leather jacket lifestyle question 1

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by regius, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. regius

    regius Call Me a Cab

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    I want to get some thoughts from the community here regarding the perception of and attitude towards leather jackets in the olden days vs now.

    Now: leather jackets seems to pretty much fall in two three mental buckets in the average person's eye, "leather jacket", "bomber leather jacket", and "moto jacket" (maybe in the 90s there was those long, knee length belted coat but not sure who wears those anymore). "leather jacket" refers to any straight zip brown or black jackets of any design, bomber is anything with elastic, and moto is black cross zip, shiny hardware and "studs" (i.s. snaps). The perceived versatility/occasion-appropriateness of these jackets nowadays is very broad, sometimes you can even attend a business meeting donning a leather jacket, provided it is conservative enough. The historical social/utility of these designs no longer matter, it's just leather jacket.

    However, in the 30s to 50s, when it comes to shop for or putting on a leather jacket, I wonder if the person would be a lot more conscious of his image and the appropriateness of the style? A "white collar" gentleman would likely consciously avoid buying a mandarin collar avaitor (like the Lewis MK), or a "police" cross zip (like that japanese man with his two kids in the historical photo), because at the time, these styles are made for motor sports or a profession? So the high street shops would pretty much just offer straight zip civilian/halfbelts to the public? and for the "sports"/functional styles, you'd have to go to a specialty place?

    Of course, cross zip does not exclusively mean police or motorsport, we have the bootleggers worn by civilians too, because after all, the lapelled leather garment was a simulation of the suit, sport jacket and great coat etc and in reverse, the cross zip motorcycle jacket borrowed from the lapel design that had existed for hundreds of years prior. But, the point remains, that if the visual cues suggest too strongly of a specialized use, I wonder if the person outside of that use would be much more conscious about it and avoid wearing it because his co-worker would say "are you going to the racing track/where's your plane?".

    Thank you!!
     
  2. regius

    regius Call Me a Cab

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    The second inquiry is about "what leather jacket would you wear to actually do hard work in". let me elaborate.
    On one end of the spectrum, motorcycle jacket makers today like Schott, Vanson, Bates, Harro, Belstaff Pure Moto line, LW, make their jackets for the intended use, and we use them. Riders actually either buy it for riding purpose, or will ride in them for protection.
    Moving along the spectrum, we have Himel, now, anybody actually wear a Himel to ride? or the hand would reach for the Vanson next to it and always keep the Himel for fashion?

    Similarly for work and civilian styles, do you garden in it? do you shovel snow? do you dig tree hole? mix cement? (for all these activities, I know one guy who does, you can guess who ;) ) and which makers jacket would you do these rugged activities in?

    Thank you!
     
  3. Will Zach

    Will Zach One Too Many

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    I may differ with most here, but for me, leather jackets are essentially town.

    Also travel, but mostly town. Both activities got unfortunately severely curtailed by the pandemic. For physical work, outdoors, hunting, fishing I will put on my Carhartt heavy duck jacket or similar.
     
    JustinW likes this.
  4. Yep Carhart for work. Expensive leather for stylin !!

    20181224_163222.jpg 20181224_163821.jpg 20191125_145526.jpg
     
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  5. Mich486

    Mich486 One Too Many

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    Feels to me all the leather jacket makers we discuss here are making casual wear jackets. Yes they were originally meant to be utilitarian but that was more than half a century ago.

    If I’d ride I would just get a proper motorcycle jacket from the likes of Dainese etc. Doing manual labour in an expensive leather jacket in 2021 feels extremely unnatural and staged to me.
     
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  6. dudewuttheheck

    dudewuttheheck Call Me a Cab

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    Most if not all of the jackets that I own were not meant to be work wear or motorcycle jackets in the first place. I think the Mulholland has some CHP moto jacket origins, but that would be it. Aside from being used for riding motorcycles, leather jackets are casual wear. They are not the most easy to move around in so they would make absolutely terrible garments for actual work.
     
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  7. dudewuttheheck

    dudewuttheheck Call Me a Cab

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    One of my biggest pet peeves is how people think anything cross zip is automatically a motorcycle jacket. I specifically have avoided buying cross zip motorcycle jackets for this reason. Both of my cross zips that I own now are simple sports jackets. That's it. With that said, leather jackets are almost entirely for style now so it really doesn't matter what the original purpose was now.
     
    TG3 likes this.
  8. regius

    regius Call Me a Cab

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    Appreciate the quick feedback! That's right, I also cringe when people say "wow, nice MOTO jacket!". However, my question is not about the original purpose of these styles, I acknowledged that nowadays it doesn't matter anymore, hence the three loose mental buckets. I was asking about the "fashion sense" of people in the old days. I suppose it was much more granular and defined.
     
    dudewuttheheck likes this.
  9. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I have shoveled snow in heavier-leather jackets before. And I wear them into and out of work in a factory where 600+ people are welding day in and day out. However they are not being worn while I myself am welding.

    I use Carhartt's and Duluth trading jackets and sweatshirts for actual work. Like dude mentioned, leather is not the best to move around in, that said I do not "baby" my jackets either. The get backpacks strapped over them, get walked in a lot in every type of weather, slosh through snow and rain, etc.

    Let me ask the question a different way. If you and a friend wanted to go out for a hunting trip, and had to drive 30+ miles of dirt, unpaved roads to get to you camping site, would you take a white Bentley sedan with a White leather interior and Wool carpets?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  10. Monitor

    Monitor

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    13,127
    What I said in another post; Leather is leather. I don't really believe that Lost Worlds horsehide is particularly more durable than Shinki. Sure, LW's horse is slightly heavier, it's got tougher finish so you ought to get a few more years of use out of it in the long run but ultimately, both jackets could be used as working garments with equal amount of success.

    And it's not that people in the past deliberately subjected their clothes to extreme conditions. They had less crap to wear so I'm guessing they were actually taking better care of their leathers than we do! All that knowledge about conditioning & maintaining leather had to have came from somewhere.

    So anyway, I'm not sure I see your point, @dudewuttheheck as there's nothing about your jackets that... Well, makes them unsuitable as work-wear. Sure, cosmetically, they might scuff sooner, dull down, maybe even last a bit less but again, it's still the same ol' hide, same thread and same hardware used in any leather jacket made back then that was intended for serious use.

    But I'd like to hear your perspective, why you feel they weren't meant to be work wear.

    Another example; Fact is, newest Dainese professional leather racing gear is made of leather that's lighter than Shinki so provided your Mullholland makes a comfortable motorcycle jacket, there's absolutely no reason why you couldn't ride in it.

    In all honesty, leather cross zips are absolute junk on most motorcycles that aren't chopper or cruiser.

    All this is to say, I'm pretty sure that it's the price tag that makes people reluctant to do hard work in their leather jackets. Which is perfectly understandable because why risk damaging your $2000 investment if you have $50 Carhartt you bought specifically for the purpose.
     
  11. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    I agree that I wouldn’t mix cement in one of my leather jackets, nor will I knowingly wear one in a rainstorm. I do wear them to my job, but end up taking them off after a bit because they aren’t that comfortable.
     
    jonesy86 and dudewuttheheck like this.
  12. Coriu

    Coriu One of the Regulars

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    In a sense, I think fashion was simpler during the 50's, especially for a middle class, married man. My father came out of the Great Depression and grew up dirt poor. He was a young man in the 50's. Guys that grew up like him did not splurge on clothing, even when they had money. He definitely would have considered a leather jacket an extravagance. He was either in a tie for work or going out to dinner, or in clothes for getting dirty. There was no middle of the road.

    He was an air force, combat veteran with an athletic physique, even in his later years. If anyone could have pulled off a leather jacket, he could have, and I don't ever remember him ever wearing one. My uncle, another military vet, was a hard-core biker and motorcycle mechanic. I don't think I ever saw him not wearing a denim jacket or leather jacket. LOL Where/when I grew up, the blue collar guys wore leather jackets, not professionals. Since my father was a professional, and took his image seriously, it may have played into him never wearing one.

    Today I see middle class, middle-aged people fretting over what they are going to wear to go to Starbucks. I think the opportunities for the average Joe to wear leather jackets and look cool are much more abundant today.
     
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  13. Carlos840

    Carlos840 I'll Lock Up

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    I wouldn't do hard work in any of my leather jackets.
    For that i wear a Carhart Detroit and some B01 pants, they are cheaper and far more durable than leather.
    You can also wash them which is nice.
    Recently for me "hard work" has been dry walling/construction, installing boilers/heating systems, gardening and forestry work and fixing a bunch of barbwire fencing.
    None of these activities would make any sens in a leather jacket, it would impede my reach, would get scraped in no time, would stink of two stroke fuel, be full of cement/plaster stains, it would be a waste.
    I thought about using my leather Lee Storm just as an experiment, to see what would happen but i couldn't do it.

    I will happilly wear red wing boots whilst doing all that, but IMO a nice leather jacket is going to be destroyed in no time.

    I do wear jackets on the bike, i take it as a case by case.
    Some i don't trust, like my Aero or my Himel, some i do like the LW and the Vansons.
    It also depends if i am taking a short ride down the road or if i will be on the motorway all day.
     
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  14. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Now - the leather "jackets" I wear on my feet are a whole different story. I feel no reserve whatsoever doing hard, grimy work in these at all...and they have a lot of leather in them...

    IMG_8080.JPG
     
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  15. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    Wore my Eastman A-2 picking lemons the other day. Probably about the most foolish thing one could do with a knitted jacket. One tiny little prick in left knit but otherwise it survived. Now I wear it a little more liberally.
     
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  16. willyto

    willyto One Too Many

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    The leather used for professional motorcycling and the ones sold for riding are more resistant to abrasion. It's not about how light the leather is but the properties of it. Kangaroo leather has the best abrasion resistance.

    I can imagine loungers doing this with their leather jackets



    If I did any manual labour I would do it in my leather jackets if it was practical and I don't really see the problem but I haven't paid +2000€ for any of them either. If the leather jacket doesn't limit my movements and keeps me warm and protected I think there's nothing wrong with it.

    I've moved furniture and got down an armchair 6 floors while wearing my Freewheelers Sunset, I got scuffs on the back, shoulders and sleeves from hitting the wall of the stairs apart from dirt and some paint flake, I didn't really care.

    There's quite a few photos online of farmers, factory workers, cowboys, working men in general wearing them. Did they wear them while doing all their work? Probably not but I'm sure that workers moving boxes around, beer cases, food, farmers,etc wore them regardless.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They were also utilitarian garments.
     
  17. MrProper

    MrProper One Too Many

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    i wear my leather jackets for all activities, unless it is too warm. then i take them off ;)
    I would rather not wear them on a construction site or while painting. but I avoid this work.
    but dragging boxes, shoveling snow, tidying up the terrace, etc. no problem.
     
  18. Seank

    Seank One of the Regulars

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    266
    I wear scrubs to work. I’d feel pretty silly strolling into the OR in a leather jacket.
    all my jackets are for casual wear. I don’t baby them, but they don’t get abused either. I used to ride a Ducati but sold that years ago and don’t ride anymore....
    That being said, I have no problem subjecting any of my jackets to weather, work, whatever...they can take it and usually look better for it, but to be truthful, they mostly just get worn in a casual setting around town, traveling, etc...
     
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  19. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

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    I think to me it has to be button front in black or brown goathide with button cuff with cotton drill liner, reasons:

    just more ventilation in between buttons, also I can adjust which button to undo to give more movement but one or two remained closed so the jacket don't flap around and get caught into things.

    has to be in color that is easy to maintain, like black or very common brown same tone as your brown shoe polish just in case it needs touching up or get accident with some solvent or paint splatter, goat since goat is strong yet has some flex and thinner, but long lasting and not so easy to look wornout. and it has to have a strong and breathing liner.

    the sleeve ends with buttoned cuff, so there is nothing dangling like zip puller and if needed you can un button and fold the cuff up when you need more freedom with your hand or when you wash your hands.

    this is just me imagining working or cycling physically in the tropics, also imagining working near machinery or in heavy traffic like ours here (hence no dangly things) and under warm weather, would be totally different if you make railroad in siberia for another extreme example :D
     
  20. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

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    honestly the most physical labor I do is cleaning cat litter can be dusty and I don't want dangly thing on my cuff, and lifting water bottle into the dispenser, and hand pumping tires if they seem a bit deflated, I do all those in my leather jacket if I happen to wear them. I never wash my bike or car in my leather since I'm afraid metal things on my jacket would scratch paint when I lean over them.
     

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