An impromptu shopping daytrip to Buffalo/Niagara Falls graciously led me to realize what I've been missing in my life - a waxed-cotton Belstaff jacket. More specifically, a Sammy Miller 1955 Replica jacket.
I've been after either a Barbour or Belstaff waxed-cotton motorcycle jacket for some time - ever since I saw the Long Way Down adventure series on the BBC. Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman were dressed like stars in their Belstaffs as they rode their BMW GSs from John O'Groats, Scotland, all the way down (get it?) to Capetown, South Africa.
I do like Barbour, and their quality jackets are anything but non-functional, but for me Belstaff is an equal in quality and functionality, and a level above Barbour on the fashion and style front. I would compare it to the difference between wearing a Tommy Hilfiger suit and a Hugo Boss suit. Both are fine suiting, but the elevated, proud, and confident feeling you get from wearing Hugo just can't be had from Tommy.
The Sammy Miller is heavy. And waxy. And very large-pockety. And initially stiff.
I've never had a jacket of this type before.
The jacket exterior always feels damp, thanks to the waterproof wax dressing that is applied, which is a strange sensation to become accustomed to.
My first ride with the jacket on was revealing. Summer has finally hit Toronto, and the heat is on. Wearing the Sammy Miller was a cooling experience. I am accustomed to wearing heavy leather motorcycle-specific jackets whenever I go out on a good ride, and even well ventilated leathers leave much to be desired in the summer swelter. It is nearly impossible to avoid a swampy back and sweaty belly.
The Belstaff allowed for cool, breezy ventilation and made me a believer in wearing a non-leather jacket for riding.
The Belstaff also helped in not making me feel like an outcast off of the bike. It is definitely not easy to wear motorcycle leathers without looking like you dressed for motorcycle riding. I could easily (and fashionably) wear the Sammy Miller to work or play.