Calfskin Smack

I have a heavy leather jacket, which I bought some years ago for a trip to France. [] It was October, so I wanted to be warm but stylish. Can’t go round looking like a bloody tourist. In the event, there was a freak heatwave (up to 28 degrees) for all but the last two days and the jacket didn’t see much use on that trip, but it’s served me well ever since.

It’s got a faux-fur collar and a double zip system. In fact, it’s absolutely identical to one that Porsche are selling, apart from two things: it doesn’t have “Porsche” on the zip tags; and it cost literally one tenth of what they’re charging. []

Anyway, after a number of years of wear it was becoming grubby, particularly the lining. Normally, you’d first think of dry cleaning for something like a leather jacket, but it was old, and didn’t cost much in the first place. I wondered if you could wash it at home.

Like every normal person today, I searched the internet for an answer. What I found was basically two answers. One was that, no, you should never home-wash leather, because you will spoil it irrevocably. And the other, naturally enough, was that it was no problem: washing, even in the machine, was fine.

I wasn’t as flummoxed by this conflicting advice as you might think, because what I noticed was that every one of the nay-sayers was speaking from hearsay; while every one of the supporters had tried it themselves and was speaking from experience. A no-brainer in the end.

I washed it in some “gentle” shampoo which I happened to have. (If you’ve seen me, you’ll realise why shampoo is superfluous.) I was almost certainly being excessively cautious. I mean, cows don’t shrink in the rain, do they? And it worked fine. The jacket wasn’t damaged at all, and it smelled nicer.

So that’s a life lesson. The people who tell you not to do things can be disregarded, unless they happen to have tried it themselves.


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