Motorcycle jackets deemed cool again

The New York Times reports on how the motorcycle jacket lost its cool and got it back again.

Troy Patterson:

Over decades, women annexed this male program by degrees. Early colonists included the clients of designers who, riffing on the jacket, explored leather's sculptural properties in the service of high fashion, and the followers of pop stars who, in simply sliding on the real McCoy, showed a knack for exploiting gender fluidity. An educated guess says that the motorcycle jacket began to be androgynized in earnest in the 1990s — an era, not coincidentally, when it seemed broadly unacceptable for an adult male to wear a motorcycle jacket unless he was actively playing a guitar solo. For a while there, the jacket looked like an affront to ''authenticity'' and stank, in its garish slick machismo, like a palmful of Drakkar Noir. But years of wear by women entailed a rearrangement of significations and made this jacket safe for men. And now, when a guy walks his dog while wearing black leather over a gray hoodie, it isn't risible. Now, when a guy whose line of work is in ''the financial-­technology space'' turns up at a meeting in the guise of a tough, it sort of works for his disruptive personal brand. Recently, beneath the headline ''Why Every Man Needs a Biker Jacket,'' a writer for The Telegraph confessed, ''I fell in love with an inanimate object," which satisfies the definition of a fetish for both Freud and Marx, to the shame of no one in particular. We're all posers.

Perfecto-style jackets are cool the way jeans are cool. Some are, some aren't, and you can make something of anything if you have the swagger. A specific style, appeciated in the abstract, is a kind of sandcastle—which is why these articles are always more about the context than the fashion. But this line from Patterson is great: "the attitude of the moto is meant to be worn lightly."