Everybody should own a vintage leather moto jacket, they last forever and like a fine wine, the leather gets better with age. In all my years of hunting in both the US and Canada I’ve come across only a few moto jackets that fit, some don’t, maybe the style wasn’t right, the cut, something just didn’t gel. And it only takes a second to examine one to know that it was not the right jacket for me. A lot of high end vintage stores can help you expedite your search, because their own professional pickers do the hunting for you, in turn making your search that much easier. But where’s the fun in that!
I’ve walked, flown, biked and cabbed to practically every vintage boutique and second hand shop north and sound of the border, year after year. I’ve searched Salvation Army, Goodwill, Value Villages and fleas for 15 years and still came up empty handed. Finding a great vintage leather moto jacket is a game of persistence, it is a game of chance and timing. Don’t settle. Trust that one day you will stumble upon that perfect one, both the cut and the quality of leather will be right, that jacket will be one in a million, and the hunting that got you there all the more worth it.
The older the jacket the harder they are to come by. And vintage leather moto jackets from the 1950s – 1970s are the finest in style, quality and design. Check the label, if it says made in America there is a good chance it is from that period. They used better cuts of leather back then, leather that lasts much longer than new leather, it was stitched to hold the shape and be bullet-proof. Classic moto jackets don’t sag like new jackets do. Feel the quality, it’s obvious. If you’re lucky the leather has been broken in with abrasions and rips, this wear can give a jacket character, a process many reputable designers try to emulate and charge a fortune for.
The vintage leather moto jacket featured here is from Corner Store, in St. Paul Minneapolis. Owner Linda McHale has the finest collection of vintage leather moto jackets you ever set eyes on. Some date as far back as the early 1950s. This jacket was originally made by Montgomery Ward, the label so worn you can barely make out the letters and yellow stitching. It is the perfect leather moto jacket and one heck of a score.
Patience and persistence go a long way for this hunt. It can be like digging for a needle in the hay but extremely rewarding when you do finally find one. The only thing that determines great character and fit, is taking your time and trying them all on. So check the cut, check the label, ensure the sleeves are long enough, and try it on. A good vintage leather jacket doesn’t come up often but be ready when it does and best of luck with your search!
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