The first question I was asked was about vintage leather jackets.
Q: J from Delaware asks...
"I've been looking for a new leather jacket for a while, but I'm really unsatisfied with what I've seen in retail stores. I also have a hard time justifying a custom made Aero (to clarify for readers this is a leather goods company out of Scotland). So I switched gears about a week ago and started looking at vintage leather on eBay, but I'd really like to buy something in person. Any ideas of where I should look? Do you have any advice on going about getting a jacket altered and cleaned? Or on what style/color would look best on me?"
A: Dear J,
I feel that with an investment piece such as a leather jacket it is something you absolutely must see, feel, and try on in person. While an Aero jacket is nice, there are many more budget-friendly options out there for you to try. I recently bought a leather jacket at TJMaxx and am very satisfied with what I got. If you have run the gamut of retail stores and have found nothing, I think vintage would be your next area of exploration. When it comes to finding something that is vintage or thrifted there are many various outlets to search.
The first would be a Goodwill or Salvation Army type store. Many people scoff at such places but I have seen firsthand many a leather jacket and fur at these stores in decent shape. One of the best things about vintage leather is that it is broken in and usually feels a lot better when you are wearing it. That being said, if those types of stores are a no go then I would suggest doing research on privately owned vintage clothing stores in your area. There is a store in Centerville, Delaware called Rags to Riches Upscale Resale. The store is great and now offers men's clothing. When it comes to stores with limited inventory such as this, call ahead! Tell them what you are looking for so that if the answer is "no" you can save yourself some gas money. Being that we live close to Philadelphia, this may prove to be a good place for finding a vintage jacket as well. One store in particular named Philly AIDS Thrift is an AWESOME vintage store that carries not only men's and women's vintage clothing but homegoods, records, and jewelry as well.
If you are still having trouble finding a jacket, try Craigslist! I am a huge fan of looking for vintage clothing on there as there is the possibility of visiting the seller to try it on before your purchase. As for getting the jacket altered and cleaned you need to research tailors in your area. The cleaning can be done at a dry cleaners but they might have to have it shipped out to another cleaning facility for a more delicate process. This can cost upwards of $30. I would not recommend having the jacket tailored at the cleaners even though most offer this service. Do your research on tailors and seamstresses in your area so you can get the jacket to fit just right. Tailoring is expensive but if you get a good deal on a jacket and are below budget you will have money to spare.
The style of jacket you choose is more a personal preference but I think that no one can go wrong with a black leather jacket with a little edge to it, think rock and roll. If you are thinking about a certain color keep in mind that it might not go well with your entire wardrobe like black would. Whatever style you end up choosing keep in mind that is should not be baggy or loose. This is where the tailor would come in.
The picture below is from Burberry Prorsum's SS 2011 Menswear Collection. I think it shows a really nice leather jacket for some inspiration.