I arrived in Paris and they were hard not to notice. Almost as ubiquitous as croissants and corner side bakeries. black leather jackets dotted the urban landscape as far as the eye could see.
American Ella loves the color pink. She loves patterns, flowy clothing, embroidery and floral. She is the antithesis of everything that a black leather jacket stands for. Which is exactly why Parisian Ella felt compelled to buy one.
I walked out of Zara with a spring in my step, my head held high, imagining the life that this jacket and I would have together. I had already mastered the art of not smiling at people on the metro; with the black leather jacket, my Parisian prowess would truly be limitless. It was not, however, until about a week after my purchase that I came to fully understand what it meant to wear such a timeless piece.
My friends and I were scheduled to fly back to Paris from Barcelona last Sunday night. Ryanair had other plans. One cancelled flight and lots of confusion later, I was left to take a flight early the next morning, sans-amies. It’s worth mentioning that I speak not a word of Spanish. Tired, hungry and with no sense of direction to speak of, I had every reason to be nervous as I left my hotel room at the crack of dawn to attempt to navigate el Pratt as a solo traveler.
Out of clothing, I wore the same t-shirt I had slept in the night before. Over top- you guessed it- my new friend, the black leather jacket. And I swear to you, the moment the supple fabric reached my shoulders I felt better: composed and ready to take on the travels ahead of me.
Perhaps it’s materialistic to attribute strengths of character to an article of clothing. But I keep revisiting Coco Chanel’s quote about the power of the color black: “I imposed black. It is still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around.”
… And I can’t help but think that the French are onto something.
Texte Ella Damstra, Johns Hopkins et image internet