Dear leather Jacket, I first spotted you on a trip to Niagara on the Lake, a place I love because it has many of the things I adore in a one mile radius. Great theater, shopping, wine and interesting new people to talk to. I was on a weekend get-away with my Mother, only months away from ending my then 13 year marriage. Little did I know then, that my leather jacket and I were going to be in for a firestorm of adventure.
At 38 years old, I was still 23 emotionally. I actually started dating my first husband at 23 and I gave him as much reign as I needed to keep me from making the decisions that force you to grow up. The upside was that very little real worry had come my way, and my countenance reflected it.
It was still a kick to shop for clothes. An amateur actor, I was a professional at costuming myself for real life. My clothing spoke less to my life as a Banker’s wife, but more to my former, lost days as an edgy fashion PR girl. Bottom line? I was on the hunt for Canadian leather!
It didn’t take much time for me to find the perfect little shop in a town over-flowing with tourists ready to drop American dollars on pretty much anything. There’s a year round Christmas shop there and a store devoted to all things Scottish, or is it Irish? I’m not really sure, because I think I spotted kilts and shamrocks. It may just be a Celtic shop, come to think of it. At any rate, none of that interested me. Leather did.
After less than 5 minutes in the leather shop, I instantly befriended the girl who was helping me. A rosy cheeked, blonde with a lilting Canadian accent. She reminded me of Bridget Jones, or Renee Zellweger playing her in the movie. As is my custom, we got way too close way too fast. In 10 minutes I knew her dating history, her shoe size and what she ate for lunch. Fashion girls are like speed daters, especially when they meet up in the wild. I had an “in-style” friend and everything was perfectly set up for the thrill of the kill!
I tried on everything she threw at me. I paraded in and out of the dressing room in every permutation of leather. She convinced me that I was the ONLY one who could pull off the gold, snakeskin mini skirt, so I set that aside immediately. But I couldn’t just go home with a one-off — I had to find myself the Holy Grail. The gold standard in the world of leather — the perfect black, leather jacket.
It appeared in the form of a black, buttery soft hide of heaven. Just skimming the hips, it would still show off the cute pockets of my “Seven For All Mankind” jeans. The front zipper was gold, so it had just a hint of the 80s decadence that had shaped my tastes forever. A silver zipper would have been just a tinge too casual. This would be the jacket that would edge up a cocktail dress and be the perfect counterpoint to a pair of cargo pants. I sang a note like Madeline Kahn did in “Young Frankenstein” and it was lovely. My leather shopping experience left me wanting a drink and a cigarette. My beautiful moment with the rosy cheeked girl at the store had ended, but I was off to begin a new relationship with my new, leather jacket.