The original black leather motorcycle jacket made famous in movies such as The Wild One was designed by Charles Schott of New York City in 1928. Named for his favorite cigar, the Perfecto became the black leather jacket of legend. You can still buy a Perfecto directly from Schott NYC.
Probably the most highly regarded manufacturer of motorcycle leathers is Vanson Leathers. In addition to the CHiPs jacket with gun pocket, they make many leather jackets in different colors. Some jackets are ventilated and others are available in horsehide. They also have full racing leathers. Most racing organizations require one-piece leathers.
I know that if I won the lottery, I would rush right out and buy myself a Schott Perfecto and a Vanson CHiPs jacket. But if your bank account looks like mine does, shop around. Schott and Vanson command a healthy price and there are many perfectly good leather jackets that are more affordable and have more modern features.
One feature I strongly recommend from personal experience is body armor in the elbows, shoulders, spine and chest.
In warmer climates, a thin, naked-cowhide jacket may be more to your liking, and a thin, leather jacket is better than no jacket at all. The zippered and belted, naked-cowhide jacket such as the Perfecto is the oldest and most popular style, made famous by Marlon Brando and James Dean. But Schott NYC is not the only company offering naked-cowhide jackets. Shop around.
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