Why Do Bikers Wear Black

We've had so many emails asking why bikers wear black that I thought the question deserved a detailed explanation and here it is.

The vast majority of the mass population at large imagine that Bikers and other so-called 'undesirables' and 'social misfits' usually wear black attire to make some kind of social statement. Many think that the adoption of a black wardrobe is done to reflect the horror of Hitler's infamous Schutzstaffel, the SS, who wore black uniforms with lightening bolts and skulls as the units hallmark. Others think that black clothes are deliberately adopted to make one look tough and sinister. Where conventional straight society sees white shirts as a  sign of success it is supposed that the 'underclass' adopts black in opposition just to be different.

Well it may surprise many, including a lot of bikers, to learn that the adoption of black clothing goes way back in time and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with social statements. It was just an adaptation to environmental conditions.

People whose trade involved working with 'dirty' machinery wore black (or dark) clothing to hide dirt and grease.

 

The common term 'blacksmith' referred to a smithy, one who works with metals, and 'black', specifically meaning iron. It was the common practice for smithy's to wear dark clothing to hide the soot, slag and grease deposited on their clothes over the course of their everyday work.

Nothing has changed much over time and even today it is quite common for metal workers to wear dark work clothes such as the dark blue and sometimes black worn by maintenance workers in industrial plants.

As the matter of dark clothing relates to bikers who don't do any metal work the practice of dressing 'darkly' was popularized because old motorcycles were notoriously 'dirty' machines slinging oil and grease in all directions when they were ridden so light colored dusters were definitely not the thing to wear on one's bike.

 In addition it was not uncommon for those who rode motorbikes to be campers and if you've ever spent any extended time camping out you'll no doubt understand that white 'undies' or 'outies' aren't the ideal thing to be wearing for days on end.

 

Dark clothes are simply a matter of practicality when one works on or operates machinery that generates a lot of oily dirt. It's as simple as that. There is no social statement being made and there never has been except in the minds of those who believe wearing black means something special which it doesn't.

The Hollywood crowd however loves the black Tee-shirts with all of the anti-social chopper logos printed on the back side and black leather chaps are just the rage these days but I'm personally suspicious of folks wearing black 'outers' with white 'inners' if you know what I mean.

It was once a sign of your occupation what you wore. Today it's just become a sign of what social media hype you believe or what fashion ads you see at the boutique discussion boards. In some cases and in certain circles of people what you wear and how you wear it is more important than what your bike looks like.

 

I still like to wear  black but it's mostly because I hate to do much laundry. I guess in some ways that fact in itself is some kind of a social statement. Come to think of it I don't much like to shave or cut my hair but those personal quirks by themselves don't make me a biker, only goes to show that I'm basically a dirty lazy good for nothing vagabond.

 

 

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