Introduction to the Leather Jacket
Leather jackets are a stalwart of fashion in the US and Europe. Who can’t remember The Fonz in HAPPY DAYS or Marlon Brando in ON THE WATERFRONT? Tough guys with robust psychologies.
There were particular styles from the Fifties and Sixties – thick tight white T-shirts, tight jeans, aviators. There was one anonymous source who said that she knew her life would “improve if she bought a leather jacket” and – so she declared – she “was awesomely, totally, absolutely right.”
But what are the six main trends for today?
The 50s biker look with a leather jacket
There’s still demand for a cross-fitting leather jacket with a good quality white T-shirt (it has to be good quality, mind). Accompanied by non-ripped dark blue jeans, this provides the classic fifties movies style – for a more contemporary sense just look to Junior (Indiana Jones’ son) in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Crisp, neat, always immaculately turned out, the Fifties biker look may now seem a bit retro, unoriginal and unimaginative, but in fact if forms the foundation for a significant branch of men’s fashion. As such, men all over the world owe Brando and The Fonz a great debt.
The contemporary biker look with the leather jacket
Jackets are typically wider fitting with large fold over and have more zip pockets. Often the jacket is studded. Checked shirt with collar or T-shirt. Unsubtly but trendy ripped jeans. With bad-fitting ankle length boots, but otherwise smartly turned out, these self-conscious contemporary bikers look after their appearance with a particular focus on their leather jackets.
Jackets can appear more trendy with a washed and worn distressed finish and even with rips in them.
Equally, bomber jackets, a sub-style of the leather jacket, can look good with a black T-shirt or a dark turtleneck.
The Italian look for the leather jacket
Wear a slim fit jacket with an edgy cut, which could be brown or beige as well as black. Chic dressers often wear a complementary matching polo neck or turtleneck sweater.
To finish off the look, sunglasses are compulsory, and the dresser probably wears a pink or other coloured bandana round the neck as an accessory. Beige or navy-blue chinos will complement the jacket, as will a pair of smart, elegant. leather shoes.
Although artificial leather is available, the general consensus is that only a real leather jacket will do for a truly chic experience.
The casual urbanite for the leather jacket
This will be the relaxed, lazy feel.
As a result, there will be an understated use of the leather jacket, possibly wearing chinos or a polo neck, but nothing more glitzy. A coloured T-shirt or a polo-neck, roll-neck or turtleneck will complement some smart, elegant, brown leather shoes, or alternatively smart trainers.
Much for everyday use, functional, yet smart and impactful.
The gay scene in leather jackets
The gay scene is a vast repository for the innovative use of leather jackets. Often ahead of the fashion trends, the LBTQ+ community know how to adopt a product and make it their own, then spit it out again to the general community.
In this regard the leather jacket has never fallen out of fashion. Keep an eye out and be guided.
Typically adopting the “Brando” look, the LBTQ+ usage of the leather jacket is often stark yet simple.
The mad hairy bikers in leather jackets
In the UK there is a television cooking show called THE MAD HAIRY BIKERS about two middle aged men who tour Britain and Europe on their bikes dressed like slobs in leather jackets. Their leather jackets look as if they have absorbed the smoke and fat from a million barbeques, as do their greying beards.
The Mad Hairy Bikers are immensely entertaining (and not bad cooks), but to be honest their dress sense and their leather jackets have seen better days – they dress like, well, like mad hairy bikers! If that’s the style you’re looking for, then these are the guys to follow.
Often bikers’ jackets will have silver studs embedded in them portraying names or symbolic pictures.
The anatomy of the leather jacket
If you are going to know what to wear with a leather jacket, you need to know the anatomy of the various jackets.
Broadly they can be slim, regular or large fits, and the leather jacket can meet in the middle with poppers or a zip or can fold across like a double breasted jacket.
The jacket can be quilted, and sometimes has a hood, but this is often removed.
The leather can be of various qualities, thicknesses and malleability.
Ideally real leather, not artificial.
The leather can be high quality or deliberately distressed.
Key to the jacket is the lining, which ideally should be made out of lamb’s wool, but these days can be made from various synthetic materials. The lamb’s wool collar is most synonymous with the “aviator” jacket look from World War II and the 1950s.
So, in conclusion, what to wear with a leather jacket?
Basically, classic leather jackets for men are extremely versatile. It was Miley Cyrus who said that:- “I can mix and match a cute shirt with some skinny jeans and a leather jacket and it looks fun and unique.”
Versatile, and not oppressively over-stated unless you want it to be, the leather jacket is a must have option for any fashion-conscious man’s wardrobe.