By Cory David, Mr. Eagle Wilton Manors 2020/2021
Do you feel a calling to explore your leather self? Where do you start? What is the leather protocol, old guard, new guard? Where do you fit in? Here is what I believe: you fit in anywhere you want to.
Your style is yours. There are no laws in leather style, but there are traditions. I personally love Old Guard style traditions, Tom of Finland, military royal gear, a sexy biker with a little English Hunter/Jumper. Now that’s my personal perfect look, a mixed style of looks. I don’t believe in stereotypes or square boxes. My walls all fell down years ago.
So now what? Make it yours! Start with a modest piece to explore and feel out your leather intrigue. A leather vest is a must investment. As leather apparel goes, a vest is a modest cost with several levels of versatility making it a great piece to start with. At its most basic, it goes well with just jeans and t-shirt, or no shirt, but also compliments a regular or a leather shirt, as well as leather pants, chaps, or leather shorts.
If your love for leather is present, no matter how you identify, the vest may also be the most important piece in your wardrobe when “vested” in your leather self. It is known to showcase title patches including clubs, organizations, groups, biker emblems, community pins, and more. It can express your personal position in the leather community and showcase your pride when attending events. Collect vest pins and share your community efforts of your cause, love, and pride.
Leather items can have multiple uses with just a few accessories, such as leather suspenders always have a look for you. I LOVE mine, which transforms into a backpack harness. For bar nights, a harness is also a good start. If you decide to take your shirt off dancing, a harness is a good way to accessorize yourself. A must is a pair of black leather biker boots, a classic belt, and a wallet chain. These are a staple and always go well with any other leather pieces. When exploring, bring someone that has some knowledge to help you, ask to speak to a leather adviser, or consult your local leather craftsman.
Now, as I plan for the International Mr. Leather (IML) Title run, our local, talented craftsman Lanz Adams truly knows my vision. He is here to make my leather mine and, just as passionately, to make your leather YOURS! His craft makes you feel leather the way leather should. If you pick the right fit, it makes you feel sexy and confident with your amazing leather armor of strength. Remember, there is no right, no wrong, there is just yes-it-does, and it-really-does!
Before this path into my leatherman life, my influence, with military style royal embellishments, was Michael Jackson. His collaborations with designer Micheal Bush tapped into my House of Stewart Scottish family heritage and likely where my early leather influence began. Then, also being 33% Finnish, it was destiny for me. I believe the desire for leather and its influences can begin anywhere, so be whatever you feel powerful in.
Another new innovative accessory gear item to individualize your own personal look is chainmaille and scalemaille. It has become very popular over the past few years with New and Old Guard alike. I have several pieces, armbands, cuffs, and a thick necklace that is made in the colors of the Leather Pride Flag. I have explored some more pieces with craftsman Marquie Kloppenburg, of Marquie Originals that can be found at the Eagle Wilton Manors Leather Store, Marquie is normally found in house for your questions or custom fittings. Marquie and Lanz may be collaborating on a piece or two for my run at International Mr. Leather in Chicago, Novemeber later this year
The evolution of the leather community embraces, empowers, and always LOVES. Let’s erase what makes us different and celebrate what makes us the same.