Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How to Wear a Leather Jacket (+ Not Look Like a Jerk)

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Recently a reader reached out to me on Instagram and asked for tips for wearing a leather jacket. Specifically, for wearing a leather jacket and not looking like a jerk. Which is funny and goes to show what might feel like second nature to one person may feel completely foreign to another – in life and in style. We're going deep, guys. Anyway, I've had my Schott leather jacket for three or four years now, and the thing honestly feels like second nature to me. Coming in to fall it's what I throw on over dresses and tees when there's a slight nip in the air but I don't want to wear a sweater. When winter rolls around – or at least early winter – I'll wear it with cozier sweaters (like these), hats, and scarves. I love my leather jacket, but I can also understand the possibility of making yourself feel like you're wearing a costume if you've never delved into motorcycle jacket territory. Notice I said "making yourself". When it comes to getting dressed and stepping out of our personal comfort zones, I think half the battle is within our own heads. Unless you're doing your best Danny Zuko impression, you probably don't look like a jerk in your jacket. You probably look great. Really great. BUT if you need some ideas, today I'm offering some tips for styling your leather jacket – because why let something so versatile languish, unworn, in your closet?

Quality: Keep it high
First and foremost, I can't stress quality enough. A cheap leather (or even "leather") jacket looks exactly that – cheap. Even if it's genuine leather, a stiff, poorly made jacket will take years to break in  (if it even lasts that long) and look uncomfortable. This is a piece worth investing in because frankly, it's not like you need more than one. A single leather jacket, that's all. But investing doesn't have to cost you a fortune, it can simply mean closely watching sales and monitoring sites like Poshmark (for gently used and new) or Etsy (for vintage - though do be sure to take measurements). Case in point: My Schott Perfecto, which I purchased on major sale from Urban Outfitters for under $100 (the one linked here is very similar). And for the vegans out there, don't dismay, there are some gorgeous vegan options out there, like those from Fauxgerty.

Leather jacket styling tricks
Now, when it comes to actually wearing your leather jacket? It's my opinion that simple looks best (the term 'simple' being incredibly subjective). This certainly wasn't always my opinion (I've been known to perhaps overdo it at times), but if you're just dipping your toes into leather jacket territory, erring on the side of minimal may feel more approachable. My all-time, go-to, slept-too-late combination will always be my leather jacket, vintage Levi's, sneakers or flats, simple earrings, and a basic vintage tee (basically the look above). Nothing crazy, but comfortable, cool, and laid back. I also love throwing it on over dresses to add a bit of edge, and with vintage pieces to pull a look together. See? There's no huge secret to be revealed, it just comes down to feeling confident and maybe reminding yourself that at the end of the day, it's just clothes. Have fun. Here are three easy looks to copy the next time you're standing in front of your closet, wondering "How the heck do I style my leather jacket?"

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What is more classic than classic stripes + a leather jacket? Tell me, I'll wait. This look literally looks great on anyone (really, I've never seen it look bad!). If you're feeling especially bold, add a red lip.

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Yes, you can wear white after labor day and a white dress pairs perfectly with leather and sneakers for a playful vibe. Go super girly like the dress here, so super simple – it'll look amazing either way.

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Another study in contrasts, try pairing your jacket with unexpected combos, like a cotton knit and/or a silk midi skirt. Add a pair of walkable boots to keep it casual.

BONUS: Most of the pieces in these outfits are either thrifted and/or have been in my closet for years (I've had those Frye boots since 2010 and that striped tee since 2014). Why is this important? Because like a classic leather jacket, investing in good-quality clothes will save you money in the long run. Especially if you thrift them! They'll last longer – notice how relatively fresh nice material looks at the thrift store compared to the cheaply made material hanging next to it? – and you'll likely love them longer. There's a reason the black leather motorcycle jacket is a classic!

Stay tuned for more posts offering tips for thrifting for the seasons and thrifting better quality items, and in the interim, let me know if there's a specific post you'd like to see on here.


Marti Esther said...

LOVE this post! I love my leather jacket but have such a hard time working it into outfits because it *seems* so out of place with the rest of my wardrobe. I have some great ideas, now! Thank you :)

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