Updated: May 17, 2019
When you put it on, something happens...
The year is 1975. A company released a jacket that would only hit the American market five years later, but along with it came that same feeling “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc came with. Members Only. You’d have to have one to understand. Eager consumers didn’t have to wait a long time for Members Only.
Once the jacket hit the scene in 1980, it was quickly picked up by people from all walks of life. It seemed that the brand’s exclusively implied name was actually a good fit for everyone. It was generally endorsed by celebs, but later shifted to people like you and I. The workers, students, teenagers, rockers, fashion aficionados, the dad style and everything else in between. If you haven’t watched The Sopranos, ignore the following two sentences. The guy at the end who was wearing the jacket, wasn’t originally an actor. He was an owner of a pizza restaurant in Pennsylvania, when a casting agent discovered him. When you put it on, something really does happen. Go figure. The brand has changed a bit over the years, but still holds true to it’s classic roots. The sleek epaulettes, collar strap, and knitted trim at the end of the sleeves. There is just something about this jacket that makes you feel good.
Fast forward to 2006. I found my first Members Only Racer Jacket in a thrift store in California. Technically it was also a convenience store because you could buy snacks and drinks at the front. I was browsing around and trying to find something that I could pull off wearing in those days that didn’t just look like I pulled it out of my grandfather’s closet.
Turns out that’s what I found, but I was down for that. Fashion has a funny way of looping back. The jacket section of the store was organized by type, color, and size. I flipped through the windbreaker section. This one was too bright. That one was too wrinkly. This one definitely made tons noise if I were to play heads up seven up. When I hit the grey colored section, I was flipping through and mainly just passing time before my orthodontist appointment, when my eyes spotted the collar, the front pocket, and the sleeves. I had never seen a snap collar on a jacket before. Surely this jacket was too warm for summer Southern California weather right?
It wasn’t heavy. It was lightweight. It looked so good! I looked around and wondered why no one had scrambled to buy this for $3.95. What a steal! A lot of us in southern California are spoiled with the weather, so was this jacket really necessary? Yup and at that price, what could go wrong? The cashier rang it up.
Turns out, it was exactly what I needed. The zipper and rolling up my sleeves allowed me to wear it for many occasions. I dressed it up and down. I loved it and that was just the beginning. I started to keep my eye out for it and as the seasons changed so did the styles and the material. Members Only didn’t just stick with nylon or polyester. Their clothing line started to include cotton, twill, quilted, faux leather & suede, velvet, denim, and polyurethane among other textiles.
Certain clothing stores would carry the jackets and there would be a lot of imitators, but nothing beat the original. Members Only would eventually go on to create more apparel and eventually open a women’s line in 2016 after getting licensed by Sammy Catton, president of LCC and iApparel. Under the current ownership of Ron Malhotra, the brand has certainly bounced back and is offering much more than in the past. For the fans who love the original racer, it’s still there, plus a little more. I absolutely love their collaboration with Nickelodeon.
Be sure to check them out as they offer different looks fit for various times of year. I've outgrown my light grey racer, but Members Only always gives you a reason to keep coming back. It's like returning to an old flame, only you know each time you won't have anything but a great experience by the time you're done. When you put it on something happens. Shop the look at http://membersonly.com.