The biker jacket is such a strong symbol in fashion today. Every major brand offers a motorcycle jacket or similar style. But not many people know that the biker jacket and be traced back to one original jacket. The Schott Perfecto. And I’m lucky enough to have one.
Irving Schott produced the first Perfecto in 1928. It was the first jacket designed specifically for bikers. From the diagonal zipper that doesn’t bunch up when you hunch over, to the collar that snaps down so you don’t get hit in the face. The arms are jointed in a specific way to allow for mobility. I believe they’re called “underarm footballs.” It also has a bi-swing back which also improves arm movement. Essentially, that means there are pleats opening up towards the shoulders. A piece of elastic in the back pulls the jacket when you’re no longer in a riding position.
Even better, it’s made entirely by hand in the United States! Even the cowhide is American. Makes sense that it’s an iconic piece of Americana. It really first broke on the scene with Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Great movie.
My Perfecto is a hand me down. It was my mom’s. I’ve had it forever, but I haven’t worn it too much in the past. I wore it once in 7th grade, and then I don’t think again until senior year of high school. I recently broke it out of the closet and have been wearing it more. I can’t say I’m an expert in styling it, but I find it’s more comfortable with longer shirts underneath. The jacket is cut a little short. But that’s by design!
Because it’s a tighter fit, I like to pair it with something looser fitting. Usually loose pants, but sometimes a loose shirt underneath will do.