Seven of History's Most Important Leather Jackets

BY: Amelia Buzzell |Sep 24, 2014
Seven of History's Most Important Leather JacketsBefore it became the choice for punks, bikers, and other unfathomably cool people, the leather jacket was simply a practical piece of clothing. It was a toughened hide of an animal, sometimes paired with shearling, and it could keep out a chilly breeze or a splashing raindrop. That all changed in 1953, however, when Marlon Brando’s appearance in the movie The Wild Ones turned the otherwise practical bomber jacket into a must-have accessory. Below, we’ve collected some of our favorite leather jackets throughout history to prove that the coat’s appeal truly is timeless. Want the look for yourself? Shop Ideel’s Men's Coat Closet or its Fall's Fresh Coats sale for women. ideel-style-shop-banner_600c137 1804: Lewis and Clark important-leather-jackets_600c548 Image via PBS’s This Day in History blog If paintings of the adventurous duo are to be believed, the explorers wore leather jackets for warmth as they mapped the Louisiana Purchase and marked trails for future rides with their motorcycle gang. 1955: James Dean important-leather-jackets_600c449 Image via Nordstrom Much like Brando before him, James Dean brought the leather jacket to Hollywood by wearing one on- and off-set, making it synonymous with Rebel Without a Cause and bad-boy allure. (See also: The Fonz and Jess Mariano from Gilmore Girls.) Mid-1950s: Bad Sandy important-leather-jackets_600c723 Image via PopSugar If all it takes to turn from “good” to “bad” is a leather jacket with red silk lining, then the concept of “aspirational dressing” is nothing to toy with. (Sure, Grease was filmed in the late ’70s, but Sandy’s jacket doesn’t know that.) 1976: Joe Strummer important-leather-jackets_600c439 Image via The Clash Blog For maximum bad-boy allure, turn to a rocker like The Clash’s Joe Strummer. Whether musicians wore their jackets plain or embellished them with pins, studs, spikes, and chains, the punk movement was never fully dressed without a bomber jacket. (See also: Sid Vicious, any of the Ramones, Roger M. Klotz from Doug.) 1980: Joan Jett important-leather-jackets_600c600 Image via Rolling Stone The “Bad Reputation” singer’s signature shaggy haircut is made all the cooler with a black leather jacket and a steely stare. 1983: Eddie Murphy important-leather-jackets_600c300 Image via Pop Matters In his 1983 comedy special Delirious, Murphy’s wit shared the spotlight with a red leather jacket and matching pants. 1986: Sloane Peterson important-leather-jackets_600c395 Image via Rotten Tomatoes Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend preferred a white leather jacket dripping with fringe. It probably kept her warm while riding in the convertible with Ferris and Cameron, and the fringe definitely looked cool as it fluttered in the breeze. The Future: The Matrix important-leather-jackets_600c474 Image via Moviefone In the future, a computer program will  take over the world, lasers will be everywhere, Trinity will be a perfectly normal woman’s name, and leather jackets will still be cool. Shop Goods for men's and women's clothing:
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Miss London Jackets Moto Jackets AmeriLeather Men's Jackets
Read more about timeless fashion on the Guide:
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Why These Handbags are Named for Famous Women Knee Socks That Are Surprisingly Stylish, Expectedly Long Remember When Men Wore Nightgowns?

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