Friday, July 31, 2009

Born to be Styled: How to Retrend a Vintage Motorcycle Jacket

Ordinarily I'm very keen on function in fashion. But sometimes the off-kilter works in a way that makes me say "damn what it's supposed to do, that looks fantastic."

Such is the case with this cropped bomber from Phi's 2009 ready-to-wear collection. (This boutique brand is slowly growing presence around the world, showing in hip outposts like Colette in Paris as well as in their own shops in L.A. and downtown New York. If you want haute urban edge, and have handfuls to spend, this is the label you want.)

What I love about this jacket is the cropped sleeves. Which is hardly news in ready-to-wear, but to do it with a motorcycle jacket is audacious, because the whole genetic code of riding leathers is about protecting skin and joints against the very unlovely road rash in case of knockdown and slide.

So, clearly this one's for display purposes only, but what a display. The black-on-black proportions sing.

In terms of reality, most of us can't afford this piece off the rack. But what we can do is work those same proportions on the cheap. Motorcycle jackets are all over charity shops/thrift stores, and they're equally findable, and affordable, on eBay. Below is a nice looking one in a boy's large, for a petite lady . . . obviously size up to suit your own shape.

How to get the fashionable cropped sleeve, if you want it? Before buying anything pay a call to your local alterations person, and find out if they can work with leather (most industrial sewing machines can, but do ask). If the alterations folks can't do it, maybe there's still a shoe repair outfit nearby with the equipment and gumption to do the fairly simple job of cutting and hemming the sleeves.

The entire operation--jacket + nip/tuck--shouldn't cost more than dinner and a movie. You'll be able to ride the jacket right through the fall. Start looking now! As soon as the season turns, others will too.

(Phi jacket illustrated in British Vogue Catwalk Report, August 2009©The Condé Nast Publications Ltd)

1 comment:

  1. Really great suggestions, I'm keeping my eye out for motorcycle jackets when I go to thrift shops from now on!