Friday, 8 January 2010

Fashion for bikers (yes really)

Given that my eldest daughter recently described my dress sense as that of a 'homeless hillbilly' I may be an unlikely person to blog on anything remotely to do with fashion.

Much as we would hate to admit it - bikers - like any other sub-culture have a dress code. And it changes over time so you could call it fashion. For example when I started out back in the 80's mullet haircuts, leather jeans with thong-lacing down the side and tassel-fringe jackets were perfectly acceptable - nowadays they are definitely not. And much as we would like to claim that it's all about function not form - it isn't - otherwise we'd all go around dressed like couriers in sensible day-glo armoured  jackets and rubber derry-boots.

Personally I like vintage things -  planes, trains, automobiles, books, watches, furniture, buildings  - and bikes. And I like vintage-ish clothes.  In  biking terms this tend to mean  anything that is practical for motorcycling but isn't actually purpose-made for motorcycling: Traditional work boots, dark jeans, plaid shirts and a variety of jackets. Leather, canvas, cotton, wool - not  nylon, gortex or plastic. Throw in some old-school accessories, like chain-wallets and bandannas and, however much it might be embarrassing  to admit, we have a distinct look.

I like to think that there is something  serious underlying this  general vintage thing ; a  harking back to a more innocent  age of craftsmanship when things were built to a standard rather than a price. Maybe it's a subconscious rejection of a throwaway consumer culture. In specific biking  terms an age  when motorcycling was an everyday activity done in everyday clothes not a 'leisure activity' that you had to dress up specially for.

Or maybe it's just because it looks cool.

Anyway I've had a quest for the ultimate vintage jacket for a while. Now thanks to ebay I've got an A2 flying jacket, a Schott leather jacket, a replica tankers' jacket and an original US navy deck jacket. I've decided that my preference is with the last one - which I got a few weeks ago - it's warm, almost waterproof and just about knackered enough. The only thing is that it's slightly too snug a fit over a big jumper.

So I have just extravagantly brought another slightly larger one on ebay - for £15. I'm happy  - but the rest of the family think I'm bonkers. 

(Disclaimer: Sadly I  look nothing  like Paul Newman shown wearing the same jacket).

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