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Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Leather Biker - save, spend, splurge.

I absolutely love fashion. I love shopping, I love experimenting with trends and I've noticed that over the past year or so I have become a lot more confident in what I wear and my own personal style. It is an undeniably horrible feeling when you wear something you don't feel 100% comfortable in; by 'comfortable' I don't even mean because the outfit itself is too tight/loose/fabric is itchy etc, although obviously all of this does affect how good you feel about yourself. Whenever I wear something which is just too far out of my comfort zone, I find myself in a horrible mood, constantly looking at myself in shop windows/mirrors and getting flustered. I totally understand that a lot of people cannot relate to my love (obsession) with clothes but how I see it is that everyone has their own interests and whilst someone spending their wage on collectable dinner plates makes no sense to me, it does to others. 

Bearing this in mind, one of my main new years resolutions was to stop impulsive spending. I am an absolute sucker for seeing something in a shop, thinking it is gorgeous, buying it, taking it home and realising I have absolutely no idea what to wear with it. Then, I either have to spend more money buying stuff to go with my purchase, or attempt to make it look nice with the clothes I already own, failing miserably and never getting any wear out of it. I have sold so many gorgeous pieces on eBay for a fraction of the price I paid for them simply because I never got enough wear out of them to justify keeping them and them going 'out of fashion' so quickly. I use that term lightly because I do believe that if you have a certain sense of style or love a particular dress or pair of shoes, you shouldn't stop wearing them just because they are 'last season'. However, if you are interested in current trends and follow fashion like I do, it is very easy to get bored of an item of 'fashionable' clothing and wear other more versatile pieces instead. 

An interesting term I came across recently is 'cost per wear'. I had heard of this before but hadn't really given it much thought as the idea of spending a couple of hundred pounds on just one item didn't make sense to me. However, thinking about it now, it is a very sensible attitude to adopt. The idea is to divide the original price you paid for the item by how many times you wear it. Then, the end result is the 'cost' of each time you wear the item. By doing this sum, you can work out whether it is actually more cost effective to invest in something you know you are going to get a lot of wear out of and take a bigger financial hit at once, or buy something cheaper which you are going to wear once and then forget about. It works with regards to quality, too.

For example, I bought a black suede dress from Zara almost 2 and a half years ago, costing me £40. It is really good quality and although it does have a bit of detailing on the front, it is a classic black a-line dress and I have worn it for a good number of meals and nights out. If we say I have worn this dress 15 times as it is quite a 'dressy' dress and therefore not really suitable for everyday wear, the dress cost me £2.60 per wear. However, I also bought a dress from Missguided which was, again, a plain black dress suitable for going out in. I wore it once and then shoved it in the back of my wardrobe because the quality was so bad compared to my Zara one that I knew that I would always choose that one over the cheaper option. The Missguided dress cost me £25 and was worn once... so cost me £25 per wear. This is a perfect example of investing in something better quality for your wardrobe staples which will last and make you feel good wearing it! This doesn't even mean you need to spend hundreds in designer shops either; you can get a lot of good quality high street dresses from places like Topshop, Zara and French Connection which will take you from season to season and if you look after them properly then they will last. 

I think a leather biker is an absolute must in everyone's wardrobe because they are so versatile; they can dress down an outfit to make it suitable for the day but also make a pair of jeans and a t-shirt look really put together for a meal or drinks out. If, like me, you wear your biker jacket pretty much every day, it is a good opportunity to consider whether it would be better to invest in something better quality or buy a cheaper version from the high street.

My first fashion biker jacket was from Primark and even though I liked biker jackets, the one I bought was around £18 and just looked so cheap. I wore it a couple of times and didn't feel it really made my outfit look any better and ended up throwing it away. This was about 5 years ago now and Primark has definitely upped their game since then so you can probably get a nicer one nowadays, but the quality is never going to be amazing. I was then bought one for my 17th birthday by my then-boyfriend from Miss Selfridge. I'm not even over exaggerating when I say that I wore it EVERYWHERE. I wore it to sixth form, to the shops, to go shopping, to go out in... the inside lining of it was completely shredded and it was just wrecked when I decided to finally give it up and get a new one about 2 years ago. I literally wore that jacket to death and to be honest it was pretty minging by the end of its 3 year run but I just loved the shape of it so much and wore it so often that I didn't want to buy another and not like it as much. Then, I bought a Topshop faux-leather jacket for £48 a couple of years ago and although I didn't wear it AS much as my old one, I still got a fair bit of wear out of it and I still wear it to this day. Taking all of this into consideration, I knew that if I found a more expensive, higher quality biker jacket then I would absolutely get the wear out of it as I had been constantly wearing them anyway. 

I invested in my All Saints suede biker jacket about a month ago, which I honestly adore. I bought mine from the Cheshire Oaks outlet store and it was absolutely meant to be because on the way I had been telling Sam that I wanted to save up and invest in an All Saints jacket but when I got to the outlet, they had 50% off all marked down prices, meaning I paid £106 instead of £380! Of course, that is still a lot of money, but factoring in the cost per wear and how much better quality it is than my other jackets, as well as the fact that it fits like a dream and makes all my outfits look instantly better, it is definitely money well spent. Also, as it is suede I am still getting the wear out of my Topshop faux-leather biker. However, I am currently in the process of saving up for a better quality, genuine leather replacement for this one too as after experiencing how much nicer it is to wear my All Saints jacket I know that the money will be worth it. 


 If you don't see the point in spending a lot of money on a leather jacket because you would only wear it on the odd occasion, there are some really nice cheaper alternatives on the high street. However, it is worth bearing in mind that you may still want to pay a little more money than Primark prices to ensure that when you do wear it, you feel it really completes your outfit. I would suggest looking in Topshop, Zara, Miss Selfridge and New Look for jackets which won't completely break the bank but also look good enough quality-wise to want to wear again and again.

Topshop Quilted Faux-Leather Biker, £39

This jacket is from Topshop and costs £39 online and looks very similar to the one I currently own from there. It has 16 reviews which is always a good sign because it shows that a lot of people have purchased it and since the overall review is 4.5/5 I would say its a good item if you want something which is going to look nice but don't want to have to spend your entire spending budget for the month on it. You can buy it here and probably in store too.

Miss Selfridge Black Karen PU Biker Jacket, £34.40

This jacket is from Miss Selfridge and costs £34.40 in the sale but was originally £49. I think this jacket actually looks quite good quality online but obviously cannot honestly comment as I have not seen it in person, but from my past experience with Miss Selfridge biker jackets it is probably going to be good enough for occasional wear (not constant wear in sweaty night clubs like me...). You can buy this here but since it is in the sale it may not be in store anymore.

TOP PLACES SHOP: Topshop, Zara, Miss Selfridge, New Look, Mango, River Island.


These jackets are more suitable for people who want to invest in good quality, pay extra for something they will wear a lot or want to treat themselves to something really nice. I had heard so many good reviews about All Saints jackets before I bought my own and I really cannot say any different as I have had many complements on it! I also REALLY want the first jacket in this list, and would buy it right now if I a) wasn't in Italy and b) didn't have to pay rent in a week. 

Topshop Ultimate Biker Jacket by Boutique, £245

This jacket is a bit of a different cut and texture, but I just think it looks so much more expensive and would still be very versatile in anybody's wardrobe. The fact that it is nearly sold out online and is only available in the 2 sizes I differentiate between is breaking my heart and I wish I could just buy it right now! However, with big purchases like this I like to buy them in store as then I can be 100% sure that I absolutely love it before paying so much money for one item. For me, £245 isn't a small amount of money to be spending spontaneously as I am a student and currently only tutoring to bring in a tiny bit of extra income as I am studying abroad, and I am sure this is the same sort of scenario for other people too! But as an investment piece, this jacket really works as it is a classic cut, is black so will work with everything in your wardrobe and the better quality will mean it lasts for years and years. If you're feeling spendy, you can buy it here and make me extremely envious!

All Saints Balfern Leather Biker Jacket, £318

All Saints Conroy Leather Biker Jacket, £380

Reverting back to the typical biker-style jacket, these All Saints pieces are absolutely perfect for people who want to invest in something of better quality. As I previously mentioned, as a student these prices are not attainable for me at the moment, so if I were to buy one I would have to save up for it and really be sure that I was buying something worth the money. The second jacket listed here is more than my monthly rent, so to simply go online now and order it would not be a sensible decision regardless of how much wear I would get out of it. However, since I love my suede biker so much, I am going to see how well it lasts durability-wise and then hopefully be able to invest in a leather one this year! I have seen so many bloggers praise these jackets so I am confident the quality makes the steeper-price point worthwhile. You can buy them here (Balfern) and here (Conroy).

TOP PLACES TO SHOP: Topshop Boutique, All Saints, Whistles, Sandro, Reiss, Urban Outfitters


These following jackets can definitely be considered the ultimate perfect investments for a leather biker. They have pretty hefty price tags, but be warned - they are undeniably gorgeous. Currently praying I win the lottery within the next week so I can buy all of them and more...

Acne Studios Leather Biker Jacket, £1300

An Acne Studios leather biker is definitely a bit eye-watering price point when comparing it to the amount of cheaper jackets there are available on both the high street and in higher-end stores, but the quality is second to none. I haven't got one myself (I wish) but is up there with my dream purchases! I have seen a lot of bloggers and style icons wearing it, however, and they all claim the leather is extremely beautiful and that they absolutely love theirs.

Tom Ford Leather Biker Jacket, £3690

Just under triple the price of the Acne Studios one, this biker jacket is again a serious investment. You can tell just from the photo that the quality is second to none, and for that price you can be assured that it is going to last you throughout your entire life. £3690 is obviously an insanely high price point for the everyday person and it can seem ridiculous for someone to spend such an amount on one item when it could cover the cost of food, rent, bills etc for a significant period of time, but if you were considering this and had saved up the money for it and knew you weren't going to suffer if you bought it, I don't see why you shouldn't treat yourself! Consider the cost per wear sum once again... I definitely wore my first biker jacket approximately 200 days out of the year for three years, so if you divide £3690 by 600 the cost per wear is £6.15. Now imagine if I bought it today, wore it 150 days out of the year until I was around 65 (if not older!), then the cost per wear would come down to just 55p. I'm not suggesting this makes it any more affordable for me right now, but it makes a lot more sense to me to buy one leather jacket for a higher price point if it means I don't have to replace it every few years than it does to buy a cheap one which is going to last 3 years maximum considering how often I wear it and look pretty shoddy for half of that time due to wear and tear. 

TOP PLACES TO SHOP: Acne Studios, Tom Ford, Saint Laurent, Burberry


The whole topic of this post has been reinforcing the idea of investing in something classic which will see you through the various different seasons for years to come. Therefore, I would suggest that you should only invest a lot of money into something like a biker jacket, a bag or a pair of sunglasses if they are going to be completely inter-seasonal. Take the current floral trend, for example: of course, florals are usually a big trend in the spring in lighter colours and sometimes even in the autumn/winter with darker colours. However, the current trend of embroidered florals has been seen a lot on biker jackets, pinafore dresses, bags and denim recently. Yes, it does look nice, but are you going to wear it this time next year? Probably not. 

Gucci Hand-Painted Leather Biker Jacket, €8695

Erdem Frazey Floral-Embroidered Leather Biker Jacket, Black/Multi, £4117.23

Fair play to anyone who wants one and believes that they will wear it enough to justify the price, but for me this just wouldn't be a sound investment. Even the high street ones are a little too expensive for me as I know that although they are really nice and could be styled in a number of ways, I would wear it very rarely and I could spend my money on better things. 

Topshop Embroidered Leather Jacket, £295

Missguided Embroidered Leather Jacket, £50

New Look Embroidered Leather Jacket, £44.95

With regards to colour, I think that you can safely invest in a coloured jacket rather than a plain black one if it is the type of colour you can incorporate into your wardrobe well. If you don't wear black as much or already have a black jacket, a grey or nude one could work really well with the majority of colours within your wardrobe as they are so neutral. I also think that brown suede jackets look amazing in the summer with blue denim or white dresses and with leather trousers and dark denim in the winter. I would personally rather spend a significant amount of money on a black or grey jacket as I know I would wear it a lot, and there are so many good high street alternatives for coloured jackets. Whenever I go into Zara I am drawn to their amazing selection of coloured biker jackets and have seen so many people wearing amazing outfits with mustard, blush pink, baby blue and dark green ones, but never been convinced I would get the wear of it to buy one! Maybe if I see one in the sale I will be able to justify it, but as they are around €50 full price this is, again, a little too pricy if I am not confident I will wear it enough. 

Zara Suede-Effect Biker Jacket in Pink, £59.99

Zara Metallic Leather Effect Biker in Silver, £19.99

I am feeling extremely spendy after writing this and have had to close all of my tabs with the jackets on them to prevent me from spending all my rent/food/survival money! I am going to do my next post of the same theme about boots and when you should spend extra versus when you shouldn't!

Lauren Gibbins
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