After my recent latex 101 article (which seems to be popular!) I thought I’d now do a “coming out shiny” article off the back of it as there are a lot of people out there who really really want to wear shiny clothing, be it leather, latex, PVC, but they’re absolutely terrified of what their friends and family might think.
Let’s get started with my story…
I was rather young when I first got leather trousers. I’d started working, got my own income, and even though I had wanted some all through my childhood my parents, rather wisely, had told me no. I look back now and agree with them – I was growing very fast and leather is expensive.
It all started at Laser Quest. A guy came in (looking rather cool for the time in full leather, bandana, cowboy boots). He was with a female who I thought might be his girlfriend and he certainly acted straight – being pretty much straight myself I felt a little lift!
My only previous experiences with leather, and trousers in particular, had been associated with gay culture and gay imagery; motorbikes; and rock bands. Yes I’d had a bike, but a 50cc FS1E might look a bit silly being straddled by a fully leathered up dude, and at that point my bass playing was strictly bedroom only.
My first bike was one of these.
This guy, though (I even remember his name was Marc) was a different look for me and I liked it. I felt slightly jealous of his confidence as at that time I was quite meek and quiet.
I plucked up courage, went and spoke to him, said “nice trousers, where from?” and I’m not sure whether he thought I was a bit weird or not, but he told me they were from Meadowhall – Street Leathers to be precise.
It was 6pm… Meadowhall closed at 8… I could get down there and get some and be like Marc in less than two hours!
So it happened. I went down to Meadowhall, paid a ridiculously high price for a pair of very average quality leather jeans; went home; and hid them in the wardrobe. Only to wear them when I was in the house on my own.
Confidence boost gone. Drat!
The first time I wore them was…
In 1996 I started a degree with the Open University. The first course (S101) had a summer school which was a week at Keele University.
I was learning bass and getting much better at it, I was wanting to join bands, but my image really didn’t say “Musician”. I looked a bit geeky!
I went away to summer school with a bit of stubble and blue jeans on, arrived at summer school, and the first evening after lectures I changed my image. I shaved my first goatee beard, put on the leather trousers that had been hiding in the wardrobe, gelled up my flat hair into some cool spikes, and gave myself an image makeover!
That night I went to the Union bar with my new image and it felt great. Nobody really knew me. Nobody really knew what I was about, and I could play at being whoever I wanted.
Do you know what happened?
Nothing. Nobody commented. Nobody said a thing. Nobody pointed and laughed.
And that, my friends, is the biggest step to going out in leather for the first time.
They’re not out there, they aren’t weird, and when you are seen for the first time in your new leather jeans nobody will actually care!
I thought I’d have people making village people jokes but nope. I didn’t end up running back to the room crying. I just sat in the union bar, talked with my fellow science group, and nobody said a thing about them.
Breaking them in to friends
Family and friends are the next big hurdle.
My next step was more distant friends (my prog rock music community).
I went to see a band in Bury. Traveled in blue jeans, changed in the car into leather jeans, went to see the band. Again… Nobody noticed. Nobody cared. My apprehension was going very rapidly.
So… On to closer friends. One of my biggest worries.
It was Christmas. We used to go down Swinton for a drink just before Christmas. I’ve never really done the alcohol thing though! I did it again. Headed out, changed trousers in the car, and looked rather nice in my fluffy sweater, leather jeans, black leather boots. When my friends saw me nobody mentioned the trousers… Until later 😲
We went to one of their houses after. One of the group, Mark, commented on my leather jeans – saying if he’d have known I was going to wear mine he’d have worn his! (Ironically, the year after he did wear his but I didn’t wear mine!).
All in all, positive responses all round and every single anxiety I had defused.
I also wore them to meet friends in Cornwall in the 90’s. It’s the first photo I have of me in them. I look very very different!
This was the most difficult of the lot for me, and it did involve a white lie… But it did coincide with me joining bands.
Rather than saying I’d bought them from Meadowhall a couple of years previous I said I’d only bought them there and then. They were to be stage wear, but actually, they ended up being regular wardrobe clothing.
First time my mum saw me in them she said “cool” and then bought some herself. She even wore them to one of my gigs!
Me with Deadline (2000).
My mum rocking her leather trousers (2000)
Since then leather has become more and more a part of my wardrobe.
I’m now doing the same process with latex. I’m at the stage of close friends with that… Let’s see how that goes eh? After all latex is a bit more “out there”
Latex jeans to a wedding