My Venerable Leather Jacket
By Jeff Salter
For this week’s topic, our Friday Fox asked about our “most comfortable piece of clothing.”
Coming up blank initially, I finally realized this would my go-to jacket — my leather coat styled after the military’s A-2 flight jacket.
I’d seen these flight jackets in WW2 movies, of course, and some of the pilots at my various Air Force bases [during the Vietnam timeframe] still wore them on occasion. I guess I’d always wanted one, but knew I’d never be able to afford it. Cooper – one of the companies which made them for the military during the war – was still making them in the 1980s (and beyond, BTW) when I finally bought mine. But I had no $400 for a leather jacket.
One evening, when Beall’s was still one of the anchor stores in Pierre Bossier Mall – in Bossier City LA – I spotted a small display of military-styled jackets and tried them on. I think there were four left which were marked in my size… though they varied considerably in measurements, cut, and fit. I tried them all and this one fit best. It was around $65 — made in India.
That was the mid-1980s and this jacket has been my constant companion during the springs, the autumns, and even in some of the milder winter months ever since. That represented some 21 years in northwest Louisiana.
And, even though Kentucky’s winter weather is more severe, that jacket still gets many months of wear for each of my eleven years (so far) here in Possum Trot.
Why would a jacket make the top of my “most comfortable” list? Well, it’s warm enough to ward off the cold… even down to the mid-30s. But it’s still light enough to wear (rather than carry) even when I’m going to be indoors for an hour or two — like at a trade show. It likes being worn 6-8 months of the year and it’s not even afraid of the rain.
As I told my daughter, Julie, one time: I’m kinda glad I didn’t have $400 to spend on a fancy, “official” flight jacket 32 years ago. Had I bought one of those Coopers, I would have babied it, fretted about it, and kept it out of marginal weather. In other words, when I most needed a jacket, my Cooper would have been protected away in the closet.
Not so with this no-name, copycat flight jacket — it goes where I go. And we both like it that way.
Question: What’s YOUR most comfortable piece of clothing?
[JLS # 333]