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A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!

10.13.2016

A Girls Guide To Biker Jackets!

I feel as if I have a little bit of order on the blog after the last post. Honestly, I couldn't work out what we'd covered and what I thought we'd covered. Clearly two very different things. Anyway, a reader reminded me about a topic that I meant to include and totally forgot about: leather jackets, more specifically, the biker jacket although we will touch on other styles too.

I'm in the market for a new biker jacket this year. In fact my one and only leather one from Karen Millen that I bought way, way back has a lot to answer for. Let me tell you that little story first of all.

The Story Of The Karen Millen Tan Leather Biker Jacket

Years and years ago, husband and I were in Cribbs Causeway shopping mall (his family are Bristolians) and I spied a gorgeous black biker jacket in the window of Karen Millen. Of course I had try it on. Except they didn't have my size. The shop assistant said that they were just unloading a delivery and if I could wait 20 minutes, she thought she could get hold of one. Perfect! In the meantime I thought I might as well try the tan one on which they did have in my size and admittedly, it looked lovely. Tick tock, 20 minutes passed, no jacket. Husband had lost the will to live and parked himself on a seat outside the shop to twiddle with his phone. I say twiddle because it was before the days of email and social media. Probably playing the snake game (remember that?). Yes it's that long ago. Finally, she returned with the black jacket in my size. Not saying I snatched it from her or anything, but I was eager!

Oh boy the disappointment. Even I could see that the tan one looked far better. At that stage, I didn't know why but right there and then, I realised there was something in this colour malarky. It wasn't a load of mumbo jumbo. That jacket is the sole reason that I embarked on my training with Colour Me Beautiful. Funny how things turn out isn't it!

Said jacket still going strong.



Why Is A Leather Jacket An Important Wardrobe Staple?

1. Buy a classic shape, a biker and it won't go out of fashion. We're talking pence per wear.

2. You can wear it all year round; with dresses in the summer, knits in the winter.

3. Leather gets better with age! It's probably the only thing in your wardrobe that does!

4. It's a grab and go piece that you can wear literally anywhere. With smart dresses, with jeans, dressed up, dressed down. Whatever!

5. It can bring an edginess to an outfit. I'm all about buying classics but I don't want to look staid and old fashioned. A leather jacket can add youthfulness to a basic pair of trousers and top.

6. It looks effortless (even though you may have toiled over an outfit). No one needs to know that!

7. It's age appropriate providing you don't wear it with a leopard print body-con and vertigo challenging heels.

Buying The Right Colour Leather Jacket

*if you're unsure about your colour palette, have a look at this post

Dark haired women who have dark or bright coloured eyes (Deeps & Clears)

Ok, so you get black (not jealous). It's a great investment for you. You may find that a lighter colour such as stone needs to be 'rescued' with a darker colour underneath. Wearing two light colours together isn't strong enough, you could look washed out. We really don't want to go down the rescue route with an investment piece. It should work without having to think about it. Other colours you could look at are charcoal, navy and brown (the latter if you have a warm skin tone).

Red heads, women with warm tones in their hair and and/or an overall golden look (Warms)

Don't do black. I repeat don't do black. If you're investing in a leather jacket this year, look for any tone of brown (not sludge, we don't do sludge on this blog), tan, camel, khaki and stone.

But if you've already got a black one, don't despair, you can work with it, it just won't be so versatile. You'll need to add a warmer colour underneath such as coral, mustard, olive or aqua to complement your own lovely golden look. This also applies to navy and grey because like black, they're pretty flat colours. 

Grey haired women and/or sallow skin tones (Cools)

Yes you can do black too as well as any shade of grey and navy. I think these are your most versatile colours. You'll find that taupe will work only if you wear a very cool neutral such as black - it needs a bit of a kick up the bum, does taupe. Don't limit your options, stick with the first three shades that I mentioned. 

Mousey and/or blonde haired women (Softs & Lights)

No black for you I'm afraid. It's too strong for your blended (Softs) and delicate (Lights) look. Instead go for light navy, taupe, stone, pewter and cocoa. Strictly speaking, Lights don't get charcoal, they get medium grey but I'm not going to deny anyone charcoal so that's a gift from me to you. Softs get charcoal and look amazing in it. 

There's one colour that I'm going to stick my neck out and say that EVERYONE can wear - burgundy.  I don't care that it isn't in every colour palette, it's fabulous even on red heads. Probably get shot down for saying that!!


Buying The Right Shape Leather Jacket

This is likely to be an investment purchase so it's important to get the fit right. Let's just spend a few moments thinking about this.

Curvy Hourglasses

Steer clear of stiff leather, it will take years to break in and in the meantime will stand off your curves making you look 1-2 sizes larger than you really are. This is particularly important if you're buying faux-leather because it can be a bit starchy. Real or fake it should be soft and buttery and follow your body line. And most importantly, it should have some waist definition. 

Pear Shapes

The most important aspect for you to look at is the shoulder line. Often ladies will buy a larger size to accommodate their hips which inevitably means that the shoulders are too big. Ruins the whole look. We're not looking at full on winter wear here and, personally I much prefer a biker jacket left open. So, I'd pay particular attention to the shoulders and make sure the jacket fits here. Ok so you're not going to be able to fasten it - wear a scarf! You should also have some waist definition. A straight up and down cut will lose your curves and trick the eye in to believing that you are bigger than you really are. Finally a bit of detailing on the shoulder line such as an epaulette is an excellent way of building up this area and balancing out with your hips.

Big Busts

As with a pear shape above, don't size up to accommodate your boobs, make sure it fits at the shoulders and leave it unfastened. Honestly, I don't think I've ever zipped mine up. 

Rectangles, Straight Up & Down Figures & Square Shoulders

The fabric isn't such an issue for you. But the cut is. Because you have a square frame, you need to soften this somewhat. Think about it, a leather jacket can look somewhat square from the back because there's zero drape with a flat hem. A curved hem is an ideal way of breaking up this form.

Petites

If you're making an investment purchase, don't settle for anything less than perfect. And, if you're unsure whether a jacket is too long, take a look at the online model, where does it finish on her? If there's a significant difference, don't buy it. Look for jackets cut specifically for petites because everything will be in proportion.


The Leather Jacket Edit

Ok, so there's some gasp-worthy priced jackets here and some sensible options too. This is a long term purchase, an investment piece so it's worth spending as much as you can possibly afford. Sell a child, start a Crowdfunder, hit Ebay (as a seller, not a purchaser), save up, have it for your birthday. You don't need to buy it today so set yourself a goal. 


1. Let's start with Baukjen which comes in 4 colour ways. The chestnut is currently on offer. If the leather is the same as my chestnut leggings from here then it's a lovely soft leather that springs back into shape. Love the gold hardware, kind of makes it a little more chic and grown up. No back view which is a shame but the length at the front appears to sit just above the waist. I think long bodied ladies may find this a tad too short. Take a look at the difference between the black and navy. The first model is obviously much taller (or has a longer body). Look how much higher it sits on her than the second one. 







2. A more 'reasonable' priced option at Hush. Totally in love with the grey leather which appears to have a blue undertone. Such an unusual colour. Also available in black and both receive good online reviews. They say that the back is cut slightly higher although not overly so (a plus point as the higher the cut, the more the jacket stands off the back in my opinion). 

On pre-order which makes me jittery the grey is certainly a contender for me but I don't want to purchase until I've been to New York.





3. Next, let's have a look at what All Saints have to offer. For me, many of their jackets are too over-done with zips, too floppy or too distressed. But there are a few pearlers. Take this one, what an absolutely lush colour. Amazing for you Cools. Can you imagine an older lady with her white hair rocking up in this? A great length, not too short and enough detailing without going over board. If this is veering on stone (I fear not), then I could get away with it. I wear pale grey but for an investment piece, it has to be bob on. 



4. But we have options, it's also available in green. I have a military style leather jacket in green but this is definitely a grey-green. I will be checking this one out as well.



5. If it's brown you're after (I wasn't until I saw this), then this is divine with a capital D. 



6. A granier leather now and fortunately for us it's in the sale. This type of leather tends to be somewhat thicker and stiffer so probably more appropriate for straighter body shapes. Available in taupe and black



7. And a final offering from All Saints in suede which is of course much more drapey than leather. The belt also gives it a little shaping at the back. Available in mushroom, light grey and nude pink. And in the sale again.




**Tip** Speaking to an assistant in All Saints she suggests sizing down because the leather stretches. She was wearing a size smaller and it fitted perfectly although she said it was a little snug for the first few wears. 

8. One for the straight bodied/rectangles next. The little peplum at the back softens the whole look, giving you a more feminine shape as opposed to a very square look. Actually this would also be a great jacket for shapely women as it has good waist definition. A good all-rounder then. And £100 for leather, got to be worth a go. Shame it's only available in black. 




9. A very reasonable offering from Mango available in black and medium brown.




10. And if you really can't do a biker but love the look, how about this paired back jacket? Simple lines = classic style.




11. A brilliant entry level biker next albeit of the faux variety. The quilting on the shoulders although subtle will help to build up this area for pear shapes. Burgundy, the colour of the moment but don't worry, it's a classic so you'll be wearing it for years to come. Also available in black

Oasis Faux Leather Biker Jacket (burgundy) £55 (or here if you have ASOS Premier Delivery)

12. And a glorious option from Mint Velvet. The cut of the back of this jacket is deliciously feminine. The curved piped seam towards the bottom really helps to soften a tough jacket. This would have been a contender for me had it not been black.

Mint Velvet Leather Biker Jacket £349






13. One for red heads and golden skin tones. Khaki looks amazing on you and is a great neutral even though it too is having it's moment.

River Island Suede Biker Jacket now £80



14. A dead ringer for mine except it's faux leather and much cheaper. Got to be worth a try if you're after tan!

Marks & Spencer Faux Leather Jacket £55



15. And finally a biker alternative for apple body shapes or anyone who is extremely curvy. If you've tried a biker and it's a no-no, have a go with this. Sometimes you just have to come to terms with the fact that a style won't work for you. Believe me I know!! This is a much more feminine shape that will skim your curves. So much more forgiving and simple. Wear a column of colour underneath and 'own dat jacket girl'.


New Look Mink Leather Look Contrast Waterfall Jacket £29.99

And in the black (do I hear a whoop)

So, are you in the market for a leather jacket this year? For me the front runners are the Hush grey, Baukjen burgundy or All Saints Balfern green.

From a care point of view, I've done very little to my tan one. It's always, always hung up on a wooden coat hanger. Make sure you zip it up as the collars have a tendency to flop and crease. I use a tiny bit of saddle soap and water on any dirty marks (the cuffs do get soiled if you opt for a light colour). But check the manufacturers instructions first of all.






Hope that's helpful, let me know xx

Parents evening for the 15 year old tonight. Not that I'm dreading it or anything... At least he's turning up for his lunchtime revision sessions (claims he was the only one in Spanish on Tuesday). I keep telling myself 2 1/2 years Donna, just 2 1/2 years and we'll have got him through school. That's not such a long time is it?? Daughter coming home for the weekend whoop whoop so I might have a weekend away from the football and do girly things instead.



14 comments on "A Girls Guide To Biker Jackets!"
  1. Knowing my colours finally(thank you Donna!!) and reading on your blog about body shapes has made me decide that i may finally purchase a biker jacket. I have avoided them as i am a bigger busted pear with a large sticky out bottom but think one may just look perfect with the long maxi skirts and dresses that have come out
    now. Thank you for the information on the best shape for me on here too. Sharon (aka Sian)xxx

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    1. You are very welcome, glad I was of some use to you. There's a jacket for everyone, if you know your shape and colour x

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  2. My daughter (aged 27) is desperate for a leather biker jacket but she's petite (only 5ft and a size 6). She has scoured the internet and has failed to find anything in real leather that's going to fit...don't suppose anyone has any ideas??

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    1. Oh no! Has she tried Nordstrom who now ship to the UK. Have a look at these options, all petites http://rstyle.me/n/b3d9s55456 I can't think of anywhere else off hand that she probably hasn't already looked at x

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    2. Thanks very much - we hadn't thought of that! xx

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  3. Totally agree with you Donna that a leather biker jacket is so useful. After jeans this gets worn probably more than anything else with me. Having used a faux leather one so much, I invested in a real leather one earlier this year in a taupe brown (hope it's not sludge!). I confirm that they do give a little on wearing. It was slightly snug on the chest at first but as you say they rarely get zipped up and it fitted well on the shoulders. Today however it was freezing and I did manage to zip it comfortably over a thin jumper. I like the look of it over a longer layer such as a shirt or thin jumper as it helps disguise my growing middle area! Will soon be adding a warm scarf, gloves and hat too so I can wear it into the colder months. The care tips are really useful, thank you.

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    1. Good tips Elaine, thank you. Where did you get yours from if you don't mind me asking? xx

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    2. Not at all. It was Muubaa via The Outnet. The style was called Norma. It's collarless but with flaps that turn down if you know what I mean. I think they still have it in a size 10. I bought size 14 and am 39 inch bust if that helps anyone. The leather is very buttery, pliable and comfortable to wear with a nice cotton lining. Good luck with your jacket quest. Xx

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    3. Oh that's a stunner Elaine. It looks so easy to style as well. A brilliant alternative to the more traditional bulkier biker jacket x

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  4. A word of warning about that last new look jacket- I bought and returned this because the arms are spectacularly skinny. Even though they are part elasticated, and I don't *think* I have particularly big arms, I couldn't move!

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    1. Thanks Nicola, always useful when someone has actually tried a particular item x

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  5. Hi Donna -- I would love your opinion about something I have been pondering for a while. I've decided to finally purchase a leather jacket. I know that biker and moto style have been popular for several years now. Do you think that means their reign might be coming to an end? With an investment this sizeable, I'm a bit nervous about buying in to the trend too late, and wondering if I should perhaps look for something simple (collarless, maybe) that might outlast the trends. Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks!!!

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    1. Hi, sorry for the late response, I've been away. Oh goodness me yes, go for it. I've bought the All Saints Balfern in green (which as I suspected is actually more grey). Yet to wear it but I know I will. Don't forget, I've had the tan biker one for years and years (more than 10 probably 15).

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  6. Wow, thank you so much for this post. Its really helped me get a focus on jackets and narrow down the choices out there. Fabulous as always xxxxx

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