In Which I Break the (Sartorial) Rules

leather biker jacket

Life is scaffolded by so many rules: the laws of the land, the rules of the road, bye-laws here there and everywhere, and then there’s that list of rules around age appropriate dressing.

I don’t know who drew up the original what-not-to-wear after a certain age list but every time it appears, and it does with alarming regularity, in magazines or the supplements of weekend newspapers, and no matter who writes it, there is remarkable consistency about what’s acceptable and what’s not.

I have no wish to look like mutton dressed as agneau so it is good that I mostly concur with what the list-makers suggests are things that are best avoided after a certain age: short skirts, agreed; long hair, agreed; anything too tight, agreed …

Leather often features on these list with some compilers allowing that a tailored leather jacket is borderline acceptable. Anything else in leather: a skirt, trousers or a biker jacket is normally verboten.

Well, the thing is a couple of weeks ago I bought a leather jacket. Er, no, it’s not a tailored one. In fact, it’s very definitely a biker jacket. I cannot claim it was an impulse buy because when I tried it on I had some doubts and I was about to walk way when the sales assistant offered to put it aside for me. Fatal that. And I am sure it’s part of the sales psychology because once a piece of clothing is dangling on a rail in a storeroom at back of a shop, with your name on it, you own it in your head. So, three days later I was back like a boomerang to pay for and bring home my jacket.

I think because it’s navy and not harsh unforgiving black and because it’s butter-soft that I can, I hope, get away with wearing it. So long, of course, as everything I wear with it is age appropriate.

I am puzzled by the why of my purchase as I am not given to buying on-trend fashion-y items and the jacket is definitely such a thing and especially because the buying of it has totally torpedoed my clothes budget for the rest of the year. Anyway, no matter why, I love it. I am justifying and rationalizing the splurge by telling myself that it’s a once in a decade buy: I have a significant birthday later this year and I look on it as an early birthday present to myself.

For those who are interested in the details – my jacket is by Isabel Marant, it’s not from the main line but from her more affordable diffusion range but gawd that’s only by comparison!


Filed under Fashion, Musings, Shops/Shopping, Style

56 responses to “In Which I Break the (Sartorial) Rules

  1. What rules? Those are only guidelines…


    When you know the rules and why it’s generally wise to adhere to them; you’re free to break them with discretion.


    I love it. Good for you. And you can justify the expense with–it will never wear out. Your great-great-grandneice can wear it when she’s your age.

    • Thank Tracy,

      The points you make are so very true. I intend to wear the jacket a great deal but it’s nice to think I can pass it on to someone else when I decide that maybe it’s just not right for me any more by then it will probably be considered vintage. (as I will be myself!)

  2. I LOVE love love it! If it was wool with no zips you wouldn’t feel half as special wearing it. Wear it, love it, enjoy it! (ps just a little bit envious!)

  3. Its a beautiful jacket, looks so soft, I don’t care what age you are. that jacket is lovely and stylish and looks like it would make you feel good having it on and if you feel good about yourself you are going to exude confidence. Happy Birthday (albeit in the future).

    • Thank you so much for your birthday wishes. I do feel good about myself when I wear the jacket and even though it’s fashion-y it’s very comfortable to wear and I have got into the habit of throwing it on when I go out for an evening walk. πŸ˜‰

  4. beautycalyptique

    I’m sure you’ll look stunning!
    I believe in certain fashion rules (e.g. such as don’t wear unfortunately small-sized trousers so you have a muffin top) but I also believe in personal style. don’t you think that individuality matters more than a random rule set up by a (probably frustrated – girls night out and champagne aren’t that good a companion) fashion editor, desperate to fill the pages?

    • Yes I think that individuality matters hugely. One of the most stylish women I ever saw was a French lady in Paris (I can still see her in my mind’s eye), but she didn’t look as you would probably imagine a Parisian of un certain age would. She had broken every rule in the book and she looked so amazing. πŸ˜‰

      • beautycalyptique

        my point exactly!

        on a personal nore: I am far away from being a style icon, but when I receive compliments from such people as etiquette coaches, who say I wear nothing like “business attire” but that it looks correct and unique, I think I’m doing it right πŸ™‚
        so rock your navi blue biker jacket to get the max out of each and every cent it has cost! πŸ˜‰

      • Thanks I will rock that blue biker jacket. πŸ˜‰ ‘Business attire’ is such a sartorial strait-jacket so well done you for stepping out of that strait-jacket and still looking ‘correct’ and more importantly unique. πŸ˜‰

      • beautycalyptique

        Since I’m on my “detox all the things” adventure, I feel compelled to add: Sadly, there are no non-toxic business suits. How do you think do they keep shape and why are they “dry-clean only”? Rrrrright. They’re impermeated. And with what? With Formaldehyde.
        Seems I was leading a healthier life than I knew!
        It was a natural clothes manufacturer who explained to me why I can’t have a ‘green’ business suit. (I complained to her that organic clothing looks like potato bags)

      • That’s so sad – no non-toxic business suits. Is there any escape from chemicals in our world! πŸ˜‰

      • beautycalyptique

        it’s a sign! πŸ™‚ business suits are The Evil!

  5. To me it has a classic, elegant design and I’m sure you’ll have fun putting outfits together. You could also add a scarf or a necklace. I may have to get one too!

  6. And why not? Why not? Buy a jacket that’s blue and soft and that you love. I am aged/ ing and I have long hair and, at the moment, I love it. Clapping hands for you πŸ™‚

  7. And Isabel, I discover, has a beautiful website and uses ethically sourced gold for her watches; so all the more reason to buy her products!

  8. It is beautiful and I’m sure you look fabulous on it. Rules are there to be broken.

  9. i see things in a more simpler way: i don’t care who’s the designer (if any), i don’t care what other think or what are the rules, if you love it- wear it!

  10. So, who makes those “rules” anyway?… I love wearing Converse: should I worry or even give a damn if there is a “rule” against it? I like ’em, I wear ’em – well, at least that’s how I roll! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰
    Hooray for your jacket and enjoy wearing it because YOU like it, B – that’s all that matters on my view! πŸ™‚

    • You are right Stefano, no, of course, you shouldn’t worry if there is a ‘rule’ against wearing Converse although I doubt there is such a ‘rule’ as Converse seem to suit absolutely everyone from teeny tiny to tots to ninety year olds. I usually have at least one pair on the go myself – I love then.

      I do think that some of the rules around age appropriate dressing are, well, appropriate and others not. And yes I will enjoy wearing my jacket. πŸ˜‰

  11. I say that rules are made to be broken! Besides this looks like a wonderfully comfortable and versatile jacket- I’m sure you will have many opportunities to enjoy wearing it πŸ™‚

  12. Ann

    oh you bold, bold girl!!!!!
    Its gorgeous, wear it often and well,

  13. WhiteTrinity

    Beautiful jacket! Enjoy it! — Mrs. J : )

  14. Hello B.!
    The rules … I do not follow them. I just try not to look ridiculous. πŸ˜‰
    The jacket is gorgeous and the color even more! True: we are not teens anymore but that doesn’t mean we should only wear dark colors. Quite the opposite!!! Wearing classy colors is a must at our age! πŸ˜‰
    As to the money that you spent, you did good. Better spend your yearly budget on one or two high quality, timeless pieces and build your closet little by little than buying ten items which are worthless and will last a season.
    I do truly believe that the more you spend the more you save.
    Enjoy your beautiful jacket, my friend.

    • Hello Francesca,

      Now that’s a very good way to look at ‘the rules’ because none of us want’s to look clown-like and yet following ‘the rules’ doesn’t guarantee that we won’t, whereas aiming not to look ridiculous will. πŸ˜‰

      I so, so agree with you about buying timeless, high quality pieces to build a closet. I think that’s a mantra Italian (lucky you) and French women have indelible inked on their consciousness – I forget sometimes. But I am going to strive post my significant birthday to adhere to it more.

      Thanks, I will enjoy my jacker. πŸ˜‰

      B Xx

  15. I see women of a certain age wearing leather in Europe all the time and they look stunning. I know you will as well and will get loads of compliments. πŸ™‚

    • Karen,

      Mea culpa – I missed out on replying to some comments lately including yours, so sorry about that. I too have seen European women of a certain age wear leather and look good in it. As the weather here is now chilly in the evenings I am getting plenty of opportunities to wear my new jacket. πŸ˜‰

  16. Life is way too short to get caught up in rules made by those who don’t “get it”. Wear your jacket with pride and to heck with the naysayers!

  17. I think it could be a wardrobe staple. Very pretty.

  18. I love that opening sentence of your post. Life, indeed, is scaffolded by so many rules. For a moment if we were to do away with the restriction of using this in the context of our clothing, what do we see opening up for us?

    Our past regrets, our future expectations, our deep down beliefs, all contribute to weigh us down with additional scaffolding, do they not? Would it not be interesting if we could envisage the correlation between what we wear, how we show up and these aspects of scaffolding around us?


    • I am so sorry for the very late reply, I have been a bit distracted lately and totally forgot to approve and reply to your comment.

      I agree with what you say about our past regrets etc weighing us down with additional scaffolding and it would be interesting if we could envisage the correlations you talk about.

      Thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment. πŸ˜‰

  19. raphaele42

    This jacket is fab. These rules are good for people who don’t know what they are doing. You don’t seem to fall into this category, and as you say, it is blue, not black. Well done, I would love one too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s