Many key features define this historic and stylish biker jacket. Out of all of them, no one element is any more recognizable than the next, as they each work together to create one cohesive look. The identifiable features of the Double Rider or Perfecto leather jacket are the epaulets, the belt, the asymmetrical zipper, its length, the coin flaps and zipper pockets, the chrome hardware, the sleeve zippers, and the signature leather material.
The epaulets - a decoration attached to the shoulders of a uniform - were inspired by military fashion and gave the jacket an authoritative vibe; they also function well as glove holders for bikers. For a short amount of time starting in the late 1940s, each epaulet was decorated with a chrome star. These chrome star decorations were discontinued shortly after, however, as people tended to rip them off the jackets in stores.
The belt's purpose was to close the waist of the jacket to protect its wearer from the wind. Initially, the belt came attached to the belt loops of the jacket; however, the attached belt was later removed with the release of the Perfecto 125. This was done to allow motorcycle cops to wear a gun holster with the jacket comfortably. Wealthy members of various motorcycle clubs also became fans of the Perfecto 125 due to the new ability to customize their belts.
Although each feature of the Double Rider or Perfecto biker jacket does work together to create one style, there is one feature that may be the most identifiable of them all. The jacket's asymmetrical zipper establishes the silhouette that everybody knows and loves. However, this design was more functional than it was aesthetic. The asymmetrical zipper allows optimal movement while riding a motorcycle, and it also helps better protect the rider from harsh winds.
The length of the Double Rider or Perfecto is another identifiable feature of this famous leather jacket. This jacket is shorter than you may be used to, but this style lined up with the style of men's clothing back in the day. When the leather jacket was first designed, men's pants were typically worn just above the waist, so the length of the Double Rider landed nicely at the top of most men's pants. The shorter length, compared to fashionable long coats of the era, also fit better with the needs of bikers.
The popular coin flaps and zipper pockets were not included in the original designs of the Double Rider or Perfecto leather jacket. Originally, Irving Schott tried various types enclosed pockets to protect the belongings of bikers who were on the go, but he eventually settled on coin flaps and zipper pockets. Schott was also the first clothing designer to put a zipper on a jacket, making him a pioneer of history in more than just one way.
The chrome hardware that adorns the jacket was a popular commodity following the invention of the automobile. By the time the 1920s came along, chrome was utilized in many different things, from appliances to furniture and everywhere in between. The fact that Schott included chrome hardware in this fashion only further popularized the material trend.
The zippers added to the sleeves of the Double Rider or Perfecto were another useful feature; although, the aesthetic appeal was a nice bonus, as well. The zippers helped bikers adjust the tightness around the wrist, which helped add more wind protection. Bikers adopted a favorite style from cowboys by zipping the wrists of the jacket and slipping them underneath their gloves.
Finally, one of the most essential features of the Double Rider or Perfecto is the material itself. Although Schott was not the first to make a leather jacket, he was the first to invent the leather biker jacket. The history of the leather jacket traces back about a decade to German fighter pilots in World War I, worn as a protective outer layer and part of their military uniform. Irving Schott's leather jacket was inspired by the functional bomber silhouette of the German military uniform.