Leather always wears well

DRESS FOR EXCELLENCE

February 26, 1992|By Lois Fenton

Q. In the spring when it's chilly, but not enough for an overcoat, I'd like to wear something less nerdy than a windbreaker. Instead of the same old sweaters, what do you suggest?

A: Sounds like the winter blahs. Men don't seem to have the same need as women for adding something new to perk up their wardrobes and their spirits, but one way to help segue into spring -- or even just to remind you that it will eventually get here -- is to invest in a great casual jacket. Chic varieties include everything from a walk-on-the-wild-side bomber jacket to a Sunday fashion supplement Ralph Lauren type.

For the not too avant-garde dresser, the colorful new "sand-washed silk" jackets feel terrific and are actually washable. But they are not particularly warm. For the man who dresses traditionally during the week but likes to drive his (real or imagined) sports car on weekends, a leather jacket has always been the one item guaranteed to please -- especially the old tried-and-true bomber style. It doesn't have to be the conventional World War II brown leather variety with detachable collar. Even the man who shies away from extreme fashion styles would feel comfortable in a leather jacket with a variety of sports motifs on the back and sleeves. If a man cannot own his own ball team, at least he can sport his seasonal preference.

The artist and hip young guy shops in thrift shops for baseball jackets with high school team names that no one has ever heard of; that look has become a new style. This is what fashion people refer to as "street fashions." Lately, Europeans are making a style out of wearing American baseball jackets, even though they don't know the teams. The bright-colored jackets Michael Hoban designs for North Beach leathers have appealing strong graphic patterns that are more grown-up than typical styles printed with specific team names.

Add a pair of pleated pants or the old standby, jeans, and you have a sporty weekend look that is sure to be different from anything you already own.

A great leather jacket lasts a lifetime and can always be passed on to a favorite (and deserving) son.

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