Privilege Blog

In Fall A Woman’s Thoughts Turn To Leather

All right. I concede to the seasons. In the midst of summer travels and tomatoes, I felt autumn in the air. First on the East Coast, one morning in Philadelphia when the breeze was not hot, not stifling. Then here in California, when the sun suddenly slanted in a very fall sort of way.

We’ve got months of warm weather ahead, here on the West Coast. But I’m taking these signs as permission to think about fall clothing. Which, to the middle-aged lady still in the process of updating her wardrobe to match a retire/working from home/casually elegant lifestyle, means leather jackets.

Do you have one? I used to. My family gave me a great big bomber jacket, for my 35th birthday. That was 1991, and big jackets still ruled the upper bodies of America’s women. But what to buy now?

In my life as a Grande Dame, in which I already own two leather jackets, maybe three, I want this.

Donna Karan via net-à-porter, $3995

Who would not love to swagger around like a pirate in Chanel sunglasses, purple satin blouse, and a perfect pair of brown tweed trousers?

I also confess to a weakness for the biker genre. All rebellion and rocker attitude and zippers. Like this.

Lot78 via net-à-porter, $1190

I mean, come on, it’s navy blue. What on earth could be more High WASP Artsy Cousin than a navy suede biker jacket?

But I’m looking for a jacket for my real life, not my pretend one. Compelling and intricate though my pretending may be. In this real life, as for you, perhaps, zippers snag shirts and arm hairs, suede gets ruined by rain, and one owns a lot of black t-shirts. Well, perhaps you are more polished than I and therefore have no arm hair. It’s possible.

So, quite likely, I’ll go for the simplest, sturdiest, most minimal leather jacket I can find. Like this.

Classic fitted jacket via Fog City Leather, on sale for $299

Except I might get it custom-made, to make sure my broad shoulders don’t turn me into a lambskin rectangle. And I might have them narrow the collar just a tad.

Too dowdy? What say you on this Monday morning, oh my swaggering pirate biker friends?

53 Responses

  1. I’d say it was quite divine and you should go for it. Though, navy is my favorite color and I own a lot of navy, and I have a thing for jackets with zippers. All in all, I’d save my pennies for the Donna Karan. Perhaps all 3?

  2. There’s nothing like a leather jacket! I’ve been searching for 5 years now – looking for one in chestnut, hip length. Love your selections – the Donna Karan is my favorite!

  3. Well I of course ADORE the Donna Karan – so elegantly chic and the leather looks heavenly supple!! I do own a leather jacket. It’s similar to the last one. It’s Michael Kors from at least 5 years ago but with no collar – and IMHO that’s what is wrong with this one and why your instinct to narrow it is correct!! I have the same broad shouldered issue and mine fits to a tee – I bought it a size up and had them tailor it through the body – it is flattering and modern without being too edgy!!

  4. Cooler temps here definitely have me thinking about fall, but reveling in the sunshine. I don’t own anything leather, it will be fun to see what you ultimately come up with!

    Happy Monday smiles to you,

  5. I finally found my perfect leather jacket last fall after looking for a year or two. It’s a softer version of a motorcycle jacket, with just a bit more length in the back, and once we get back to fall days, it will see much wear. I’d say if you truly want the edge of a motorcycle-ish jacket, you could easily pull it off AND you’d find it quite practical for your lifestyle, but I also think something very clean and elegant like that bottom one would work really well — much depends on the feel of the leather, and the fit — tailoring is a great idea.

  6. Love the Donna Karan jacket but a bit out of my budget range. Still wear a 10 yr old Emporio Armani black leather jacket classic and very soft leather and have kept a Agnes B biker style from the 80s. the shoulders are a tad big but I do wear it occasionally.

  7. I’ve noticed the mornings have been a lot cooler over the last few days in London – and so a new leather jacket would be just the thing. I do own one already, but it’s a skinny, cropped 70s version, so it’s definitely time for something new. Love the DKNY and the biker,I’m always worried about looking a bit too try-hard in a biker but the navy suede would work.

  8. I’d swagger about in the Donna Karan although I would have a problem with the hip length. I have cocoa brown suede pigskin jacket I wear in the fall and then I switch to my princess-line black leather during the winter. I’ve worn the black one abusively in all kinds of weather and I rather like the way it is becoming distressed looking in a natural and organic way. Next purchase: rocker-biker chick jacket!

  9. Try Brooks Brothers lambskin zippered one on sale…and the new dark browm leather Chanel style.

  10. I have to concur with your choice (number 3, from Fog City Leather), although it looks like I’m in the minority so far. But I do tend to keep things forever, so I usually lean towards the classics for staple pieces like that. They are all wonderful, though, and with an unlimited budget, I would have trouble choosing just one.

  11. I have a thingy at this age with leather coats, perhaps not including a suede one. It it the shine it throws against an older face. The gravity of earth is pulling us down, and leather seems to increase that/ shows it better ( at least on my ). Does this make any sense?
    Therefore I would not choose a leather coat, fur is different.
    Of the three coats, the first one is the best.

    1. Completely agree with you and @SewigLibrarian I much prefer fur, much to my mother’s chagrin.

  12. I like the last one best, but I’m not a big fan of leather jackets. Like Mette, I like fur better.

  13. Not too dowdy at all – I have a plain, black leather jacket much like the one pictured, only with buttons. I adore it; unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you view it), my recent weight loss will make it rather large on me this year. There are worse things to deal with, I suppose.

  14. I have almost that exact leather jacket as shown in the last photo and I love it. It fits well and has served me well on many occasions. I do have to say that if I wanted to add another leather jacket to my wardrobe that the top one shown would be it. The colour and style are fabulous. Update us with what you decide on!

  15. I can see you have a dilemma…
    how are you going to decide?

    I used to have a leather jacket, although in our rainy weather it really was not warm enough to be functional.

    Good luck deciding which one you chose…

  16. YOU, my dear, will steal all the thunder from whatEVER you’re wearing, so you can’t go wrong with any of these contestants [I also liked the jacket your daughter got back east]. But having one custom made is my selection for you, that’s just a touch of genius. I’ve been looking for a leather jacket for several years, I’ve started to suspect it’s a hobby by now, something to idly search for between laundry loads. I’d not known of Fog City Leather til you linked us there. AHA! THIS is mine, one in brown and one in black, please:

  17. Leather and fur! Gack! Must be the season to get back up on my vegan soapbox and annoy your readers, Tish.

    I’ll spare the tirade this gorgeous autumnal Monday morning.

    If they were pleather, and I was choosing, I’d choose jacket #1.

  18. Lisa, not Tish. Sorry. I was just writing to Tish before this. I know the difference, really I do!

  19. You could wear any of those leathers you are slim,I like the first one but sadly a no,no with hips!!

    Is the last one by Fog real leather? it seems very cheap for leather….

    Like your photo very executive look. Ida

  20. If you are in. The Market for leather, two names……Rick Owens. Butteriest leather EVER. Worth the price. Get a classic cut and you won’t regret.

  21. Though I’m not on board with fall yet AT ALL, I’ll chime in on the leather jacket love with another suggestion entirely: the belted trench. I found a lovely amber-brown one last winter in a vintage thrift store. The belt shapes the waist, which would keep you from looking like a leather rectangle. Good luck with the hunt!

  22. I laughed to myself when I saw the price tags on the first two jackets, though I think they are both gorgeous. After seeing them, I couldn’t be satisfied with number 3 even at ‘only $300’. The other two are so much more delicious even I, who has only ever owned one leather jacket for £25 at a second hand shop, would hold out for the brown belted or the navy suede.

  23. I vote for the look of the second jacket. The last one is just too plain and would not be as much fun to wear.

  24. Buffy the Vampire Slayer has option number 3, does that make her a Sturdy Gal? I always pictured her as more of an Artsy Cousin.

    1. Naturally, I’ll take the suede jacket, but in a nice dark purple that’s practically black. I’m Artsy Cousin to the core. It’s scary how well you know my taste Ms Privilege.

  25. This post makes me quite happy. First, that slanting light is perhaps my favorite herald on earth. Second, I have that jacket’s twin right now in my closet. It has been in semi-retirement for several years, but if you’re wearing it (or even considering it), then I will, too. Try not to let all this influence and power go to your head! wink.

  26. I’d say have it made for you if you can. I love the look you’re going for, but a perfect fit would just take it up a notch!

    I have a black leather jacket I bought when I worked at Banana republic when I was 17. It’s divine. A little biker, a lotta prep, and I will wear it until it no longer fits or falls apart.

  27. I would look for a simple style, in a washed leather. Great patina, not shiny, and has an edge, without all the zippers. The Donna Karan is beautiful, but besides the astronomical price, probably not all that practical. Navy suede is great, but maybe too young? I’d like to like the last one, but I find it generic, without any personality. If that style were in a washed leather, it would be great.

  28. I am actually a biker, but don’t care for the prototypical biker jacket look. Those zippers are meant to intimidate; real long distance bikers prefer velcro and cordura*. Lighter, more visible, waterproof.

    For a leather jacket, I have something very similar to the third jacket. Very plain black lambskin, soft and classic. I think I bought it in SF in 1989, and it has served me well for many years. The only thing I don’t like about mine is that it is lined in yellow satin. I like the pop of color, but it is difficult to keep the interior cuffs clean.

    *Except for those who race on the track. Full body leather suits are required there. But that’s not really the look you want, is it?

  29. I love leather and I love suede. Have you bought one yet? I gave away my leather jacket a few years ago..but I’d like to get my mitts on a leather vest arrangement.

  30. All 3 are individuals. Each unique. I love number 1. for the color and style but the price is out of my slim budget. With the current trend for the Mad Men or Woman look, I would say to pick a slim classic cut in a leather that will age gracefully. I have an old Ralph suede shirt that I love. I belt it. Maybe a leather shirt and you can belt it?

  31. I’m salivating over the Donna Karan jacket. I look awful in black leather jackets, they make me look very hard – but as a blonde it will probably work well on you,

  32. Unf. UNF. The Donna Karan might actually be the sexiest item of clothing I have ever seen. Waaaaaaaaaaaant…

    *covets forever* *grabbyhands*

    Love the second one, but I get how the suede could be a little impractical for the Sturdy Gal.

    I like the simplicity of the third, but you’re right: It’s a wee bit dowdy – perhaps too 90s? – and unworthy of your awesomeness. I think it might be the collar.

    Might I recommend a similar piece with a mandarin or military-type collar? Maybe in a colour other than black.

    Something like this. Or this in “denim”. Or a simple, fitted bomber like this.

    Best of luck on your hunt!

  33. If you had it forever, or someone gave it to you, by all means wear it. But I agree with those who don’t think the third jacket is worth buying. It is plain, but not in a fab, classic kind of way. Says safe bet for woman of a certain age who wants to wear leather. Maybe it’s because I live in the Midwest, and it looks too familiar. I’d rather keep checking consignment and thrift stores while I saved up.

  34. I looooooooooove the first two. The third….you can find something like that at Marshall’s for half the price. I’m on the hunt for a *perfect* leather jacket also. I haven’t decided if it’s going to be black or espresso leather but it would be similar to the third one, sans collar, with fine-toothed zippered pockets. The pockets are non-negotiable.

    Now I want a royal-saturated-purple blouse. In a soft sateen-but-not-quite-satin fabric. Hmmmmmm…..

  35. I’m all for the Donna Karan one and think the style’s a bit more modern although still very classic. I’m wondering if you can find a similar cut for a better price though–I know leather is expensive, but $3,000 for a jacket seems a bit high, although I’m sure it feels like buttah.

  36. Hi Lisa! You are definitely ready for a new leather jacket, I remember you circing around leather jackets from time to time. Yes, go for it. Be it brown, be it black …. you probably need both. And please, show us a modelling picture when you are ready.

  37. I have a jacket much like the third. I bought in a market in Florence when I was 18 – my single big purchase on an extended trip there. Now, more than ten years later, it is still a staple and has accompanied me on many cross-country and international moves. I went through a brief phase of finding it too plain, but it never fails to give me that perfect edge when I wear it.

  38. Thank you all for arming me with so many points of view. Next step, trying some on in the real world!

Comments are closed.