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Tell a story about your first leather jacket...

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by heron163, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. heron163

    heron163 One of the Regulars

    well its new years eve and I am feeling somewhat nostalgic (and old)...

    I will go first - it was December in 1981 and i went into the Walter Dyer shop on Route 9 in Framingham MA ( the building still stands as of today). A cramped, fantastic place full of the smells you would expect in a leather shop. He had two signature products: moccasins and a collarless, three pocket M/C jacket.

    my buddy and I went in to purchase M/C jackets. Mr Walter Dyer himself was there - a great big, grey bearded santa claus looking fellow... after some talk about what we wanted, he sized me up and said "you look like a pretty big kid - if you can beat me arm wrestling, I will take 50 bucks off the jacket price..."

    I would like to tell you a tale of a titanic battle followed that seemed to last forever... a struggle that left us bruised and bloody... a battle that ended in a tie...

    nope - I left the store with a new jacket at a discounted price. A few months later, I enlisted in the US Army and was out of the area for a long time. That particular jacket I gave to a buddy who later became a hero in an obscure, forgotten place, dying way too young for a cause soon forgotten as well... in pax requiem D.H. - see you on the other side...

    when I returned to the area years later, the shop still looked and smelled the same but Mr. Walter Dyer had passed on. The shop was now full of imported jackets and not knowing any better, I purchased my first flight jacket, a black lambskin A-2 complete with hand warmer pockets and escape map lining...

    after seeing a small print ad for Lost Worlds, I sent for the catalog and began my journey... AND STILL CONTINUES.
  2. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

    image.jpg jacket #1 was a present picked out by dad...not much to tell on that one. Didn't wear it much either.
    Jacket #2 however...
    When I was 17, I lived with a family in Italy that owned a tannery. They allowed me to pick a hide, and so my jacket was hand made by a lady in Vicenza. The design was from a photo of Nina Hagen and her young punk husband (circa 1987). That jacket saw many adventures through my late teens and early-mid 20s. :)
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
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  3. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

    I had a coworker at the retail store I worked at who was on a thin leash with management. One day he comes into the store with a distressed knock-off A-2.

    "This is SO you. I had to get it."

    So that act of kindness started this obsession. I guess I was made for leather! I've always loved aviation, so finding out about this culture (initially A-2s) was just great. I truly feel at home with all things jackets.

    Obviously I've owned others prior to this, including a kid's "Top Gun" jacket that may have been leather when I used to go flying with my dad in the 1990s. But that one my coworker got started the hobby.
  4. That is so damn cool!!!
  5. My first was from Wilsons Leather . . . nuff said. :(
  6. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    My first leather jacket was a tan suede jacket, that looked like a Tanker Jacket. I was 10 or 11, so out grew it fast, no idea where it went. Been wearing leather ever since! Come to think about it, kind of amazing I got away with wearing it to school, since leather jackets were frowned upon in those days!
  7. Immediately after seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark - on opening day in 1981 - I decided that I needed a leather jacket! I ended up spending $50 at Alexander's (a discount clothing chain in those days) for a basic black leather jacket made in Argentina that smelled terrible, but I loved it. Thin cowhide, waist length with an A-2 type collar, open sleeves, uncovered small brass zipper and side buckles, and slash pockets.

    Four years later I got a better jacket on a $99 clearance in downtown NYC - a brown Schott 674. This was a much more serious jacket that I wore constantly through several winters, until I started putting on weight and it became uncomfortable. In around 1988, I next got a cafe racer-styled Cooper in lightweight black cowhide... but it never fit me quite right, and all these jackets ended up in the closet, and ultimately in goodwill bins.

    After a long disinterest, and spurred by some kind of post-9/11 patriotism and trying to honor both my parents, who had served in WWII (Dad was a sergeant in the Air Corps, Mom was a sergeant in the Marines), I got my first (kind of) spec military leather, a Gibson & Barnes Civil A-2 in black goatskin. Several others have followed (most notably a Good Wear Dubow 27798), but I still wear that G&B as frequently as any of my other leathers.
  8. navetsea

    navetsea One Too Many

    nice stories to read :)

    mine was nothing worth telling :( story, just one day in highschool I visited my mom perhaps somewhere in early 90's , she asked me if I wanted a leather jacket, her nextdoor neighbor made jackets and she could buy it at discounted price, I didn't remember what I answered her, she showed me a brown one she just bought for her husband, I didn't like it, but she bought me a black one anyway in the same exact model, and I didn't really have any strong feeling about it,
    so I wore it as utility jacket without much thought, I wore it almost daily for going to school and later university on my bike, I never cared it, never conditioned or cleaned it, after I graduated the jacket looked worn colorwise, but the leather was characterless (probably a top grain without any natural grain left on it) and cut was a bit roomy and shapeless on me, so it never really grew into anything cool after 10 years of constant usage , just faded forgettable jacket but was still intact and really durable given how I treated it so carelessly, one day we called a gardener to plant some trees, and I gave it to him, and I never wanted another leather jacket, or so I thought at that time.

    the same jacket of her husband is still frequently used by him being his only leather jacket, last week or so when I visited them I saw it hanged over their dining chair, and I snapped a picture, it was also characterless, no serious creases no grain, general fading throughout, a boring purpose built jacket, still intact even the lining after 20+ yrs without any treatment or care, serves it purpose, nothing more
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
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  9. robrinay

    robrinay One Too Many

    My first leather jacket was a Levi denim jacket covered in leather patches I'd bought from the market and glued on myself, I was 15 years old. It's not that I couldn't afford a real leather jacket, just that I preferred to spend my money on other priorities - cigarettes and sweets. I sold it for a big profit a few months later but ironically given that the base jacket was an early 60's capital E jacket, It'd have been better to store it in un-patched form till today and sell it on eBay for a hundred or more. Haven't we all regretted not hanging onto something that was commonplace then and is now worth a load?
  10. It was 1973, the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. My parents went to Spain for two weeks and...after my relentless lobbying...they reluctantly left me home alone. Hallelujah! Let the party begin!

    Before they left, Dad asked if there was a particular souvenir that I wanted. I blurted out the first thing that popped into my teenage brain...a leather jacket. I didn't know anything about leather jackets and I didn't think my parents would actually look for one. But it didn't matter. That they were leaving me alone with our house, a hometown full of friends, and the keys to Dad's pickup was best gift a teenage boy could ever receive.

    And...let it be known..I didn't waste one minute of that splendid gift. But that's another story. Or two.

    I've never been to Spain, but evidently leather jackets were popular there in the early seventies. And easily available. Sure enough, when my parents returned home, they handed me a nice leather blazer that fit me like a glove. I wore that jacket for years, throughout undergraduate school, until I finally outgrew it. By that time, it had a bunch of personality. It had beer stains from me plopping my elbows on a hundred college-town bars. It had nicks from being tossed into car trunks and old suitcases. It had scars from me once laying down my little CB 450. And it smelled like a wonderful perfume of beer, bar smoke, motor oil, hemp and sweat.

    Since that first blazer, I've never been without at least one leather jacket. Most of them have been G-1s and A-2s. But recently, I've returned to wearing civilian leather jackets. I've bought a couple of Buco style motorcycle jackets, even though I no longer ride. And I have two or three leather work jackets.

    And I couldn't help but notice...eBay is recently full of vintage seventies leather blazers...

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
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  11. heron163

    heron163 One of the Regulars

    great stories! keep 'em coming...
  12. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    Me on the right, 1981

    I wanted a leather jacket because I had got into bikes, so, I bought one off a mate. £12. No idea of the make but it was a straight zip short tassel jacket. After cutting the tassels off, I wore it on the bike for a few weeks then ripped the zip out so it would have to be replaced.
    Well I wandered off to Aero when they were in Battersea and Ken did a part ex on another type of bike jacket. Still a straight zip but with a Mandarin style collar(sometimes known as a Caffff Racer these days).
    The rest as they say, is history :)

    To be honest, I had forgotten this bit in my story from a couple of years back, maybe the years have dulled the brain cells. Either way, A2s were soon to take over my jacket wearing lifestyle.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
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  13. All of mine were moto jackets - good ones - but nothing that I cared about beyond the safety aspect. One Vanson, one Hein Gerrick. Very heavy steer both of them, and both of them were proven to save hide, unfortunately.
    Next time I tried to get leather that was not moto-related was about 7 years back. Started on COW and looked for a "Indy" type model. Went through a bunch of lesser jackets before I came here and to VLJ. At that point, it was all over...Since then, maybe eight-ten leather jackets, give or take.
    Now I'm back to having fewer but am happier. It takes a while to learn how to get what you want and then to find the keepers.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    RobertK likes this.
  14. ^ Great photo and story Rocketeer.
  15. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    Not so fussy these days, I don't wear A2s that much, mainly Power Ranger stuff on my Hayabusa but I have an Eastman Luftwaffe I can wear riding my Street Triple as it looks 1960s ish(no pleats in the back) or a Highwayman. Teamster for out walking and almost all other places.
    I too have seriously truncated my collection as I only have the Lucky & Seven A2 jacket from my collecting days and a couple of modern repo's of military jackets.
  16. Bushman

    Bushman Call Me a Cab

    I remember I first started wearing them around the age of 13. It was a black jacket, kind of your standard affair. Pockets on the side, breast pockets, and a pocket sleeve on the inside. I remember I was kind of into dark clothing that year, and would be likened to Johnny Cash "Man In Black" often. I kind of grew out of my interest for leather jackets quickly, and never really picked them up again.
    2jakes likes this.
  17. My very first "bomber" jacket was a JC Penneys "faux" leather thing.
    I had seen a movie with John Wayne, "Flying Tigers" & became an avid fan of the real pilots &
    what they did prior to WW2.
    There was nothing correct about my jacket except it looked "distressed" with a CBI patch on the shoulder & the price was affordable. I actually received compliments on the jacket.
    The one comment that I recall
    with regards to my jacket and was
    made when I worked at a TV station.
    An older gent visiting, looked at
    my jacket & said, "son, the patch
    on your jacket is on the wrong shoulder."
    That's all he said. I found out his
    name later that day.
    It was David "Tex" Hill AVG pilot of
    the FlyingTigers.
    I wish I could go back & spoken
    to him about his days in Burma.
    I lost my jacket. Later I saved enough & ordered the horsehide
    A-2 from Avirex back in the '80s.
    It was the General MacArthur
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  18. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

    That's one of my favorite movies!
    2jakes likes this.
  19. I was turning 21 in 1988 and my mum asked me if I'd like anything special (21 is still a key age to turn in the UK, my mum was from Scotland). I said a leather jacket as I'd never had one.

    She took me to the shop, Oakville Place Mall, Oakville, Ontario next to my hometown of Burlington. The salesgirl was blonde, beyond cute, and quite clearly flirting with me.

    Naturally, I was shy and insecure and so did nothing about it.

    I still have the jacket and it still fits.

    And still regret not going back to chat up the salesgirl...
  20. In my high school senior year, a cute blonde sat behind me in class.
    She would nudge me with her knees all the time.
    Beautiful flirting blue eyes, I was too shy to respond.

    It was in the military when a buddy ask me to join him for a game of bowling at the
    base . I replied that I wasn’t any good & people would be looking & make fun of me.

    He told me, “Joe , you are one conceited s.o.b.”
    I asked why ?
    He replied, "you think everyone is looking at you all the time.”
    Look around...nobody really cares.”

    That was my first step in not being so shy.
    But nevertheless, I’m still a little shy.

    But now I know if I could, I probably go chat with that blonde.

    And my very first jacket that I recall (not leather)
    was a second-hand Woolrich red plaid coat.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016

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