Jan

21

Leather Jacket, from Ken Smith

January 21, 2008 |

Leather JacketBo Keely wrote me once when I made a comment about an expensive leather jacket that I intended to wear to my trip to his little village in the desert.  Keely admonished me, saying upscale dress was a good way to get mugged when traveling.

Of course if you are traveling first class, staying in five-star hotels, using limos to shuttle between airport and hotel, taxi to shuttle from event to event, then the journey is safe.  But I can't travel first class, I stay in motels not hotels, I walk around to avoid taxi charges, I  use public transportation systems.

So I took Keely's advice — put the leather jacket back on the closet hanger.  I have two fine leather jackets — except one is pigskin, made in China. I do not like pig, did not think of what animal the jacket skin might be when I bought it on sale — just thought of the price, was a steal; except it is pig.

The other jacket is tailored, fits like an Eisenhower. Maybe off a Kentucky Derby animal. Bought it at Nordstrom 30 years ago and it's a grand style to wear.  Only thing about it is I wore it to an AA meeting once and a recovering female alcoholic commented "Jesus, we don't need another leather jacket in this group."  I guess she was making a statement about gay dress, seeing the style for gays at that time was to dress in leather.

Steve Leslie remarks:

In the movie American Gangster there is a scene where Denzel Washington, who plays the gangster Frank Lucas, wears a mink coat with a mink hat to Madison Square Garden for a heavyweight boxing match. Detective Richie Roberts, played by Russell Crowe, takes pictures of people in the front rows around the ring. This helps Crowe in identifying Denzel as the drug kingpin that he is looking for. Up to this point, Denzel had always kept a low profile, thus allowing him to fly beneath the radar of the police. This one gaffe ultimately leads to a subsequent investigation, arrest and conviction. 

Riz Din adds:

In addition to its functional role, clothing clearly acts as a signaling mechanism. Another place where it is may be better to dress down is when taking one's car to the garage for repairs; dressing smartly signals a wealthy person who probably doesn't know his manifold sprocket from his flux capacitor.

Bruno Ombreux extends:

This is a very European attitude. In France, there is a saying: "pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés." That is: to live happily, live stealthly. I had a great aunt which had a lot of money. She dressed so poorly that one day she went to place Vendôme to one of those luxury jewelers with the intention of buying some trinkets. She was denied entrance by the bouncer: "Sorry Madam, we don't think you can afford the merchandise in this place".

In England, really old blue-blooded money consider it a lack of taste to display wealth. They'll go as far as having domestics wear their new clothes so that the clothes acquire quickly the aged patina that makes them wearable to the wealthy.


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