13 December 2008

In Search Of...

...The Perfect Leather Jacket

Sagittarius is the seeking sign. Bow drawn in the heavens, we are a divided lot--half animal, half man--elevated above the beasts but not quite fully human. This time of year, our time, is particularly hard for Sagittarians. Our sign rules us as the days grow shorter, headed into the Winter Solstice, when Capricorn will take over. We become introspective, a little moody, inclined toward reflection, and generally a little less zingy.

Each year my birthday and Christmas result in a lot of people asking me what I might want as a gift. In the last decade, the answer has become increasingly difficult. Mostly, I tell people now to give a gift to the Trevor Project.

The reality of being of a certain age and in a certain place socio-economically is that there isn't much I want. In fact, I would argue that I want for nothing, except perhaps a loving boyfriend,

or maybe a dog.

Even these things aren't really necessary, so I have a hard time putting them in the category of want. They are also notoriously difficult to find.

Which brings me to my new section: In Search Of...

In a capitalist society, we have so much that buying can become an act not of acquisition but of selection. I want a dress, says the Fashionista. But it's not just a dress that the Fashionista wants. It's a Philip Lim, or a Leger. It's color, shape, wearability. Perhaps it's for an occassion, perhaps not. Regardless, the process that begins is what I call "The Luxury of Choice".

In other places (and I don't mean other countries, just other places), choice itself is a luxury. We get to choose. We choose what sites we read, what clothes we wear, with whom we socialize. All of these things are the soul of luxury. To me, luxury is not the quality of the item necessarily, but the ability to have chosen it in the first place from among a constellation of options.

This season, a hole in my wardrobe has made itself known. It's always been there, but the climate of Southern California has allowed me to ignore the lack of a certain fundamental piece of a man's wardrobe: the Leather Jacket.

Now it's time for the Big Fish story. There was once a leather jacket so beautiful that it entranced Sable Crow, who had flown to an event innocently unaware of the creature laying in wait. This jacket was of the finest leather, with a treatment that was unique (it was like a fine-wale courduroy made from leather!) and stylish (motorcycle jacket in shape, but not padded or poofed). It was delicious, and Sable Crow found himself powerless against the power of the ring, er, AmEx. He bought the jacket.

But the power of the ring, er, AmEx, would not be disuaded. The jacket hung on Sable Crow's bedroom door, a reminder of his transgression. The coat had cost as much as--say--an auto bailout, an infrastructure project, or AIG. Sable Crow, in a fit of remorse, returned the jacket and cast it into the fires of Emporio.

You can see the jacket here, styled beneath the furry overcoat:

So what does Sable Crow do, then, as fall approaches? He starts looking for leather jackets elsewhere. But, like Goldilocks, none are "quite right".

So now, I ask for my Reader's help with my new leather fetish: What's the best men's leather jacket?

Is it a bomber?

A car coat?

A motorcycle jacket?

A harness?

Is it casual? Formal?

The choices are mind-boggling. Meanwhile, Sable Crow drifts from Emporio to Barneys to John Varvatos, idly pawing dozens of leather coats that just don't seem right. Should a leather coat be this much of an issue?

I honestly can't think of another purchase that has given me this much pause, with the possible exception of my car.

About the only thing I can settle on is that it must be black. Quelle surprise.

It seems reasonable that if you're going to spend the wardrobe-equivalent of a car, that it should be on something that is flattering, classic, versatile, and in all ways perfect. It is, in short, a Sagittarian finger-trap! The harder I hunt and struggle, the more impossible it becomes to escape. I would love Jean Bean to weigh in on this one. The season may have passed, but a leather jacket has become my perennial sartorial quest. (At Neiman Marcus today, I asked the Duke of Style if leather jackets would come in for spring. "Naturally!" he exclaimed, his Tom Ford suit softly echoing his excitement with its subtle hand stitching. "That's the BEST time to buy a leather coat for LA since the leathers will be thinner and more year-round.")

My thought is to go more luxe, so I'm watching the following designers: Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and Giorgio Armani (not Emporio! I'm breaking ranks!)

Is this the wrong track in a depression? Sable Crow would love reader feedback. In this case, as in so many, a woman's opinion could be very helpful. What do men desire?

A Leather Jacket is my new In Search Of...

...post script...

Some additional notes. Look at this comparison:

Creepy, no? Maybe Botega Venetta's Thomas Maier is a Trekker?

Speaking of creepy, and trekkers, get a load of this. F+! A sartorial Trek blog! I can't stand it. High brow meets low brow! Runway meets starbase! Sable Crow is undone!


sopamaggie said...

Definitely the harness! And there is nothing wrong with spending obscene amounts of money on the coat (if it's not putting you in debt). The economy needs that kind of spending. It's patriotic! (cringe)

WeezerMonkey said...

The pictures accompanying this post are outstanding.

As for being on the wrong track in a depression, we're in Vegas and have been eating meals more expensive than the cost of our room. We're totally with you here.

Diabolina Da Fashionista said...

you had me until Trekker. all my joy undone by creepy aliens - eeks!

I think the most classic, longest lasting leather jacket to get is a blazer cut. like the one Mr. D lost.

still hunting for my leather soulmate,

Jean Bean said...

Moi? If you want to be timeless then you must choose a leather jacket in a style that originated in leather. So that includes bomber, motorcycle, motocross and... harness.

amber said...

so long as you can afford it and it's classic, go luxe! it'll look better, last longer and you'll be happier with it than opting for a less expensive (and likely less purtty) jacket.

as for style, i saw motorcyle or bomber. while i love the look of blazers, you're high fashion enough to pull off something more fun.

much luck to you m'dear!

Jennifer said...

My husband has a delicious leather blazer. I don't know if you'd like it though. Wrong Italian designed it. It's a Versace. But it is gorgeous.