Fashion & Beauty / Collections Digest

The Enduring Appeal of a Belstaff Jacket

Loved by Che Guevera and Steve McQueen, we consider the enduring appeal of a Belstaff jacket

Belstaff Roadmaster jacket
Belstaff Roadmaster jacket Photography by Maud Remy-Lonvis

In 1955, motorcycling champion Sammy Miller rode to victory in a Belstaff waxed cotton jacket, which he would later refer to as his "lucky charm" helping him to victory in over 1300 races. The jacket would also be worn on race day by the likes of Phil Read and numerous other sporting heroes during the roaring motorsports of the era.

Originally founded in 1924 as a heavy-duty jacket company for motorcyclists, Belstaff was the first brand to incorporate water-resistant waxed cotton into its outerwear. From Che Guevara rebelling across Latin America in a Belstaff cover-up to Lawrence of Arabia wearing his while riding through London prior to the motorcycling accident that killed him, Belstaff is steeped in the history of wild and courageous men. Legend has it that Steve McQueen cancelled a date with then girlfriend Ali MacGraw in order to stay home and wax his jacket. Leonardo Dicaprio wore a Belstaff Roadmaster in his role as wealthy aviator Howard Hughes, as did Tom Cruise during Mission: Impossible III.

"Legend has it that Steve McQueen cancelled a date with Ali MacGraw in order to stay home and wax his Belstaff jacket"

Over the decades, the staple components of the signature jacket for both sexes have remained consistent: a wax finish with four stud-close pockets, belted and finished with a heritage check lining. No longer associated only with motorcycling, the garment still holds a sense of adventure, as well as one of romance, capturing the thrill of the Machine Age where the motorcar or bike was man’s greatest pursuit. The legacy of Belstaff is one of speed and risk, still apparent in its new high fashion mileu, be it in the elbow pads on a crewneck jumper or trademark waxed-cotton finish on a pleated skirt.

To be in with the chance of winning a men's or women's Belstaff Roadmaster jacket, simply fill in your email details below.The deadline for competition entries is at midnight on Monday 21 October, 2013. By entering the competition, you are agreeing to the below terms and conditions.

Text by Mhairi Graham