A jacket that changed my life

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Striver, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Striver

    Striver New in Town

    Hello Everyone!
    First Post by a long term (5 yr) lurker. I'm pleased to now be a member of this Lounge!
    I thought my first post might be to list my 11 leather jackets and say a little about each... but that might not be as interesting as this....
    My first leather jacket was a "yellow/orange label" Cooper A2, with side panels... bought in about 1988 and yes, it was much oversized! Too big, but I kept it. What did it do for me?
    Well I decided that even after a number of attempts at shrinking it (which didn't hurt the goat, but maybe shrank the lining a bit).. that if the jacket wouldn't get any smaller then I would have to get bigger! So in about 1990 I started going to the gym, which I still frequently do: I'm certain it's done me good and benefited my life. I still wear this still oversized jacket for dog walking and I reckon it looks cool(ish).
    Can anyone else claim a jacket changed their lives? (other than starting them off on a wallet-emptying journey!). Striver
     
  2. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Staff Member Bartender

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    Does the jacket fit now?

    BTW, welcome to the Lounge.
     
  3. Striver

    Striver New in Town

    Hi Peacoat, No, not in the "fitting on the shoulders" way, more in the "that looks like an old jacket that you've thrown on which clearly wasn't made for you but looks fine 'cos it's an old one" way!
     
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  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Welcome to the Lounge. Thankfully, I'm not a jacket junkie, now that's not to mock those with a serious jacket collection, or herd, as I've heard it said. (pun intended.) But I can relate to those collections. I have over 8,000, 45 rpm records, well why not? I do have a Wurlitzer jukebox and I don't want to be playing repeats all the time. I have over 70 Aloha shirts, all hand made, and costing the price of a good leather jacket, each. I have made to measure suits, hand made shoes, summer blazers and, and, and.

    But to get to your point. In 1964, when the UK experienced a pop music revolution and we had the Mods & Rockers slugging it out on the beach, I was, what you might call, an archetypal Mod. On this particular day I was wearing over everything else, a blue suede overcoat that had set me back three months salary. With a crowd of others, I was showing off on Brighton pier, on my Vespa scooter, so much so that I ended up in the drink. Once the tide had gone out the Vespa was rescued, amazingly, once dried out, it started. But the suede coat looked, and felt, like a wet chamois leather.

    In a shop in Brighton was some impressive leather jackets. I needed something warm to wear on the scooter to get me home to London. Most of the leathers were a similar price to the suede coat that I had just ruined, but there was this one old jacket that was for sale on a budget price. I couldn't afford even that, but after showing the vendor my coat, he said I could have the jacket and he would take my ruined coat to see what he could do with it.

    I don't know what he did with it, nor did I know anything about leather jackets, so by luck more than judgement, I have a 1942 Aero, acquired in 1964, and still going strong. Oh, and by the way, it got me back to London, warm as toast.
     
  5. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

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    I wanted to answer no but then again, I did meet some really cool people thanks to my stupid obsession with leather jackets, which must've affected my life to some extent, as meeting people inevitably does so I guess I can say that... Yeah. It did. Though it wasn't a leather jacket per se. Can't seem to recall any profound effect any leather jacket had on my life. Not even in a purely practical aspect, such as keeping me warm. They even suck at that.
     
  6. Striver

    Striver New in Town

    Hi GHT,
    Great story!
    Shame about that expensive jacket... but the one you got to replace it... ☺️
    For info. you can visit the old police cells under Brighton Town Hall and see the graffiti on the cell walls left by those "apprehended" way back then!
     
  7. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    For me it was my first "serious" leather jacket - a black goatskin G&B Civil A-2 I got in late 2001.

    I'd owned some leather jackets before, most notably a Schott 674 cowhide in the 80s and a Cooper café racer style cowhide in the 90s. But I had some kind of surge of patriotism after 9/11, and among other things, I wanted to honor my parents, both of whom had served in WWII - Dad in the Army Air Corps, Mom in the Marines. They were still around and in good health back then, and even before I got my own A-2, I got Dad a Bradley Associates A-2 (*) in recognition of his service.

    (* This turned out to be a demonstration of how memory works... and doesn't. He hadn't been a flyer during the war - he was a mechanic, then a photographer - but he'd "always envied those beautiful leather jackets my flyboy buddies had". The Bradley replica was pretty wrong in lots of ways - chocolate cowhide, synthetic knits and lining, too big collar and pocket flaps, modern YKK zipper - but he pronounced it "exactly the same" as the A-2s that he'd borrowed and worn during the war!)

    Anyway, that was when I began researching and acquiring military jackets seriously, and spending too much time on forums like this one every day. Seventeen years and a whole bunch of jackets (and hats!) later, I'm still here. And I still wear that "first" black G&B A-2 a lot.
     
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  8. TheMarriedHermit

    TheMarriedHermit One of the Regulars

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    This is a jacket that is changing my life these days. I never considered leather jackets my thing, having had some ho-hum experiences with bombastic aviator and over-hardwared rider kinds in the past. It was always proper denim (what is called "raw" today) and duck canvas (back when Carhartt made them of cast iron), American-made, of course. Long story short, a couple of years ago when I had to upgrade my wardrobe I realized that I would have to go vintage if I wanted to wear something other than an "original! authentic! genuine!" Chinese rag-picker's stuff "proudly labeled in USA". Internet search and research led me to re-consider leather. I took my time to learn about the options available and to define my own preferences in style. I was prepared to spend some serious money, but it so happened that the jacket that "spoke" to me was this fifty-dollar Walter Dyer on Ebay. It's my first real, well-crafted leather jacket; and it's also a lesson, a reminder not to go along with the way of the world and my own old ways, but to seek out new, true, and meaningful experiences. I guess you could say, too, that this is a classic "man meets leather jacket, man falls in love" story.[​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my LG-SP320 using Tapatalk
     
  9. Striver

    Striver New in Town

    Great stuff, Married Hermit! Exactly the sort of way a mere (though in your case, beautiful) jacket can change the way we live!
     
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  10. steve u

    steve u One of the Regulars

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    iowa
    A jacket that changed my life..I've had four Schott's , a cafe racer(1971) chip(1977)? and two A2's(1990's). And one Legendary D-pocket(mid 2000's). And now my LW TEST. I don't know if any changed my life but breaking in the LW has me questioning my manhood. (from LW's website)
    My A2 that I wore most days. steve[​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  11. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    This one did it for me:
    Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 10.23.48 AM.jpg Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 10.51.27 AM.jpg
    Ever since I saw this blog post in Oct 2011, I've been obsessed...spent thousands of dollars and probably millions of wasted hours searching and bidding...
    The end is near though, as I'm in line for a GW version.;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  12. JMax

    JMax Call Me a Cab

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    2,789
    Old Harley jacket I had on when I hit gravel on a particularly nasty switchback in the Rocky Mountains. Got up. Jacket did it’s job but barely. Picked up bike with help from locals that saw me go down. Shared a laugh. Rolled on down the mountain and back to Denver. I decided never to ride with anything less than thick, heavy leather. And I had a Vanson in the closet smh.
     
  13. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    This Korean no-name beater A-2 circa 2011-12. Given to me out of the blue by a coworker on his way out; he was in the process of being fired and despite knowing this, gifted me the jacket on his last day. Said something like "this reminded me of you. Thanks."I guess it made me feel cool because well, leather jackets are the epitome of cool....the jacket didn't fit, thus the research for a replacement that started this quest.

    I have always liked aviation and even punk rock and it was a trip to find jackets, of all things, tying those things together.
     
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  14. TheMarriedHermit

    TheMarriedHermit One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    My ten cents, with some sense, I hope: It seems to me that what you call "my stupid obsession with leather jackets" is a passionate appreciation of the material itself, and of the craftsmanship involved. A well-designed and made leather jacket is an object of honesty, utility, and beauty--things that are all too rare in our time; to wear it is to experience a connection to something real and meaningful, and that experience is bound to change a person, if in a subtle way.
    By the way, thanks for turning me on, through your enthusiastic posts, to the Dyer brand. In a real life lounge I'd buy you a drink.

    Sent from my LG-SP320 using Tapatalk
     
  15. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

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    I hope that you found that jacket all I ever said it will be though if my experience with jacket brands counts for anything at all, I never had any doubts it would be anything less. WD had a great product. Among the best, in my opinion. That's pretty much a perfect jacket you got, one that you could hardly improve upon. :)
     
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  16. The jacket that changed my life had to be my first Aero custom jacket in 2000. Finally I found a jacket company that could easily fit my longer arms and long lean body. The offering of FQHH was also new for me, then later I found quite a few offerings in various hides which was great. I still have that Highwayman and wear it to this day. This new direction led me to trying LW and a few other custom jacket companies and then researching the differences. My final preferences leaned toward Vanson ( who in some of their styles surprisingly fit me in sleeve length although not custom made to my measurements ), Aero and possibly soon Thedi.
    HD
     
  17. Striver

    Striver New in Town

    That is absolutely spot on. Much in our societies is bland or barely adequate. A well made, attractive jacket can be appreciated... and it needn't be associated with great expense/ designer status: vintage clothing (especially leather) has durability which can afford the wearer a connection with times when manufacturers had pride in the quality of their products... and some jacket manufacturers still retain that pride today Maybe it's of benefit to us in our modern lifestyles to feel close to that attitude.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  18. TheMarriedHermit

    TheMarriedHermit One of the Regulars

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    I do not idealize the past, since it was never a happy picnic, but still--I cannot help feeling like an exile from another time, a stranger in this shoddy, disposable, ugly world. For everything gained in our day and age--the flood of information at our fingertips, for example, or even the ability to connect with like-minded people on a forum such as this one, there is much being lost every day. I find it vital, and necessary to keeping my sanity, to own only things of craftsmanship and high quality. One can find those at any budget, the internet auction sites or thrift websites being some of those modern-day benefits, although, having grown up in a town that had a couple of cobblers, a few tailors, including in leather, thrift shops, and a flea market, not to mention access to mail-order catalogs, I remember other ways that worked just fine. Cheap "goods" of any kind are neither inexpensive, since they wear out fast and cost more to replace, nor good, since by their very nature of bad design and low quality of material and workmanship they truly are dead to the eye and hand and soul, and diminish one's experience of life. It is a misconception to talk about all material objects being inanimate. Some material things, no matter how humble, can be animate, can possess the spirit imparted to them by the material and by the designer and the maker (ideally the same person), whether they come out of a studio, a workshop, or a factory. I'll stop rambling now.

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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  19. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Staff Member Bartender

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    I won't even get into the history of my first leather jacket and how my girlfriend wore it around my apartment, as management didn't like it the first time.

    So I won't be so foolish to even think about repeating the story, but that jacket did go a ways in changing my life. And she was a fun girlfriend.
     
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  20. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I think there are probably three leather jackets that changed my life - two I owned, one on screen. Back in 1990, my parents knew I desperately wanted a black leather jacket. So at Christmas they got me.... a black leather.... what can only be called a blouson. You know, the sort of thing that middle-aged church youth group leaders who thought they were down with the kids would wear? Having wanted a 'biker jacket', as only that would do (a Perfecto type, as we'd now call it... I'd discovered punk rock in the Summer of 1989...), it went straight back to the shop. Dad did relent and get me a Perfecto type; there are photos of me in it. I wish I had photos of the label as I have no idea what it was. It was bought in the same local menswear place. Black nylon quilt lining, YKK zips, plain chrome snaps (on both lapel and collar, though only the lapels had the corresponding male piece underneath to snap them in place, I recall), one internal pocket in the lining with a snap fastener. The label was white print on black leather, referenced New York City (I think it implied made there but can't recall if it outright said it), and 'Naked Cowhide'. Cracking jacket, wore it everywhere and every chance for the next few years until Summer of 93, when I went to put it on and found it was, well.... more of an accurate Joey Ramone look than it should be, and I'd outgrown it. That was the jacket that really got me into leather jackets. It was much later on when I got into other styles; when I turned 21, I bought a cheap HWM-type jacket. My parents had tried to buy me a leather jacket for my 21st,. but this time they bought a 'biker jacket' from a motorcycle shop. One of those padded, eighties monstrosities with black painted zips, a velcro stay at the cuff zip, sort of thing 'serious motorcyclists' who either didn't care what they looked like or hated themselves wore in the 90s. Of course I couldn't let them spend that sort of money (around GBP150, which was quite a lot in 1995) when I knew I'd never wear it (ironically, my brother saw it before I did and apparently took one look, shrugged and said "He'll never wear it."). So it went back. The HWM style one was worn for a bit, but then got left in the closet as it wasn't the Perfecto I really wanted. In those just-pre-web days, when everywhere I had access to said they didn't stock the kind of jacket I actually wanted and the bike shop guy said they didn't make them any more, except for one that was "really for women, because it's too short", I ended up without a leather for some time. By 25, I'd moved to London and eventually retrieved that HWM type. Something, I don't know what, caused me to think it was good idea - I think partly because I didn't want to wear the cheap Perfecto copy I'd eventually found in a charity shop for a tenner to the office, looked a bit 'statementy' at the time. Wore it a lot then, got to enjoy it; when the lining went, I replaced it with a Cafe Racer type which I wore on and off anywhere I wanted something subtler than the Perfecto for a few years. Then around the same time, I regenerated into the vintage thing, and started appreciating (after all those years of Indy pointing it out) that brown leather could be cool too, which led me to this place (which, ironically, I stumbled across when looking for some high and wide trousers for a Joker outfit in 2007), Aero and such. So, yeah, I'd say those are the three jackets that were instrumental in changing my look - and, because my look was always reflective of the tribal subculture with which I identified to a great extent, much broader change... The original P-type, that boxy, quasi-HWM type that persuaded me there were Other Styles, and the Indy jacket which is what, ultimately, convinced me there were Other Colours.
     

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