The Fringe Jacket Ascends

Suede Fringe Jacket: Lady Scully (Vintage) | Black Vest: Elizabeth & James (Consignment) | White Tee: The Row (Consignment) | Scarf: Vintage (Found in a Paris Boutique) | Pants: Madewell | WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie (Bird) | Chelsea Boots: Melograno (Secondhand)

My mom bought this fringe jacket from an equestrian supply store in Davie, Florida in the late 1970s. In 2001, she offered the jacket to me as a gift. I took one look at the out-of-date fringe — and politely declined.

Thirteen years later, fringe has orbited back into fashion’s solar system. I called my mom frantically, begging her to send me the jacket in the mail. (It took some convincing, and I had to pinky-swear I would return the jacket by Christmas.)

Suede Fringe Jacket: Lady Scully (Vintage) | Black Vest: Elizabeth & James (Consignment) | White Tee: The Row (Consignment) | Scarf: Vintage (Found in a Paris Boutique) | Pants: Madewell | WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie (Bird) | Chelsea Boots: Melograno (Secondhand)
Suede Fringe Jacket: Lady Scully (Vintage) | Black Vest: Elizabeth & James (Consignment) | White Tee: The Row (Consignment) | Scarf: Vintage (Found in a Paris Boutique) | Pants: Madewell | WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie (Bird) | Chelsea Boots: Melograno (Secondhand)

These jackets straddle two very different style sensibilities: the Wild West and Woodstock.

Recently, festival-going gals fresh from the muddy banks of Glastonbury have gravitated toward fringe for its hippie aesthetics. (Check out Florence Welch’s version here — it’s fabulous.)

The Western version skews a little more John Wayne than John Lennon. (In my favorite iteration, the fringe jacket was a symbol of cowboy-esque power and heritage in my favorite childhood film, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.)

Part cowgirl, part Woodstock.
Part cowgirl, part Woodstock.

But if you get into the nitty gritty, the difference between the two styles is minimal at best. A fringe jackets’s beauty is in its versatility. Your accessories dictate the direction your outfit will take. I veered toward the festival style with a neutral outfit and a Keith Richards scarf.

These jackets cycle in and out of style. The most recent resurgence was in the 90s during Seinfeld’ run. Elaine Benes wore deliciously 90s-esque shoulder-padded Ralph Lauren version.

Because of this trend’s volatility, I would not recommend buying an expensive version. (And do not succumb to the hysteria: The Kate Moss for Topshop version is sold out everywhere, with prices soaring above $500 on eBay.) Instead, try your hand at the versions on Etsy, which average $150.

Or you can do what I did — and score a loaner from your mom.

On the fringes of Hoboken. (Sorry for the bad joke.)

  • Tobias Zimmermann

    Thanks for the very interesting review about fringe leather jackets. Beside the fashion questions there is just one thing to add: it is really fun to wear a fringe leather jacket. It always makes you feel a littlebit different from the crowd. I enjoy wearing fringe leather jackets and shirts since many years. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48464975@N06/