fun and stylish. ($112 from Nike)

Calvin Klein Underwear Steel Micro Low Rise Trunk
Ideal for amusingly Oedipal name-based mix-ups. ($26 from Zappos)