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Going to Waist

June 02, 1988

You probably already know by now that you aren't truly a member of the ultra-hip unless you own a black leather jacket. And, it is precisely your jacket's allure as a status symbol that makes it so desirable to itchy-fingered thieves.

So . . . what to do when you're dancing in a club and your beloved jacket makes you work up more of a sweat than you counted on? Do you drape it across a chair? Nuh-uh, you zip it, snap it or buckle it around your waist. This way, you safeguard your precious leather--and make a fashion statement.

"We get in people, at least four, five a week, who've had their jackets stolen," says Robert Symms, co-owner of Tasty Leathers in Van Nuys. "I know one customer who's had four leather jackets ripped off just since Christmas. You just don't leave your leather jacket on a chair. It's like leaving a Rolex on a chair. A lot of people got smart. They wear them around their waist."

Marie Lafia, an art student at CalArts in Valencia--and a self-described "observer of culture and an involved participant in the deconstruction of systems," says the leather-jacket-around-the-waist-look "works now, because it kind of has the effect of a mini. I live next door to this skinny walker. He's kind of post-Ramones. He always wears that look every time he leaves his apartment. He even wears it to do the laundry."

Actor Clayton Rohner buckles his leather jacket around his waist when dancing at clubs. "Although," he confides, "if anybody tried to steal my jacket, I could really nail them on it--it's the most identifiable leather in town. It's so worn-out."

Blonde florist Carol Naff snaps her leather jacket around her waist when dancing up a storm. "Oh, you have to hang onto your leather," she attests. "Your leather is your best buddy."

Jay Bentley, a musician in the band "Bad Religion," sometimes zips his jacket around his waist, but he prefers not to. "It looks kind of goofy," he says. "And it's hard to sit down." He'd much rather carry his jacket, when not wearing it, despite the inconvenience. "I say if you own a leather jacket, carry the thing with pride," he snarls.

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