Do you feel that? The cool air arriving from the north is the first sign of a glorious summer coming to an unfortunate but timely end. November, is a special month for me and many alike. It’s the month that ushers in the cold weather, and the vibrant landscape of red, yellow, and brown, starts to turn into a grayer, more somber view. It reminds me that all good things must come to an end. However, the end of a well deserved summer is only another transition into a different mood and way of thought. With the brisk breeze and cooler temperatures the weather brings out some great creativity in our attire.
My favorite part of the season is when I grab the bomber jacket out of the closet and put it on for the first time in months. The heavy thick brown leather becomes a part of me once again. An old leather jacket has a certain life of its own. It has personality, it needs to breathe, and it needs to be cared for.
Take some time looking after your leather jacket, and your leather jacket will look after you. Here are some tips:
Know What You’re Working With: All leathers aren't created equal. Cowhide, buffalo, lambskin, sheepskin all react differently, and they all need special care. Make sure you know what kind of leather jacket you have, and read up on some of their more specific caring for routines.
- Let it Breathe: If I can whisper words of wisdom, it’s let it breathe. Your jacket is a second skin, and it has pores just like your own. If you happen to get a garment bag with the purchase of a new leather jacket, get it out of there once you get home, and always hang on a thick hanger in a nice dry place. This means no basements, and no garages. Don’t hang it in your walk in humidor either! Avoid sunlight as well. Sunlight can fade the leather, and heat can make it crack. A nice dark closet with some decent airflow will do the trick.
Protectant/Conditioner is Key: Make sure to protect your jacket from cracking and splitting with some leather protectant. This will help keep the jacket from getting dry. There are tons of brands out there to choose from, and I don’t want to recommend any one specific one. This is because sometimes leather jackets are a little particular with their protectant choices. That being said, always, always, always, do a spot check before applying on the entire jacket. You do not want your favorite jacket to deteriorate because you didn't test it out first. Re-apply every 3-4 months, or as needed. Make sure the protectant has a waterproof aspect as well. Water/moisture is the enemy of a leather product, so try to never get it wet, although we know it happens sometimes.
Keep it Clean: This one is simple. Just like any other article of clothing, you want it clean. However, a leather jacket requires a little more care than a cotton shirt. Get a leather cleaner. Putting a little bit of leather cleaner on a rag, (spot checking first of course) and wiping away dirt, grime, salt, blood (yes, it can happen) or anything else you splash on your second skin, will clean the leather without damaging it.
The leather jacket is a timeless look, and an American icon. It has a rich history and has played a number of roles in cinema and television. It is a sign of rebellion when worn by Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953), or a sign of harmless attitude with a twist of cool when worn by Henry Winkler as The Fonz in Happy Days (1974). The leather jacket has evolved and changed over the years, but its function has remained the same - protecting the body within the jacket, all while looking great. So whether you are shooting down Nazis in WWII, riding with a biker gang, or just looking like a badass in your leather jacket, there is no doubt that this article of clothing will forever remain at the top of the pedestal as the supreme icon of cool.