Never one for current style icons I have always taken my inspiration from the dapper and debonair style heroes of yesteryear. Anyone who has seen the iconic film Rebel without a cause will have developed a style crush on the original bad boy James Dean. James taught us two things; there’s something masculine and effortlessly cool about a leather motorcycle jacket and always wear your seatbelt.
History lesson: Biker jackets have evolved over time from the leather jackets typically worn by pilots from the early 20th century. Obviously more function than fashion they provided a shield against dirt, debris and mostly the elements. When the motorcycle burst onto the scene a jacket with similar properties was required for its riders with the modification that it would be shorter in length than the typical driving coat and more streamline than the leather jackets utilised by pilots.
The Schott Brothers of Schott NYC premiered their now iconic biker jacket in 1928 and boasts the rare fashion achievement that its design has changed very little since its inception. With a snug fit tailored to the body of its owner, broad lapels fastened in place by push stud fasteners and the cross body zip.
Keep it classic: The most enduring style of biker jacket is pairing it with a plain white t-shirt, jeans and leather boots. Keeping your dress code rather simple and allowing your jacket to become the focal point of the ensemble.
70’s Rocker Vibes: Amp up the rebellious attitude with an 80’s Sid Vicious inspired vibe pairing an all-black ensemble together. A textured top and some shredded skinny jeans is a great way to take your new wardrobe essential from day to night.
90’s Grunge Mood: There’s no doubt the nineties are having a style resurgence with younger folk. The motorcycle jacket can be brought into a different era with a relaxed approach. Throw it over your band t-shirt and lace up your doc martens, wind it down with a pair of relaxed fit jeans.
Right Now: My personal favourite style combo when working with a motorcycle jacket is pairing it with plain jeans and a buttoned-down pattern shirt. Vintage Hawaiian florals are perfect for spring, alternatively stripes are still all the rage in street wear and look dope with a little chest showing. The best accessory is a good pair of shades, give necklaces or bracelets a miss.
Care factor: Once you’ve made the investment of a good leather jacket you need to ensure you take good care of it. This is a style staple that will last forever if you treat it with care. You should always store good leather jackets on a wide hanger in a cool and dry environment and keep the jacket zipped. This prevents the body of the jacket from sagging and keeps it fitted to your body shape.
You’ve survived the theory lesson, next week I’ll hit you with four great picks that will up your style game.
Until then, visit @jayaziz for style inspo.