Nikki’s Inbox: The Full Leather Jacket

Hey Nikki. I recently bought a black leather jacket and I’m looking for things to wear under it. At the moment, I’ve got a white button-up shirt. I’m just looking for more things that would fit.

Tusse, 18/Sweden


Greetings, Tusse! I commend you on your purchase because leather jackets (especially those made of genuine leather) are a great fashion investment. Marlon Brando and James Dean remain immortalized looking rugged and oh-so-appealingly aloof and stylish in their leather finery. I might be giving away my age here but really, a guy who pulls off a leather jacket at any age is noteworthy.

Leather Versatility
Leather jackets have come a long way from the “baddie” stereotype portrayed on screen. Today, this staple works for both casual and, yes, even semi-formal occasions if you’re bold enough to do so, and it comes in a variety of cuts and styles suitable for both men and women.

I have no idea what your leather jacket looks like, Tusse, but for the benefit of my readers, here’s a quick lesson on the three basic styles of leather jackets. The fatigue style comes with two pockets at the chest and may have epaulettes on the shoulders. The motocross (or moto) style is more minimalist, with very little detail save for the side pockets. The bomber jacket might be more familiar as this one is constructed with a rib-knit collar and cuffs.

FatigueFatigueBomber

Now, how can you get a lot of mileage out of your leather jacket? Read on!

The Prepster
For a look that mixes both formal flair and casual cool, I have two suggestions. For the first, choose dark-rinse slim-fit (not skinny) jeans and a skinny black knit tie to go with your button-down shirt. Add your leather jacket and finish with white sneakers. You have the option of tucking in the pant legs somewhat messily into the shoes for a little street flavor. The shirt, tie and jacket combo gives the look a more refined flair but the sneakers and jeans add some urban edginess.

The Dapper Gent-meets-Bad Boy
Your second option is to contrast the “tough” look of the jacket with sleek dress trousers (the kind you wear to prom or a formal event) in charcoal gray. Pair these with a neutral long-sleeved henley or graphic print V-neck tee. Finish with some black oxford shoes and aviator shades. Cool, yes?


Go Lazy for the Weekend
If you plan on just hanging out during weekends but still want to look sharp, start with a bold black and white graphic tee. Top that with a lightweight camouflage print hoodie. This relaxed vibe goes best with baggy or distressed jeans and your favorite Converse or athletic shoes. Tie the look together with a slouchy beanie and those trusty aviators.


Go Textural and Visual
A foolproof combo is to pair your jacket with that classic winter staple: the plaid shirt. Deep shades like royal blue, wine red and hunter green bring out the sheen of the jacket. If you’re not fond of plaid, corduroy is also an option. With its rich texture, you can wear a camel or green corduroy shirt under the jacket to play up the contrast in textures. For your bottoms, gray or black jeans will allow the colors of your shirt to stand out better. Finish with combat or ankle boots.


You can try these four looks first, Tusse. As you grow more comfortable and confident wearing your leather jacket, you can try mixing in other pieces, like a waistcoat. The great thing about a leather jacket is that with proper care, it can last for years, making it a worthwhile investment. Genuine leather also acquires a nicer patina over time as long as you take care of it.

Good luck!

Nikki

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