Elvis on his comeback tour in ‘68, Marlin Brando in The Wild One, Sid Vicious, Steve McQueen riding his triumph bonneville, the lead characters from 70s cop shows. Besides being embodiments of pure machismo, what do these images all have in common? These male icons all wear a variation of the essential piece of men’s fall outerwear; the only piece of clothing synonymous with cool: a waist-length leather jacket.

It’s the quintessential way to look cool without being cold. Summer is finally gone, which means that autumn is upon us to bless us with tolerable weather and interesting layering and coat options. Specifically, it allows us to break out the leather jacket. Now, there are a few ground rules that I go by when wearing a leather jacket.

The first is, it should never go past your hips, otherwise you are wont to look like a goth kid or impersonator of Neo from The Matrix.

The second rule is never settle for pleather because if you are going to do the jacket, you may as well do it right. Would you eat filet mignon off a paper plate? Or drink a fine single malt scotch mixed with coke? It’s just silly.

The third tip is purely cosmetic (and logical): make sure the jacket fits you properly. In my opinion, there is nothing tackier than a great jacket that is ill-fitted to your body. It shouldn’t be excessively large, but rather snug. As a short guy this is kind of hard because of issues with arm length, but the piece should ideally fit you like a glove.

The fourth and final rule is an issue of color. A gentleman’s leather jacket should be one of two colors: brown or black. This ensures that you can wear it with a variety clothing options. Leave the white jackets to the womenfolk and sanitarium dwellers.

The fifth tip is cautionary: avoid padded motorcycle jackets. Unless you own a motorcycle, you have no business wearing one; you just look
like a douche who tries far too hard.

The sixth and final tip is similar to the fifth, avoid what I like to call the “Mitt Romney leather jacket”. We’ve all seen this; they are typically worn by out of touch middle aged white men trying to reclaim their youth. This particular piece tends to be a plain front, collared leather jacket with crimped elastic at the waist, like pants from the husky department at Sears. As much as a I advocate creating your own style and making your look yours, this particular piece is simply inexcusable.

If you are looking for a perfect leather jacket but not to not break the bank at traditional retailers, you can find you perfect leather jacket by perusing the racks of your local vintage shop or second hand store. You may also find that these items have a badass, worn look often imitated by contemporary retailers.

The most important tip is to remember to make the look yours. No matter how you rock it, be sure that it is a reflection of you.

 

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