Cafe Racing in the Acne Studios Oliver Leather Jacket

In New York, you wear a biker jacket to grab the morning coffee. You wear a biker jacket to meet a friend for dinner. You probably even wore a biker jacket to work—if you happen to work in Brooklyn.

The leather biker is part urban armor; part conspicuous display of disposable income. It’s a convenient coverall that renders whatever else you’re wearing irrelevant. You’ll always look pretty good in one.

There’s no newsflash here: they’re an investment. However, you can actually wear a biker jacket everyday. To paraphrase Henry Ford: pick any color you like as long as it’s black.

The Swedes may have been the first to appreciate this phenomenon—Stockholm street style often reflects the Bowery. It’s no surprise that Acne Studios makes one of the best bikers out there.

The Details

The Oliver is a “café racer” style jacket in motorcycle parlance, with a center zip and standing tab collar. The jacket is a streamlined cousin of the asymmetrical zipped and collared Perfecto style.

The three zippered pockets are angled, which stays authentic to biker roots, intended for easy access when leaning forward on the handlebars.

The Oliver’s padded shoulders are strong and keep shape during wear. At the elbows, quilted panels complete the authentic, crash-proof look.

The adjustable side tabs feature thick, stitched leather and heavy nickel hardware. Acne Studios didn’t cut corners—many manufacturers use plated, lightweight D-rings.

The viscose lining is excellent for slipping on over tee shirts and sweaters alike. There’s no friction; cotton lined leather is a real hassle.

All of the proportions are working in harmony. Acne did a good job of not overdoing it or making a pure fashion piece.

The Fit

Acne Studios uses European sizing, so I opted for a 46 or 36 US, to size down from my traditional measurement of a 38. The jacket is very slim in the chest out of the gate.

The black, pebbled calfskin is buttery and luxurious, but doesn’t stretch or give like I had intended when sizing down. There’s a bit of restriction when wearing this piece.

The shoulders are rounded and stand up on their own. There’s a pleasant feeling of heft to the garment. It also means you better use a nice hanger, or else.

The sleeve length is perfect, hitting at the watchband. I measure a 34” sleeve; it’s great to have extra length in the arm.

The jacket is at rider length, hitting slightly below the belt at 5’8”. Thankfully, they haven’t made the jacket too long, which is a common occurrence off the rack.

The sleeve holes are high to preserve a slim fit, but can pinch and encourage sweating during long wears. There is no venting under the arm, which would be a welcomed improvement.

The Wear

Two years into the wear, the leather has required only a lick of mink oil and still gleams. As I mentioned earlier, some discoloration under the arm has occurred from perspiration. Luckily, that’s hidden.

I receive plenty of compliments in the jacket; it’s tough looking with hardware and reinforcements for days, but the black leather Acne chose is pure luxury.

The Oliver is a recurring piece for Acne Studios. Mine features suede panels, which due to my tendency to lean on dirty café tables, have become stained and matted. Sadly, no suede brush has been able to return the proper nap.

The latest Oliver run has chevron ribbed shoulders and suede has been replaced for an all-calf construction. These angled seams will prove off-putting to classicists as a departure from traditional stitching.

In my experience, you’ll have to baby this jacket to avoid creasing. It needs to be hung properly and rested; you can’t toss it over the back of a chair for too long.

At $1650, the Oliver comes in at the lower range of designer leather jackets. The leather quality is what you’d expect from Gucci or Saint Laurent; you’re getting a deal on fine materials without negotiating on quality design.