Why The Leather Jacket Has Stuck Around

04/11/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Since the early 1980s, when American men first truly embraced the leather jacket as the antihero's anti-sport coat, a new one has risen from the tomb of rebels past every six or seven years. In the 1980s, there was the '40s-style WWII bomber (very Indiana Jones), then, in the late 1980s, the '50s-style motorcycle jacket (very Mad Max). In the 1990s, the '70s hip-length jacket (very John Shaft) had a moment, followed by the 1960s-style streamlined "cafe racer" that would shout Steve McQueen if McQueen ever shouted.

Along the way, there were other influences: the zipper-rich style worn by Michael Jackson (circa "Thriller") and the wild stitching, coloring and padding that the motocross world brought in.

Now the answer seems to be (e) all of the above. Mirroring the creative liberties that denim makers have taken in recent years, lines like D&G, Dsquared, Diesel and Neil Barrett have been merging many elements -- the ribbed waist of a bomber, the lean body of a cafe racer, epaulets from Marlon Brando's "Wild One" jacket, zippers -- into a new style that is as stylish as it is un-iconic.

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