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|Leather no longer the tough choice "That s kind of the point," said Sherry Darnell, the girlfriend in question. "Everybody who knows me thinks I m so prim and proper. I get tired of that image. I do have a wilder side." Radnor and Darnell were shopping together before the holidays so she could point out some specific styles. Radnor spotted a leather trench coat, and dropped a few hints of his own. Over the years, leather has had many images, but often has played an ironically dual role: badge of rebellion at one end of the spectrum, status symbol at the other. Lately, those images are merging. Big name fashion designers among them Claude Montana, Donna Karan and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel have successfully usurped leather s bad boy image for high ticket items. Consider Karan ugg boots best price s version of the motorcycle jacket, which sold out of department stores this fall, retailing for more than $700. Made of buttery soft leather and cut long enough to cover the hips, this jacket s primary resemblance to the real thing is its UGG Australia Women Bailey Button Boots 5803 Black Chestnut Chocolate Grey zipper detailing. Purveyors of honest to goodness motorcycle styles point out that bikers need a sturdier leather when riding their Harleys; it helps cut the wind and can also help protect the body in an accident. The jacket is cropped at the waist to make sitting on the bike easier and more comfortable. All of which, of course, means nothing to fashion designers or their customers, who are more interested in aesthetics than practicality. Likewise, Chanel s version of the classic bomber originally made for aviators and other rough and rugged types is of quilted leather in its softest state. It features the signature double C gold buttons and is trimmed inside with Chanel s distinctive gold chains. It sells for $3,880. The typical leather customer is a professional person, according to Kathy Handy, who manages the Wilson store in Dearborn, Mich. "These days, people look at leather more as a fashion statement, whereas it used to be more associated with rough people." "The thing I like about my leather trench is how versatile it is," says James Woody, a computer analyst. "I own three leather jackets, but this coat is the best, because I can wear it over my suits to work and over jeans on the weekend." In fact, the classic trench is a best seller among yuppie types. Men, by and large, still prefer leather in basic colors of black or brown, and usually won t veer far from the jacket or coat (though more men, especially young men, are buying leather pants, retailers say). But as leather becomes more acceptable at the office, they are also buying "specialty" styles, trimmed in fur or featuring ugg sale women decorative detailing.
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