Step by Step Guide
Written by Karol B
1. What is a Battle Jacket?
A battle jacket, also known as a battle vest, cut-off, or kutte, is traditionally a denim vest decorated with patches, and sometimes studs & other decor.
The battle jacket originated in American biker culture in the 1970s, when bikers would cut the sleeves off of blue Levi’s denim jackets. Today it is more closely associated with the punk & metal subcultures.
The word “kutte” is a German word that refers to a coat, or more specifically, a monk’s robe.
The battle jacket offers a standard canvas upon which to associate yourself as a member of a scene, while also affording you great license to express yourself authentically as an individual.
2. Where to Buy a Base Battle Jacket
If you can’t find a suitable jacket or vest in your closet, there are many options.
You can buy a jacket or vest online or at a thrift store. Levi’s is the classic choice, but there are many knock-off brands available, some that don’t have any branding on the buttons, and a little veering off from the norm can add a hint of individuality to your vest.
This brings me to an important point. The balance between how traditional & how individualistic you want to be is up to you. As long as it is a shirt or jacket that has symbols of your favorite institutions on it (bands, organizations, etc) then you’re obeying the spirit of the battle jacket.
If you want to go classic & traditional & be easily understood, go for it. If you want to break the mold & be innovative, go for it. Be yourself.
Can a battle jacket have sleeves? Yes.
If you do lop them off, though, you probably want to make it look ragged. To achieve this, just cut the sleeves off of your vest about a half inch from the seam (a wash cycle will help to fray the edges).
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