Fashion by Felicia
Felicia Caponigri | Friday, September 23, 2011
There are certain times in a fashionista’s life when she fears she has got it all wrong.
These moments are, without a doubt, harrowing enough to reduce even the strongest among us to bite and ruin our perfectly-manicured nails, baptized in the latest shade of trendy OPI nail polish. Even our male counterparts are prone to this niggling sense of fashion doubt, just witness Mr. Fitzgerald’s Letter to the Editor, “Is a Scarf too Metro?”
We may descend the stairs in a Audrey Hepburn/Sabrina-inspired sheath and heels, excited to dine at a hip Fondue restaurant by the Pantheon in Paris, only to find we are distinctly out of touch with the cool skinny jeans, white T-shirts, comfortable flats and Superga sneakers adorning the rest of our group — not that I’m speaking from personal experience, or anything. In the ensuing identity crisis we may ask ourselves — “Who am I? What am I doing here? Will I ever attain that breezy nonchalant attitude I channel through my accessories? Fashion, my love, why are you deserting me?” Again, not that I’m quoting from personal experience or previous fashion meltdowns.
But then we remember — the clothes don’t wear us, we wear the clothes. We are the masters of our own fashion destinies and the identities we project through them. Searching for that perfect outfit doesn’t make us fashion addicts, it makes us the authors of our own fashion sensibility. And, like any great literary genius, we need a tried-and-true story point to begin our individual fashion journeys. What item of style could live up to plot-points the likes of Ernest Hemingway’s “Moveable Feast,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby” or JD Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye?” Ladies and Gentlemen, only the leather jacket will do.
The leather jacket is the essence of cool. It screams attitude and fierce independence. Its cool factor stems from its origin as the uniform of early 20th century aviators and its exposure in Hollywood movies of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Soon, everyone wanted a piece of the leather jacket’s action.
Even Europeans have appropriated this look to project American rebellion and continental cool. When buying a leather jacket you can go for faux, but be advised the real deal is worth the investment. Try the jacket on a few times and stretch the sleeves a little to make sure the material is supple enough to mold, yet define, your upper body. We’re not going for the T-Birds and Pink Ladies look, so the best cut is the modern motorcycle jacket — square with a racing collar. Of course, go with what fits you best and what makes you feel the most confident. While black may work for some, a less edgy dark brown may feel more apt for others.
This look works for both women and men. Women— throw it over jeans and a T-shirt or even over your favorite cocktail dress. Casual or dressy, it makes any outfit a combination of strength and feminine savvy. Men can work leather with jeans and a T-shirt or with dress pants and an Oxford shirt, reminding us that there’s self-assured steel underneath that easy handsome exterior.
Start your leather jacket journey with selections at zara.com.
Contact Felicia Caponigri at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily of The Observer.