What Type Of Leather To Choose For Your Jacket


So you’ve finally decided it’s time to update your wardrobe—but what could you choose as the ultimate fashion statement? If you’re truly ready to try something bold and different, then the leather jacket is just for you.

But don’t be fooled by their simplicity—there’s a whole lot you need to know about this material before buying your first piece. I can tell you from personal experience that following these 4 simple steps can make or break your jacket.

The 4 keys to finding the right type of leather are durability, quality workmanship, leather types, and fashion nuances. Collectively, these represent the essential factors to look for. Within each step, there are extra details that prove why choosing the right leather can be challenging, but also so fulfilling.

Before You Begin…

Before going any further, here are a few things you will need in order to enhance this guide. Each individual’s needs may differ, but these guideline requirement will help introduce you to the steps ahead:

  • Internet access for research questions and answers
  • Local tailor or measuring tape

Also, consider that having a custom-made leather jacket will allow you to work directly with the masters to choose the exact style you desire at the price you prefer.

Step 1: Durability

Durability is usually a good sign of a leather jacket’s quality. In some cases, a well-made, well-sourced piece can last you a lifetime—with proper maintenance.

There are general tendencies for leather from a larger animal to result in denser fabrics. Do not sacrifice quality for a “good deal”—cheapness will cost you in the end.

A leather jacket is like buying a car: you invest lots of time into researching it and, once it’s bought, you expect it to last for many years. Durability is an essential factor in determining whether the piece is worth your money and reputation. Leather is more than just clothing—it’s a fashion statement.

PRO-TIP: You should also take into account that prices will vary depending on the fabric’s quality. Durability is often dependent on the animal from which the leather was sourced. Sourcing is nuanced by the differences from one producer to the next and is not necessarily limited by country of origin or industry regulations.


Step 2: Workmanship

Every leather jacket is a work of art. It’s a process that involves human hands, stretching, tanning, and piecing together elements into a finished product.

The workmanship that goes into different types of leather is invaluable. Some features to look for in a quality piece include clean seams, smooth surfaces, and consistent colors.

There are nuances here that, in many ways, cannot be measured conventionally. The care and craftsmanship poured into this process is what separates standard materials from all the rest. The tanning process alone requires many years of experiencing. Simply put, a great deal of the cost and prestige of leather comes from the hands perfecting it. Whereas other industry-standard fabrics are machine-processed, more high-quality leathers should have a significant human interaction component. Otherwise, machine-manufacturing often lacks the nuance and delicacy to match artisan skill and attention to detail.

Step 3: Leather Subtypes

Leather can be derived from a number of different sources and each one provides unique aesthetic and physical appeals. Some of the most popular sources include bison, cowhide, deerskin, lambskin, and goatskin.

Bison is known for its patterns resembling grain. Although it has the durability and quality of so many other subtypes, it has a more elegant visual appeal.

Cowhide is very similar to bison though it lacks the grain-surface design. It is the most common type of leather available, mainly because of its affordability.

Deerskin is particularly unique since its animal source is quite different from other common options. Complimented by both density and durability, it is used regularly for jackets, but also purses and gloves.

PRO-TIP: If softness if your top priority, then lambskin is the choice for you. Gentle to the touch, it is ideal for comfort yet remains a respectable amount of durability.

With goatskin, you’re getting the “best of all worlds”: durable, soft, and flexible, it also improves in comfort as it ages.

Step 4: Fashion Nuances

The devil is definitely in the details when it comes to choosing the right type of leather. You’ll want to consider things like fit, trimmings, and linings. In these subtle areas, the difference between mediocre and magnificent is found.

Fitting is a critical part that varies from one type of leather to another. One example of this would be any elasticity between the leather and a zipper. There is a necessary element of functionality required in a good jacket. Meeting this level of comfort, however, requires proper fitting.

Zippers should feel durable yet noninvasive; any sense of discomfort caused by a restrictive binding could be a sign of poor tailoring.

PRO-TIP: Another consideration is how much the leather fitting compliments your personal body shape. Certain leathers improve the design outcome of a jacket better than others. Trying it on before purchase is necessary, along with regards for sleeve length and centerline width.


Was this guide fun? Did you find it entertaining and informative? Choosing the right type of leather for your needs is easy once you’ve figured out the steps. Durability is one of the first features to look for because it indicates the fabric’ quality. There are many origin sources—some low-grade, others high—which can affect quality.

Workmanship is also important because it is where the material meets the human hand. Fitting and tailoring the leather into its proper final state is very dependent on individual skill. Establishing the right balance of color and surface texture is key in the process.

There are a number of subtypes of leather to choose from ranging between cowhide to goatskin. Bison and deerskin are also unique, though durability is a feature seen in all varieties.
Fashion nuances cannot be overlooked—these finishing touches will make the leather shine—literally and figuratively! From fittings to trimmings and even the type of zipper, this is integral for choosing the right leather.

Let us know what you think in the comments below and be sure to share this article with someone you know who’s interested in a leather jacket!

Maria Ermolenko