If you were to ask me what my favourite item in my wardrobe is, I would say my leather jacket, without hesitation. It was love at first sight when my eyes locked onto her through the computer screen. Finding ‘the one’ seemed impossible and I have had my heart broken many times before. Whether because we weren’t the right fit for each other, or when I was catfished by fake leather or even when they played too hard to get with their exorbitant price-tag. I definitely didn’t think I would meet ‘the one’ online. I mean how can you really know if you haven’t seen her in person? But I knew, she was everything I had been looking for. And just like a mail order bride, she arrived a few weeks later after paying a ridiculous customs bill. She wasn’t cheap, and the perfect leather jacket shouldn’t be. Like finding your soul mate, it’s an investment for life. You might be thinking, “Hayley, a leather jacket isn’t really my type, I’m more attracted to (insert outerwear of choice).” And I respect your outerwear preferences, but I wonder if it’s because you haven’t found ‘the one’ yet. And no mum, it’s not just a phase.
In this episode of Water and Wine, the ‘water’ piece we will be looking at is…blazers. Ahhh, gotcha! Of course it’s leather jackets! Just in case you forgot how the Water and Wine blog series works, each episode, we look at one quintessential ‘water’ piece and one ‘wine’ trend. I give you ideas on how to style them, explain why they fit into that category etc., it’s a great time. You’ll find out what ‘wine’ trend I have chosen later, first, let’s talk a bit more about leather jackets.
The leather jacket originated in the early 1900’s. Worn by aviators, the brown leather jackets were known as flight jackets and were lined with fleece. The jackets protected the pilots from the extreme conditions at high altitude. Over the last decade it has transitioned from practicality to an important piece of iconography worn by actors, cowboys, gang members and musicians to represent the very essence of ‘cool’. You’re welcome for the Wikipedia summary…but what I am trying to convey is the consistency that solidifies it as a member of the ’water’ family. It’s been around for over a decade and will probably be around for another. It’s a piece worth investing in. I know I’ll still be rocking mine in the nursing home.
I wanted to show you a variety of ways to style a leather jacket. Because although it’s an edgy, statement piece, it’s also extremely versatile. Every outfit you put it over turns to gold. However, because it’s an outerwear piece, I won’t bore you by talking through every outfit like I normally do, we’ll just do a bit of a rapid-fire speed round. The first look you can see is to show that it makes a very casual outfit look a lot more put together. Something like this is perfect for a hungover brunch or an airport outfit because it’s as comfy as pajamas but the leather jacket makes it appear as though you give a shit about what you look like. Also, note the shirt tied around my waist, if you want to wear leggings as pants when you aren’t going to the gym, cover your bum ladies! Sorry to my male readers, but that’s a fashion rule I won’t budge on.
Look number two is one I maybe should have ironed in hindsight but nevertheless you get the idea. Leather jackets look great over a dress, even something a bit more formal in style. It gives an aesthetically appealing juxtaposition between the femininity of the dress and the toughness for the jacket. Tying the black leather in with some black accessories also helps with the continuity of the outfit and is something to keep in mind when creating a look.
The last look is the most obvious and probably one you have rocked before. Jeans and a t-shirt or cami is a look that is just begging for a leather jacket. Again, it takes the outfit from zero to hero in 3.5 seconds. I took mine to the next level with heels and a red lip for my fail save dinner and drinks outfit, but you can bypass the lippy and switch your feet punishers for a pair of comfy converse and you’re sorted for pretty much any occasion. It’s a piece that can easily work for day or night.
My personal love is an authentic biker jacket style because of the big collar, waist buckle and all the silver zips and embellishments. What sold me though were the bell sleeves. I have never seen that style on a leather jacket before and I like me some bell sleeves. Mine is reflective of my vintage taste, however, they come in all kinds of different styles from masculine and edgy to sleek and sophisticated. There is a leather jacket for everyone, regardless of your style.
Some things to keep in mind when searching for your one true love is to make sure it’s real leather. If real leather is 100% out of your budget, then don’t spend over $100 for a faux leather jacket. They don’t last very well so they aren’t worth the investment. Real leather can cop a lot of wear and can actually look better with age (don’t we all wish we could say the same). The price tag of a leather jacket can be a little frightening (no really, brace yourself!), however, if you break it down to cost per wear, I guarantee it will be one of the best investments you will ever make for your wardrobe.
Because it’s a wardrobe staple you will keep for many years to come, make sure you consider things like the colour of the metal hardware used (if you only wear silver jewellery make sure it has silver hardware etc.), whether you like a cropped or regular length silhouette, and how comfortable you feel in it by how well it fits you. A good fit should have the shoulder seam on your shoulders and enough room to wear a jumper underneath. It can take a bit of time to find the perfect leather jacket for you, my search took, on and off, a couple of years. But don’t let that deter you. The leather jacket love of your life is worth the wait. There are plenty of fish in the sea at the moment with it being the right time of year so get shopping and snag yourself a keeper.
It seems I have gotten a bit carried away talking about the ‘water’ part of this Water and Wine episode…maybe I like my leather jacket a little too much. So due to my obsessive tendencies I will talk about the ‘wine’ trend piece in a mini blog post next week. Have a great week and I’ll see you back here next Monday.
Leather jacket from Freepeople
Photographer and editor: Adara Neradil