British Donkey Jackets and Groovy Biker Jackets are This Season's Big Trends
It's been a hard summer to dress for this year, with unseasonably cold winds and frequent rain showers. If you left without a coat when the sun was shining you invariably got drenched; if all looked grey and miserable you put on that old winter coat and were roasting within ten minutes. Lightweight, waterproof jackets, preferably with a hood, were the jacket of choice. Thankfully these could be fashionable, but in the colder months ahead you might want to look for something more substantial.
Men's winter jackets come in all shapes and sizes, from military jackets to huge woollen trench coats. The former is great if you have always wanted to join the forces or have a grandfather who fought in the war. The latter is preferable if you want to be very warm, or live somewhere like Scotland where winter winds are bone-chillingly cold. But both can be slightly limited in terms of fashion: the military look can be a bit scary and trench coats can make you look like a lawyer. Even if you are a lawyer, this isn't the groovy look to go for out of hours.
So, this season the fashionable choices are biker and donkey jackets. The biker jacket needs very little introduction. It's been around since the 1920s and was made very, very popular by Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones. Since then any number of stars have sported a sexy leather number: Fonzie from Happy Days, James Dean, although possibly not in his films, and Danny Zuko of Greece fame. Some of these guys actually rode motorbikes, but today's biker jackets have evolved past the point where having a bike is necessary - or even desirable. Real bikers get jackets with armour at critical points; fashion conscious guys lose the padding and go for sleeker jackets with less pockets and general bulges. They also might go for an already-worn look that owes nothing to high-speed crashes.
Biker jackets will always be cool and sexy, although cut at waist-level they don't really go with emerging beer bellies. The jacket of choice if you only plan to go to the gym next month, possibly next year or even next century, is the donkey jacket. This has its roots in British culture - a typical manual worker's jacket, possibly with plastic panels covering shoulder blade areas. It falls a bit lower over the posterior and buttons up at the front. Michael Foot, a past Labour Party leader, was famously accused of wearing one - although his wife said it was a very expensive short jacket. Such is its ambiguity.
So although it may be dark and cold, the winter might not be quite so bad. The choice of men's jackets is looking good, with styles that tap into group identities, snatch the image and dump the unnecessary padding or lifestyle. You might not want to work like a man in a donkey jacket, but at least you can look ruggedly fashionable.