Remember when leather jackets were “a thing”?
I don’t mean those A1 leather bombers that are all the rage with the Rugged Style/Japanese/American vintage mob, more that time when owning a leather jacket was seen as a status symbol.
It was in the seventies when lads and girls of all ages would put on their leather and slope off to the social club.
That time when lager and lime was popular, people suddenly felt the need to own a leather coat or jacket. Now these weren’t biker jackets, they were more dressy. Longer with a zipper, sometimes buttons, a collar that stood up or spread out wide and sometimes adorned with a superfluous belt. The longer it went on, the more preposterous they became. Mainly black in colour but some were brown, burgundy and God forbid that artificially-aged “vintage” finish.
Add into the mix the leather sports/suit jacket while the real crème de la crème was the full length leather. Absolutely adored by the Northern Soul fraternity the full-length leather was just the short leather x 100 in preposterousness! Add in large-collared open-necked shirts, Starsky & Hutch cardigans and voluminous baggy pants it was not a good look. Around Wigan, it was certainly more Herr Flick that Superfly.
However it didn’t stop them. Going out in your “leather” was the thing to do. Getting your “leather” nicked was also “a thing”. Leaving your leather coat on a chair in Bluto’s would be an invitation for a sneak thief to have away with it.
The eighties saw – thanks to Wham! most probably – motorcycle jackets come back to the fore and despite an early eighties casual dalliance with leather “Hunter” jackets the days of the fussy over-complicated dressy leather jackets were over. Designer leather yes: Blimey I even had a leather cardigan (spoiler: it was ace) – Newton Workers Leather no!
Of course, they can still be spotted on arl fellas in cheap boozers, while charity shop trawls indicate – despite how badly aesthetically designed they were – they have proved indestructible and some – despite the nicotine stains and tobacco stench of workingman’s clubs are still in decent nick.
Whilst the aforementioned A1 and N1 leathers and bombers are everywhere – with ridiculous price tags on most counts – the days of the dressy leather jackets, sports coats and (Goths aside) long leathers are “a thing” of the past.
In an odd way I miss them…
By the way the featured image of the long leathers is of Sue and Pete Davies and they look as cool as fuck!
Photo © (The Brilliant) Brian Cannon