Friday, October 12, 2012

Leather Boys

I am not a clothes horse; I've always believed it's not clothes that make the man, that the man starts where the clothes leave off. It's true that threads can hide a multitude of sins, but I've mostly tended toward the notion that it's better to work off the flab than have a good tailor hide it.

When I worked in the clinic, I came to realize it is true– that most people look a lot better dressed than naked.

Like a lot of men who have been married a long time, the only reason I have clothes at all is because my wife dresses me. 


You need a new jacket. Some slacks. You aren't going to wear those shoes, are you? That shirt is getting threadbare, you need a new one. Here, try this on.

I can hear some of you smiling. Weren't for our women, we'd mostly be wearing gunny sacks.

When I shop, it goes like this: I need a new pair of shoes because the old ones have worn out. I go to a store and walk down the shoe aisle. I see a pair I like. I look for my size. If they have it, I try them on. If they fit and feel pretty good, then I'm done. I buy them and leave.

No desire to try on a dozen other pairs. Why would I want to do that? There's no point. 

As Elayne Boosler used to say in her stand-up routine, men don't have the shopping gene; certainly I don't.

But recently, I looked up and felt the need to get a new leather jacket. I have one, about eighteen or twenty years old, nicely-distressed by now, black-going-to-gray, but it's starting to wear out on the inside. 

Leather is not the best choice for our climate. Once the rains start, usually about this time of year, they continue until June, and a Gortex windbreaker with a hood is my outer wear of choice. There are times, however, when I want something a little warmer than a shell, but not as heavy as the full-on winter jacket with the ski gloves. That one is for when the temperature drops into the low-twenties or high teens, and that doesn't happen often in these parts.

With leather, a little rain isn't a problem, but big rain is, and you need a hat. 

Plus leather means some critter had to provide it, and while I know it is a by-product of the meat industry, I don't want the PETA folks throwing blood on me. Still, pleather mostly looks cheap, smells funny, and doesn't wear well. I guess I could try to find out where Sir Paul gets his faux-leather, but I suspect I couldn't afford it. 

Um. Anyway, I figured out what I wanted–a field jacket, little longer than a bomber jacket, not as long as an overcoat, and I wanted cargo pockets. I carry a lot of stuff around I don't want falling out when I take the jacket off and drape it over a chair or whatever. Those cool-looking slash pockets are pretty much useless except for putting your hands into them to warm, and with two dogs on leashes, that doesn't happen much.

I wanted something that wasn't too shiny, and nothing that looked like it was designed for a drugstore-Harley-riding-wanna-be. 

Or a real biker. Langlitz is right here in Portland, and they make 'em custom, but I don't ride any more, and a motorcycle jacket that good needs a hog to go with it.

I mentioned this interested-in-a-jacket notion to my wife. 

Oh, my! You have thought I'd announced the Second Coming. She was so thrilled with the idea that I wanted to buy clothes of any kind that she jumped onto the internet and spent hours shopping for jackets. As I was dropping off to sleep, she was over there on her side of the bed scritching away at her iPad, searching far and wide ...

You shoppers will understand this. Most of you are probably women.

Found some really fine leather for sale out there. I loved the field jacket from Orvitz, but not for two thousand bucks. 

Two thousand dollars? Are you kidding me? If I went for a walk and it started to rain, I'd have to call 911. Help! Come get me! I need a ride home, my coat will get wet!

Two thousand dollars. Uh huh. 

We poked around hither and yon, and eventually wound up at The Men's Wearhouse, of all places. I'll skip the You're-gonna-like-the-way-you-look jokes. Turns out they had what I wanted, looked a whole lot like the two grand job, at a most reasonable price, and it was on sale, and it was buy-one-get-one-free day ...

Can't beat that. 

The end result of which is that I now have a new leather coat. And if it gets wet and distressed, so much the better. 

Look for me soon on the cover of GQ ...


Anonymous said...

Wested leather in merrie olde England makes incredible leather jackets, including Indy's jackets, for very reasonable prices:

Steve Perry said...

Nice. I like a little more length, which is why I went for the field cut, but the Indy jacket looks great.

steve-vh said...

I got my dad's Kakadu Traders oilskin drover's coat (remember The Man from Snowy River"?) after he passed this summer. Same length as yours.
Wasn't sure what to do with it but the oilskin process for repelling water (and still breathing) sounds exactly like what you describe needing.
Well, went to the Michigan football game Saturday and it was a regular drizzle all day.
Performed phenomenally and looked much better than the rain suite my son refused to let me wear, LOL