The Biker Jacket

We are discussing the classic pieces in the modern wardrobe. In this series, I’m sharing what I look for in each garment and why. I also show you how I wear those pieces.

The moto jacket or the biker jacket is a versatile piece that you can throw on over anything from a silk floral dress to a hooded sweatshirt. The biker jacket is often black leather with silver zippers, epaulets, studs, and lots of pockets. Motorcycle jackets became very popular in 1953 with The Wild One’s premiere, featuring Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler. (Irving Schott created a new type of coat intended for motorcycle riding in 1928, the Schott Perfecto—named after his preferred cigar brand.)

My best moto-style jacket isn’t black leather. It is a buttery soft gray color of suede-like material with gunmetal studs, no epaulets, and no belt. I need clean and simple styles that don’t add bulk at the bust or waistline with my figure. I’ve worn this jacket by Clara Sunwoo from My Fair Lady many times.

I always look for tops and jackets with shoulder seams to reach the edge of my shoulders. Dropped shoulder seams or raglan sleeves always make me look bulky and somewhat sloppy.

The short length, the fit, which is usually close to the body, and the asymmetric zipper closure are all features that are very flattering for my shape. Garments without bulky texture, excessive length, and fullness, as well as an absence of fussy details, are my best choices. Softer colors and fabrics are in harmony with my gray hair and paler coloring. The typical black leather biker jacket overwhelms me in every way.

I always wear a moto or biker-style jacket with close-fitting pants or jeans, a soft flowing top or tank, and edgy shoes or boots. However, I would never wear a moto-jacket with combat or biker boots. That’s a bit too, Marlon Brando for me.

Draping a soft gray cashmere shawl around my neck makes the jacket warm enough for a mild weather January dinner date.

All of the items I am wearing are a couple of years old except for Express’s silver camisole. The pants are by Lior Paris (also from My Fair Lady). The cashmere shawl is a few years old from J.Jill.

Beautycounter, found here, is my favorite skincare and makeup.

  1. I have a few questions: Can you recommend a long sleeved top, like the ones you featured last week, but with a true crew neck? I am bony and need a neckline that comes all the way up. Also, over the years, I have purchased so many pairs of pants that fit perfectly in the dressing room but then stretch out and become sloppy looking. Sales ladies have promised me this won’t happen, but it still does. I am a true size 6, and a size 4 would be too tight. I love your blog and enjoy your fashion sense even though our body types are completely different.

    1. The tops here have a boat neckline. You are correct to wear the higher necklines with your features. Whenever I buy pants with elastane (stretch), I always buy them to fit like a girdle. I know that in an hour they will stretch out and look saggy if I don’t size down.

  2. Good Morning Susan, I love the outfit you are showing today and you look great! Just wanted to say I love your hair right where you have it it looks perfect on you. Have a great day!

  3. I have been reading your posts for a long time. I am especially interested in wearing clothing that goes well with silver/gray hair. I have always been a light blonde but because of health. Issues (lupus) my hair is thinning. So for about a year ago, I decided not to put any chemicals on my hair. This is where I need some advice. The front and sides of my hair are very white but the back is coming in darker and more gray and not quite silver.. Is your hair naturally silver? What did you do to transition to natural silver? I recently had eight inches cut off last month. Any advice from you or your readers would be helpful. Your hair looks very heathy and full. I value your opinions and any advice. I am looking forward to more of your classic pieces worn several ways series. I recently purged my closet after reading several of your posts about simplicity and classic styles.

    1. I let my hair grow out to the natural color when I turned fifty. I kept getting it trimmed and used a temporary color for a little while and then just let it be. I’ve been delighted with the natural color. It is still lighter on the surface than beneath.

  4. Love your OOTD! I too have a moto jacket but I went with the leather and with a few zippers and epaulets. But I ended up choosing one that was not too over the top. I usually wear it with jeans and boots. I have a wide brimmed fedora I wear when I am out out and about. My hubby and I have a Harley that we enjoy so I do have moto boots that I wear for leg and foot protection in case of an accident. The boots have a 1 inch heel for traction when I need balance getting on and off the bike. I’ll be 68 this summer so I want to stay active as long as I can. You lose it if you don’t use it!
    Thinking about the cone heel but I have 7 pair of black boots so I must resist for now! But tempting!

  5. Susan, you look perfect in the jacket. I tried one on recently and looked sort of like I was in drag, so I didn’t buy one.

  6. Hello Susan, you look great in the biker jacket! (Of course, you look great in everything!). I have a question about your hair. My hair is very much like yours in that it has a lot of natural wave. Whenever I just let it air dry, it looks really flat. What is your secret to all the fullness? What products do you use? Do you use any styling tools? I love your blog, and can’t wait to see what new styling lessons I can learn from you. Thank you so much!!

  7. I love everything about this outfit. You look so with it and absolutely no frump anywhere to be seen.

  8. Susan, I am new to your website and you are adorable!

    I don’t know where you live but wonder if you will be doing articles on summer wear as the warmer months start. I live in Southern California and it can start getting hot here in May. I can’t go sleeveless/short sleeve so my basic wardrobe for the summer is a tank top with a linen shirt over it and white jeans; boring!

    I hope you can supply some cute looks for summer.

  9. I’m a fan of your posts and blog. In the last two years I’ve stopped dyeing my hair and am finding some colours don’t look as nice on me anymore. I’m thinking I may be a soft summer now, but I’ve not had my colours done. Do you have any advice regarding this? Do you think it’s possible that our best colours change as we age?

  10. Susan, because of you I now know what to look for when I shop for clothes. As a result of following your blog for a couple of years now, I shop less often, buy fewer items and dress better than I ever have! I bought the MOTO jacket in camel and everything you say about it is true , it is one of my best pieces. Also started using the Beautycounter face oil. I really love the smell and find myself looking forward to applying it each morning. Also love the scarf I purchased from you last year and wear it often (almost always have someone ask me where I got it!). Really can’t thank you enough for sharing the lessons you have learned. Your intelligent approach to how we can dress our best and your generous teaching spirit has been a blessing to many.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.