As Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out this week, it’s only fitting that we discuss the best jacket this side of Bespin.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (obligatory) Han Solo wore an awesomely iconic jacket that was as ready for action as it was for defining him as the roguish hero that all boys of the 80s wanted to be. Despite the standard black-vest-white-shirt combo being the look that most easily comes to mind, it was Han’s navy blue, four-flap-pocketed, sporty number from The Empire Strikes Back that we all wanted as much as a trusty blaster, Wookie best friend, and hunk of junk ship that’s still got some surprises.
Han’s jacket, worn for the duration of Empire, save for his controversial Hoth parka, and then removed pre-carbonite freezing, always stood out as the best of heroic style of the 1980s (second and third place go to Indiana Jones and Marty McFly, respectively). Han rocks this piece with cavalier-ease as he navigates asteroid fields, blasts mynocks, and suffers through a strange, box-of-scraps torture machine.
Sadly, unlike other iconic movie outfits, this one was designed specifically for a galaxy far, far away, and although replicas can be acquired, it’s not easy rocking what is effectively a costume piece.
That’s not to say there aren’t earthly alternatives for the grounded space-pirate. After all, the “universal” style of Star Wars, the brainchild of costume designer John Mollo, was intended to be a blend of classic American, casual-active wear, and mythical heroism. So smugglers, here are my recommendations, three pieces that likely helped inspire Han’s Bespin jacket:
Harrington Jacket. This would be my top recommendation, although comparatively lacking in flap-pockets, it already has a parallel history of action association, being adorned by anyone from Steve McQueen to Daniel
Craig in Quantum of Solace. It has the square shoulders, cropped collar, and hits at the waist.
Moto Jacket. A close, CLOSE second to the Harrington. The Moto-Jacket, if found in cotton, (or anything not leather) is more rugged and ready than that comparatively conservative Harrington, and chances are, has the pockets that the former lacks. The challenge is in the material though, as being that functionally, leather is better if you’re using it for what it was made for, it is a challenge to find it in other materials. And leather gets more into Luke at the end of A New Hope territory.
Trucker Jacket. Distant third. This is basically your standard Levi’s denim jacket. Design wise, it has the pockets, but little else. That said, the classic Levi’s jean jacket has always represented a similar spirit of rugged heroism.