WIWT: 03-11-2013 — I tried something new yesterday and wore a leather jacket. I’ve long contended that i’m not as comfortable dressing in a more casual manner, but I think the colder season has pushed me along in that direction and gotten me out of tailored jackets and into more rugged pieces of outerwear.
I’ve wanted a leather jacket for a while, but wasn’t really sure it was something that fit my personality or style. The really slick and refined ones with a sleek, European cut just didn’t set well with me. Lately, I’ve been moving away from slimmer clothing, so quite a few jackets weren’t appealing to me.
Instead, I’ve grown to like the look of the A-2 bomber jacket. I won’t pretend to be a historian on this piece, but the details are rather simple: zippered front, turndown collar with snaps, dual flap patch pockets with snaps and hidden side pockets. While some models you can buy are more refined, I was looking for something that looked like it came out of a military surplus store.
My biggest fear was buying something online and not having it fit correctly in the sleeves. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to stumble across a vintage L.L.Bean model in a 38 Long on eBay and as the only bidder it was mine for $50 — shipped, from Lithuania (yeah, I have no clue either).
You can still buy the jacket, new, from L.L.Bean in their Flying Tiger collection, ranging from $309-$409. Sadly, they’re no longer made in the United States, however, I’m lucky enough that mine wasn’t made overseas. My jacket’s not insulated, so it’s probably best paired with a sweater underneath, but I’m glad the sleeves were long enough and it fits quite comfortably.
Admittedly, the quality of the leather could be much nicer. It seems like the nicer A-2 bomber jackets are made from horsehide, but the prices do tend to go up quite a bit on those, even on eBay, and I haven’t seen any “long”-sized jackets, yet.
Keeping with the military look, I wore it with a button-down collared shirt, khaki chinos, boots and a warm scarf. Oh, and aviators, because I couldn’t resist doing the “Top Gun” thing.
If I had to critique this look, I’d probably point out that darker boots would look much nicer, ideally a deep brown shell cordovan pair. Perhaps next winter.
- Jacket: Vintage L.L.Bean Flying Tiger A-2 leather bomber
- Shirt: brown & white button-down from Hall & Madden
- Pants: English drill trousers from Khaki’s of Carmel (review)
- Belt: vintage slide buckle on Beltmaster tan leather strap
- Boots: tan pebble-grain military captoes from Charles Tyrwhitt (review)
- Scarf: cream cashmere from John Hanly