My Leather Lifestyle

rp_Grillin.jpgI received an email recently from someone who said that he had reviewed the various leather gear on my website and said that he wanted to adopt a regular habit of wearing leather more often. He asked me some more questions about how to go about wearing leather without unnecessarily causing anxiety among his family and friends.

I responded to him to state how I feel these days about leather, so I thought I would update my readers about my current choices on wearing leather garments.

First, a bit of place-setting…

I am in my late 50s. Been around the block once or twice. I have lived in the same community of suburban Maryland for my entire life (sans 6 months/year during my first 10 years when I lived in Oklahoma with family while my father was working in Europe.)

SpousesJan201505I am a masculine gay man and am married to the best guy on the planet (IMHO). My man is much like me — quiet, stable, and financially secure.

In the distant past (during the first few years after we met in 1993), we occasionally put on fetish leather gear and attended gay leather events, such as Mid-Atlantic Leather, International Mr. Leather (once), local “MC” club bar nights and meetings, and leather bars. Again, our “going out on the scene” was long ago and far away from how we are now where both of us have lost interest in these activities. We are both much happier remaining at home and enjoying each others’ company. Plus, my spouse really detests social interaction, even more now than before (though he’s always been an anti-social recluse.)

RideLeaderContinuing the scene-setting: I have been riding a motorcycle since 1977, and have acquired a lot of motorcycle leather gear (jackets, chaps, breeches, vests, and boots) during my years of riding a motorcycle.

I have made such an investment in leather over the years and I have always felt that I should continue to use and wear my leather gear regularly even when not riding my motorcycle and as I go about my daily life.

What does “wear leather gear regularly” mean? (to me)

Good question. First of all, I am still working full time in a professional office job. I do not wear leather pants or shirts in my office, but I can — and do — wear leather TO the office. That is, I usually wear a leather jacket, and on days when I ride the Harley as my commuting vehicle, I also wear leather chaps, gloves, and occasionally a leather vest (depending on the air temperature.)

Rideworkblog3IN the office, besides the boots on my feet, I occasionally wear a dress leather tie, and on casual Fridays, perhaps a leather vest. But that is about the extend of the leather-wearing in the office.

That leaves the “more full” leather-wearing for my off-time. When I get home from work and change from my dressy work clothes to more casual wear, especially when it is cool/cold outside, I often pull on a pair of regular leather jeans. I may — or may not — choose to wear a leather shirt and maybe a vest.

Harleyharnesslug06Often on weekends I wear leather jeans with a flannel or casual western shirt. It is not uncommon that I will wear leather jeans in public as I escort LOLITS grocery shopping, visit family, take the spouse on errands, drop in at the local fire house, or attend community meetings. I may not always be on my Harley when I go about my personal business, especially if I am transporting others.

Also since I am “follically challenged,” I wear a hat when outdoors to avoid sunburn on the scalp or loosing heat from the head. Why kind of hat? Usually a ball cap — not the Leatherman’s traditional Muir Cap. Occasionally when going western, I may wear a traditional cowboy hat since I own so many owning to my Oklahoma cowboy roots.

How is wearing leather in public viewed?

rp_Seattleme10212011.jpgNada. Nothing. No one in years has said anything to me or within earshot of me about my choice to wear leather clothing. Everyone I know has seen me wearing leather garments for so long that no one thinks or says a thing about it. I must point out that the leather that I wear is non-suggestive and non-controversial. I do not wear “sex-suggestive” leatherwear such as codpiece jeans in public. In my younger days, I may have worn codpiece jeans to a gay men’s leather event and may have worn those codpiece jeans in public, but only incidentally to going to and from the venue.

I like your leather lifestyle. How can I adopt it for myself, especially if I don’t ride a motorcycle?

I have heard this question often, especially when there are worries about not wanting to alienate friends and family.

I recommend being deliberate and gradual when choosing to wear leather garments more often. A radical change in image can be confusing and perhaps offensive to people who have known you and are accustomed to seeing you in clothing and appearance consistent with societal expectations. If you start wearing full leather from Muir cap on the head to tall boots on the feet all the time, the sudden change may be too dramatic for family and friends to accept.

JeansStart slowly by finding a well-fitted pair of leather jeans and a nice pair of black boots. Wear the jeans over the boots (like you would wear denim jeans). I would avoid wearing a Sam Browne belt over a leather shirt and a Muir Cap in public among your friends unless you’re going to a nightspot where people dress for a particular activity such as having a beer with the guys, dancing, or attending a show or concert where such attire would fit in (not necessarily the opera, but more like a rock concert).

RelaxedContinue to interact with family and friends as usual. Walk proudly and confidently. Be prepared, if asked why you are wearing leather to explain that you like its look and feel. Win over support by asking, “don’t these jeans look cool?” Few people will respond negatively to this question asked with enthusiasm and a smile.

Just be yourself. If your friends and family are like mine, they will realize that just because you are wearing leather more often, you have not changed as the person you are. They will eventually get used to it and not say anything.

After a while, you can introduce more leather, such as a leather shirt, vest, or even breeches with boots over them — but perhaps not all leather all at once. Mix it up with a combination. Eventually, on occasion when you feel like it, you can go out in full casual leather or even the utmost for a true Leatherman, in full BLUF attire.

The “more casual” choices of wearing leather jeans with a mix-up of other leather gear on occasion is what I do, even as “leathery” as I am known to be. I wear leather regularly, but not full leather all day every day everywhere. A leather shirt with denim jeans; leather jeans with a flannel shirt or t-shirt; leather tie with a dress shirt and slacks; leather jeans, leather vest, and a cotton twill shirt. Most weeknights, most weekends.

rp_Timberland15.jpgNote: when I am doing home remodeling and construction projects, I wear work-wear — jeans, work boots and work shirts. I may enjoy leather, but I also truly believe in “the right gear for the right occasion.”

Life is short: wear leather more than once a year for a fashion show.

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