What Makes A Good Motorcycle Jacket, According To A Real Biker

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: Kylie Jenner is seen on a night out at The Twenty Two in Mayfair on August 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil M/GC Images)

If you have a sudden urge to join a motorcycle club right now, it’s not a coincidence. From the influence of Rosalía’s “Motomami” album to fashion trends on fall 2022 runways and a vintage shopping resurgence on TikTok, it’s clear that the adrenaline-infused, ultra-cool biker style is fast becoming a sought-after look. Vroom vroom!

It all started back in 2021, when Rosalía was seen donning a biking helmet as a handbag on the streets of SoHo, hinting that her then-anticipated album would be centered around this aesthetic. Later, designers jumped on the style too: Dior showed models in protective gear and bicep-grazing motocross gloves over flowy dresses; Balmain featured biker-style denim jackets, as well as vests and pants that looked more like safety gear than high fashion; and Junya Watanabe, Givenchy, and Alexander McQueen put heavy-zippered leather jackets and leather leggings on the runway.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 10: Bella Hadid is seen in Chelsea on May 10, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

While motocross has long been an influence in fashion, this season, the inspiration is more concrete, with celebrities like Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, and Emily Ratajkowski dressing like they’re off to the races. And it’s all about the jackets: Back in May, Hadid stepped out in New York wearing a yellow racing jacket with the Yamaha logo, while Bieber sported a vintage red biking jacket paired with parachute pants. Kylie Jenner also endorsed the trend, wearing a vintage Thierry Mugler padded jacket with a denim mini skirt. Beyoncé also took on the style with her British Vogue spread, in which she posed on a motorcycle, wearing head-to-toe leather from Junya Watanabe and Commando.

It’s no coincidence celebs have relied on jackets to show off their moto style. According to real-life, Illinois-based biker Amelia Costello, it’s a must-have for any motorcycle outing. “You want something that’s going to possibly save your life if you are going down. So you want something that’s really durable,” Costello, who has been riding for three years, says.

Ahead, Costello dishes on what are the best qualities for a moto jacket, when you’re looking to match your on-the-street style to a biker’s on-the-run uniform this fall.

Go For Leather

Even if you’re not actually hopping on a bike on the weekends, a good quality material like leather will most likely be the best option to keep you warm and stylish. “Leather is durable and it’s stronger,” says Costello, who says that a high quality leather is less likely to rip open in an accident. So, if it withstands a motorcycle fall, it’ll last a lot longer in great condition. Take a cue from Kylie Jenner’s fit, going for a vintage jacket that will add a worn feel to your look.

MADRID, SPAIN – JULY 19: Rosalia performs on stage during the Motomami tour at Wizink Center on July 19, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Mariano Regidor/Redferns)

Fit Is Better Than Oversized

Oversized jackets may be a stylish (and comfy look), but when it comes to mimicking the style of a real-life biker, Costello says that a fitted jacket is better. “You don’t want it to be loose because it’ll be flapping in the wind and that gets annoying,” she says. Chances are your fitted biker jacket will also be a good choice when wind gusts ramp up during the fall.

Adhere To The Dress Code

If you were a biker, you’d likely join a motorcycling association, like the Latin American Motorcycling Association (LAMA), of which Costello is a part of. “Most biker crews have a dress code,” she says, adding that it usually consists of a black shirt, jeans, and a biker jacket or vest. While it’s tempting to pair a moto jacket with a skirt or dress, Costello says that real biker style sticks to a no-skirts policy. “I find myself not being able to dress up as often as they used to,” she says. “I’d rather be on my bike than wear a dress.”

If the trend intimidates you, Costello says it’s best to have a rider’s mindset, even if no bike is available: “Everyone drops their bike. Just get up and brush it off and keep going.” 

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