Log in   Subscribe   

Monday, January 3, 2011

In the early ’80s, when I was growing up in Mahwah, N.J., my younger sister, Terri Berry, had a weekly dance class in New York City. My mother and I would spend the time at Bloomingdale’s. Week after week, I gazed longingly at a pale pink and gray leather motorcycle-style jacket. I don’t think I ever tried it on because it was chained to its rack. I was too shy to ask for it to be unchained. I was also too shy to ask my mother to buy it for me.

A couple of years later, my mother bought me a black leather Bloomie’s jacket that I still have. Even though the oversize, ’80s fit isn’t flattering, I can’t bear to get rid of what was such a prized possession.

Wearing my ’80s motorcycle jacket in 2009.

The black jacket didn’t cure me of my longing for colorful leather. After the light pink Bloomie’s jacket and before the black Bloomie’s jacket, there was an object of leather lust that I crave just as much now as I did in the ’80s: my friend Jim’s turquoise motorcycle jacket.  If I recall correctly, it was a Schott jacket. Bloomie’s just copied motorcycle style but Schott was the real thing.  (See below for update on the jacket details!) What could be better than that? Jim let me borrow it once. I begged him to let me keep it but he wasn’t crazy enough to agree to that. I clearly remembered a photo of me wearing that jacket and I’ve been hounding my father, GeorgeB, to scan it for me. He finally found the picture, and when I saw it I nearly passed out. While I had accurately recalled the turquoise jacket and the black-and-white checked leggings I was wearing with it, I didn’t remember that my hair outdid my ‘do here in ’80s-liciousness.  Brace yourselves!

The higher the hair, the closer to God.

I was wearing one of the oversize tops that were popular at the time. That particular one was a white sweatshirt with a black New York-related comic on it. I can’t remember what the comic was, but I thought it was highlarious. Note the collared black shirt underneath. Maybe I’ll luck out and find a photo of me in my favorite purple sweatshirt/red collared shirt combo. Stylin’! Also, as you can see, I wore heavy eye makeup and pale or no lipstick back then. My goal: eyelashes like Liza Minnelli’s. (Decades later, I was less thrilled to hear of a resemblance.)

Liza was famous for her lashes. And our hairstyles are rather similar, aren’t they?

Last summer, I saw Jim and our mutual friend Matt for the first time in 20 years.

Reunited in 2010 (from left): Jim, WendyB, Matt.

I had dinner with them before they went to … a Tears for Fears concert. It was literally like old times! Though I’m not sure I ever saw Tears for Fears with them back in the day, we did see Depeche Mode, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and — most notoriously — INXS. We three took the train into the city early for INXS because we wanted to do some shopping. While we browsed in Patricia Field‘s boutique, a tall guy with dark curly hair came in, accompanied by an impressively tall gal. “THAT’S MICHAEL HUTCHENCE!” Jim screamed quietly to me and Matt. “That’s not Michael Hutchence!” we scoffed. We teased him about it the rest of the day … until INXS took the stage and lead singer Hutchence appeared wearing the exact same clothes he was wearing when Jim spotted him in Pat Field’s. It was definitely days and possibly weeks before Jim spoke to us again.

Anyway, all of the above is my long-winded explanation of why I really want this jacket.

Pink Ladies + Thunderbirds = this jacket. $461 at Calista. Click to shop.

Or should I keep holding out for turquoise?

UPDATED TO ADD: I sent this post along to Jim and I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that he still has the jacket. But it is not by Schott after all. It is by Chess King! I think that’s even better because NOTHING is more ’80s than Chess King. I’m laughing out loud at the mere thought of Chess King. Fabulous. Naturally, I asked for a photo.

Jim’s 2011 photo of his 1980s jacket.

It’s a little worse for wear, Jim reports, but he understandably can’t bear to be parted from it. Too bad, because I still love it!

UPDATED AGAIN TO ADD: Jim is killing me. Just killing me. Look at what else he saved.

On July 31, 1984, Wendy and Matt were total bitches to Jim.

At this point, I’m expecting Matt to announce that he has the wine cooler bottles that we hid under a bench when we thought the po-po were coming.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


51 Responses to “Colorful Biker Jackets and ’80s Hair”

  1. mystyle says:

    Hi my dear- Just adore your 80s do, I had a style similar to that back in the day, but mine was more curly on top!! The turquoise jacket does look fab, hold out for the one you truly love xx

  2. Paulette W. says:

    I love 80s fashion so this post makes me happy. Your blue biker jacket is killer! :) Love it!

  3. Doriana Gray says:

    This post brought back so many memories of wanting an oversized white fringed suede jacket… and boots to match when I was about 19. Luckily I couldn´t afford them!

  4. Franca
    Twitter: apple_franca
    says:

    You are rocking that turquoise jacket, 80s hair or not!

  5. Rowena says:

    Haaaaiiiiiir!!! FAN-tastic

  6. Buy it! NOW.

    You look awesome in those photos, btw.

  7. Make Do Style
    Twitter: MakeDoStyle
    says:

    Brilliant. Can I just tell you that I dated Curt briefly but I wasn’t that in to him! And his now wife really was and got on my nerves so much I chucked him over so she could get her claws in! Honestly I so missed out on the rock chic lifestyle – I had them all chasing me! Back in the day,that is … and seriously the pink jacket would have sealed more deals than I care to think about!Think pink!

  8. raya says:

    I looove this biker leather jacket! and I so want one but I still haven’t found the perfect one:((
    happy new year!:)))

  9. K-Line says:

    The higher the hair, the closer to God?!?! Could there be a better saying?? And you are adorable – if strangely Liza-like. Whatevs, I love her.

    I say get the pink – it’s totally fabulous and the price is right. If a turquoise one eventually appears, you can buy it too :-)

  10. Someone says:

    I remember the pink-and-gray trend. It was actually one of the less ugly impulses of the 80s (though it is all still relative…).

    Although I look terrible in bubblegum pink, that jacket does look like fun for someone who is not me! However, I have a dark green leather moto jacket that I bought new in 1988 at Banana Republic. It is a really nice item except it has a foofy shape similar to your black one. I keep putting it back in the closet. :P

    So what is a sista to do? Is it even possible to have something like ours tailored into a better cut and have those damned shoulder pads removed? (Hmm…answering my own question…possibly take it to a furrier to get it restyled? It’s a thought!)

  11. Sally
    Twitter: sallymcgraw
    says:

    No way – don’t hold out for turquoise. You would ROCK that pink motorcycle jacket.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I wore a lot of pink and grey back in the day. Jumpsuits, leg warmers, Champion sweatshirts. But what I always craved was a pink leather jacket. Oh this one is just glorious. Thanks for sending me back 20 years. Smiles! xo!

  13. Emma at Daily Clothes Fix
    Twitter: dailyclothesfix
    says:

    I think you’d look amazing in a pink leather jacket but that turquoise one was amazing. Does Jim still have it? Maybe he’d let you have it now.

  14. Lara says:

    If it’s pink you’ve always wanted, I say go for it!
    I had bangs allllmost like that in the 80s. Got a perm and they put at least 5 curlers in my bangs alone! It was disastrous!

  15. stacy says:

    The higher the hair the closer to God! I’m rolling on the floor over that! Oh shoot… I just realized… am I closer to HELL?

    Hold out for the turquoise. Had I known, I wouldn’t have made my mom throw hers out a couple of years ago!

  16. Midtown Girl says:

    You are such a damn cutie! I adore the pink one but the turquoise is a knock-out!

  17. erindyan says:

    BEST “updated to add” this year.

  18. melissa
    Twitter: jeweldosedaily
    says:

    wow. INXS. Yes. …and now I’m definitely regretting cleaning out that drawer before moving into my apt.. ya know.. the ‘senseless’ ticket saving drawer! Nothing is senseless when you can blog about it for one lol, and more importantly, now I forget which bands I got to see back in the day (maybe I blame too many wine coolers!).

  19. stacy says:

    I think it’s just too hard for a guy to pull off turquoise leather. That sounds so funny… I could have stopped after turquoise.

  20. Kristin
    Twitter: BonBonRoseGirls
    says:

    1. I love the pink. 2. The original turquoise rocks and 3. I can’t believe he saved the stub! I’m so bad about stuff like that!

  21. Je says:

    I’m all for the Chess King jacket! Another classic 80s brand: International Male (oh lord). I especially enjoyed this nostalgia-filled post as I’m a teen of the 80s too… can you believe concert tix were under $20 back then?!?

  22. Lynn says:

    Get the pink one. It’s chic. Don’t wait!

  23. Eric says:

    I think I recognize the turquoise jacket. Were you at the OMD concert in ’85? :)

  24. Brie says:

    I have an oversized early 1990’s black motorcycle jacket from my punk rock days that I refuse to part with. I even bring it out and wear it from time to time when I am feeling nostalgic.

    I think part of the reason I hold on to it is because I fought long and hard for that jacket for 3 years and finally my mum gifted it to me on my 18th birthday.

    It had been worn to so many punk shows and concerts (PiL, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction three times, Fugazi, Primus, Alice In Chains, and so many more.)…to Dennys at 3 a.m. talking to friends over coffee numerous times…and almost everywhere 1990-1996. I doubt I will ever part with it.

    I say keep the pink in mind but keep an eye out for turquoise if that is your heart’s desire. :)

  25. Something about you in that photo makes me think “Desperately Seeking WendyB”! Ot maybe that is just my state of mind.

  26. Mish Dish says:

    Loving the turquoise biker jacket. Wishing you a very Happy New Year Wendy!
    XO Mish

  27. I had a black leather skinny biker jacket – more 70s punk than 80s Liza – but sadly I’ve no idea what happened to it. I did find myself trying one on in a second-hand shop last year but the ageing rocker look wasn’t working for me!

  28. WendyB
    Twitter: WendyBrandes
    says:

    MakeDo, by the time I got to your comment I was so focused on INXS that that’s why I was confused! No Curt in INXS!

  29. patni says:

    I have a motorcycle jacket in that exact pink! I have had it for years and wear it all the time. I got it in a thrift store but it was new, and has got better looking as i wear it more and more.
    dooooooooooo ittttttttttttt. just buy it. You can wear it with everything.

  30. Tina says:

    Wendy–
    you must get the pink!!!! It is awesome and rad! :)
    I have a black motocycle leather jacket from the late 80s. It was big and heavy –haven’t worn it in years but I did pull it out for Halloween!! Jim needs to give you the turquoise jacket. Speaking of 80s, I pulled a a bowler hat and fingerless lace gloves that I got from Contempo Casuals! Eeeeek!

  31. Elle says:

    Ah, I really love the photo of you from 2009! You look lovely. I’m not from the 80’s but I do love the leather jackets! I also loved the stories in this post, and also wanted to thank you for your feedback on my blog post! I really appreciate it.

  32. Oh Wendy – this post was a scream. I also ran around with two guy pals in 84-86, and we also went to a Tears for Fears concert. Chess King! Bahahahaha!

  33. diana says:

    love these kinds of jackets! they look so real and the leather is thick and amazing :D
    also love your look/hair in the first pic ;)
    :*
    have a great new year.

  34. Faux Fuchsia says:

    browsing the archives- this is one of my faves.

    Will you and Mr B be in Londy In May? round the time of the Chelsea flower show? let me know x