Monday, February 6, 2012

the leather jacket

We all have our addictions--the things that we can count on to make us feel high.

On day 35 of no booze or sugar, I have become very aware at how I use these things to cope with stress. No matter how many amazing-yet-nutritious meals I eat, or hours of running/yoga/orgasms I log, or cups of chamomile tea I drink, nothing really gives me that respite from a bad week, bad day, or bad mood like a gin and tonic or a bowl of pistachio ice cream. Granted, a life that feels more even-keeled, less peaks and valleys and steadier flow of moderate serotonin is nothing to sneeze at, this I will admit.

This was rougher week than usual, of which the details are mine to keep but I can say financial issues were at play. On this particular Sunday, I stumbled onto a high that I hadn't felt in a long time, at least not with such pleasure and intensity. You can't plan a high like this. Despite my opener, I should let you know now, this piece is not about addiction, it's simply about a leather jacket.

Being broke and drug-less is not optimal for wandering into a Nordstroms Rack, to be sure. I was there to make a return, smartly swapping out a pair of cheetah print heels for another pair one third of the cost. Not nearly as darling, but I was only planning on wearing them once, to a prom-themed event. I'd already purchased a gorgeous blue satin prom dress (for $23) earlier in the week. A fancy shrug would surely complete the look, if I could find one for the right price. This is how I found myself where I did, in the coat section, feeling up the faux-fur, and in prime position for the leather jacket to catch my eye.

A rack beyond me, someone had pressed the jackets open, to better to examine this gem. It was unzipped so I could see it's label: Miss Sixty, an Italian brand that I have very positive connotations with. I first discovered this brand in Canada, on Vancouver's famous Robson Street, where I purchased the most money I've ever spent on a single item of clothing--a slim-fitting yet incredibly toasty olive-colored down jacket, that I continue to wear every winter. In 8 years, it is still in excellent condition and as flattering and stylish as it was the day I bought it. No regrets there. Another of my favorite winter coats, is an essential black wool pea coat, with a heavenly nipped waist, and generous hood. I was lucky enough to find this Miss Sixty jacket, never worn, for $40 at a local Goodwill. I feel a surge of gratitude every time I put it on. In terms of outerwear, this company has taken very good care of me, and this is why, when I spied the red and white label, I set my tea down on the clothing rounder and approached the central object of my story.

Everyone should have a black leather jacket, this must be written somewhere in the fashion bible. I only recently acquired one from a vintage store for $10. The lining is shredded, it is badly faded in some areas, and it smells slightly of unidentifiable mammal urine, but the fit is great. Also it's the perfect mix of tough and feminine (this is the Ultimate goal of the leather jacket.) I've been perfectly happy with it so far. This is why I wasn't actually in the market for what I found.

My discovery transcended "the market." It didn't matter why I was there or how much money I had at the time, I'd already seen what some people never discover: the perfect BLJ.

Can you recall a time, when a piece of clothing had everything right: the fit, the color, the detail and materials? You are somewhat in disbelief as you comb over it, looking for its fault, but there isn't one so your disbelief morphs to gratitude, and awe. It is so right, it feels like a miracle. Maybe I should name my jacket Baby Jesus.


During my disbelief-to-awe transition, I took this photo. I did not have the money for the jacket, so I was trying to just appreciate what it was, and resist the urge to make it my own. When I put the phone down, though, I had a thought. It was a somewhat nasty thought, as it goes against my financial principles. In order to take the jacket home to be forever mine and mine alone, I could see about extending the credit limit on my Nordstroms card. I only have this one credit card, and have only had it for 18 months. I've done a very good job at keeping my debt to credit ratio in the recommended 30%, until our trip to New York...and then the holidays. Since then I've been teetering at maximization. I'm such a sucker. They had me right where they wanted me. The sales girl offered to dial them up right then and there for me. Next thing I know I am holding the phone, telling them my story. They placed me on hold for 15 seconds, and then, just like that, my credit limit was doubled.

I actually winced...then sheepishly handed the phone back, nodded at the woman to ring it up. The deed was done.

Unlike the more common shopping high, this did not leave me crashing later with regret. In the non-dressing room light, the pleasure remained steady, and I got surges again and again, like when I fingered the impeccable Italian stitching, zipped and unzipped the metal-zippered pockets, and when I pulled the hood up over my head (yes, it has a hood! I TOLD it was perfect!!) I am not ashamed to admit that I slept with my jacket last night, folded up near my pillow where I could smell the delicious fresh leather scent and stroke the velvety calfskin. (So, to be clear, I didn't actually sleep with it ON; I'm not a sicko.)

Behold, Baby Jesus...

The other photos I have so far of my jacket are not appropriate for the internet. They were taken by my husband, who really, really, really likes the jacket, too. When explaining what I had to do to get it, he didn't hesitate a moment with his support. "You can't pass up the perfect leather jacket. That is a take care of it later situation." All afternoon he shared in my gushing and celebrating, hence the private photo session. Admittedly, he has a touch of BLJ envy. I have assured him of my efforts to help him in his quest now (even if it means using that credit card with my fresh new limit.)

Day 36, otherwise known as the morning after, I continue to shun sugar, take my run in the sunshine, fantasize about wine with dinner, and cope with the ups and downs as best I can with the tools I have. But today I have something to make me feel just a touch more capable, more centered, more joyous. Look out for us. Just me and my leather jacket, riding high. We can do anything together.


  1. You better send me your other leather jacket!!! You know the one I'm talking about!!!

  2. Ha ha! Oh, how I can relate to this! Yay, for the perfect BLJ!


  3. I think you rewarded yourself appropriately for all your hard work stearing clear of booze and sugar. They say to never reward yourself with food. So you did the right thing. You rewarded yourself with something that will last for years. You could even be buried in it if you wanted. The beauty is it will forever have that glorious smell...Shoot, next reward...get some boots. Gotta love leather.