Trends begin, they evolve, and then they fade or simply become a standard. Skinny jeans became a standard, the military fashion trend cannot. So as 2011’s fashion trends come to fruition, as we move fully into a new decade, and as military chic becomes as drawn out as the war that inspired it, what becomes of the military influences that have helped keep the likes of Balmain and Burberry in fashionisers’ conscience? What replaces it?

The answer may lie in a trend that has been around for some time, but a trend that hasn’t been able to be much more than a blip on the radar while in the shadow of military fashion. The trend? Biker chic.

biker fashion

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And we’re not the only ones to think so. Take Burberry who, with little ceremony, dwindled the military motifs that they’ve been known for of late down to a few select elements in their S/S 2011 collection. Much of the rest of the collection was biker inspired and infused, so much so that the collection is named Heritage Biker. So with biker fashion elements not exactly being something new for 2011, it leaves to be discovered what elements will help take the style to a new level.

Biker fashion: women’s elements

Motorcycle jacket

Can you imagine the military trend without a military jacket? Not possible. And so it goes without saying that the motorcycle jacket is the key statement piece for the motorcycle / biker fashion trend. Naturally, not any motorcycle jacket will do. While we undoubtedly will see fast fashion stores give us motorcycle jackets in the now-subdued vein of the ‘Brando jacket’, the motorcycle jacket in 2011 needs to be much more of a statement piece.

And so it goes that it’s not merely about an overused cut and simple black colour. In fact, many a colour will suit. You can take the lead from Burberry’s colour offerings (above in a traditional Burberry colour, immediately below in silver, and further below in two-tone leather), or you can look to spring 2010’s colour trends, specifically those for leather, for inspiration.

silver motorcycle jacket
Silver motorcycle jacket from Burberry

leather motorcycle jacket
Two-toned leather motorcycle jacket from Burberry

Of course, just because the biker chic trend is about more than Brando jackets and black motorcycle jackets doesn’t mean to say that the trend is completely devoid of both styles. Take Balmain’s, pre-spring 2011 offering for instance: it’s a motorcycle jacket that is somewhat military-cum-Brando.

balmain motorcycle jacket
Balmain motorcycle jacket

So with everything from boring blacks to statement silvers having been designed, what key elements should a fashioniser be looking for in a statement military jacket for 2011?The answer is two in particular.

Zipped sleeves

motorcycle jacket sleeves
Zipped motorcycle jacket sleeves from Burberry

Quilting

quilted motorcycle jacket
Quilted motorcycle jacket from Burberry

burberry motorcycle jacket
Trench coat with subtle quilting and motorcycle jacket zips from Burberry

Leather pants

You may think of biker pants as anything skin tight and black. But again, that’s not necessarily so in 2011. Christopher Bailey’s leather motorcycle pants for Burberry can grab attention just as well in neutral tones, with mesh side-panels and an exposed, feature zip. As with other elements of the bike chic trend it’s all about the detail, and last season’s plain leather leggings won’t quite cut it. Panels, quilting and padding, and zips all add to the tough yet ultra-slick and modern feel of the neo biker pant, while other thick, skin-hugging materials like neoprene can also work as an alternative to leather.

burberry leather pnts
Leather motorcycle pants from Burberry

The skirted alternative

As it is with other elements of the biker chic trend, there’s also an alternative to biker pants. Drawing on the quilted motifs of their motorcycle jackets, Burberry have produced a neo-mod leather skirt with quilting detailing that not only sits perfectly with the bike fashion trend, but also acts as the perfect alternative statement piece to the motorcycle jacket.

burberry motorcycle jacket
Leather skirt with bike chic detailing from Burberry

Motorcycle boots

And last but not least, motorcycle boots round out the key elements of the biker fashion trend – hardly a surprise given no trend is complete without a tie-in shoe trend. Biker boots, having been in fashion for some time now, won’t be hard to come by. You could consider that a plus, but don’t rest on your laurels: mass marketing of biker boots means that a lot of very average styles are going to be seen on the streets already, so in order to get motorcycle boots right in 2011 look for a statement pair; something that exudes quality and style – a pair such as the Chanel biker boots.

biker boots
Chanel biker boots

Biker fashion: men’s elements

What precedes has largely looked at the motorcycle fashion trend for women, which is the norm given that modern trends generally start for women before being modified to suit men’s tastes. The motorcycle trend, however, emerges into men’s wardrobes at the same time this year, albeit it to a much smaller degree.

Spearheaded by a number of design houses, including Burberry, the main element of the men’s version of trend are statement jackets – unlike women’s where we’ve also seen a number of additional pieces. The colour palette is much muted as well: it’s all black, a fact that makes the trend rather cliche for men but not so cliche that the only motorcycle jackets on trend are Brando jackets.

men's motorcycle jacket

burberry motorcycle jacket
Men’s motorcycle jackets: both from Burberry Prorsum

Styling inspiration

Other trends for the season

Want to find out what else spring 2011 has to offer in the way of 2011 fashion trends? Then click the links to find out.

Credits: Burberry S/S ’11 courtesy Style.com.

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