The Best Leather Jackets Guide You'll Ever Read
The leather jacket is an accessory for men that has traditionally had an edgy, counterculture vibe. However, a leather jacket can be high fashion, a practical choice, or an accent piece just as easily. The goal of this post is to talk about what makes a good leather jacket, the different kinds of leather jacket, and what you really need to know to find one that will fit your needs and your budget.
Leather Jacket Value
The design of a leather jacket depends on several different elements. First of all, the color. The two main colors for leather jackets are black and brown. Brown jackets come in a wide variety of shades, too. These range from dark, nearly-black browns to medium nut browns and up to light tan browns. The darker the jacket, the closer it comes to that rough, masculine look that became popular in the 20th century. However, the lighter shades can look very good depending on what you plan to wear with the jacket and your hair and skin tone.
Next is zippers and buttons. Some styles of jacket use zippers only. Others rely entirely on buttons. The most common design is using zippers for the main clasp and buttons as accents. The presence of pockets and a collar determine whether the jacket will have just one zipper or more than one. Make sure that for any jacket you want to buy, the buttons and zippers are strong, secure, and functional.
Jackets can vary based on their other choices too. Some have pockets, some have collars, and some are quite simple and plain. The iconic leather jacket can look very different when you compare two different styles side by side, so it's worth doing some research on the archetypes before buying.
Aside from their appearance, leather jackets are valuable simply as clothing. If they are of good quality, then the leather will last for many years. Leather is a tough material that isn't thick or bulky like a heavy coat. Leather jackets make very good windbreakers and can be surprisingly warm. In freezing temperatures a coat will perform better, but anything less extreme than that is still suitable for leather. Of course, leather can vary in thickness and jacket designs can be more or less appropriate for cold weather or wind. Some of them are layered or come with a collar. Thin models won't do as well at keeping you warm or keeping the wind out.
In addition, leather resists scrapes and scratches. Leather is actually the material of choice for anyone who rides a motorcycle. There are sets of leather jackets and coverings that they use for protection. Although it also has a cultural connotation, leather's ability to protect is the reason it became popular among bikers and pilots in the first place. Leather works well for hiking in areas with rocks and branches that might scratch you or any other environment with scraping hazards.
Styles of Leather Jacket
There are several different categories of style of leather jacket. Each one has distinctive features as well as different roles in a wardrobe.
The biker design is, as the name implies, intended for bikers. It is cut close to the body with a thin, tight design so that it feels comfortable if you are leaning over a motorcycle. You should expect a set of zips, flaps, and buttons to protect the pockets located on the front and sides. Biker jackets are usually black.
The bomber style originates with the pilots of World Wars I and II. They are protective like the biker jacket, but also designed to help keep you warm. At the same time, they are thin enough to allow relatively free movement. A bomber is simple in style and often has no pockets or buttons. They have elastic collars and cuffs to keep cold air out. Their basic design makes them suitable for use with many different looks and accompanying clothes. Bombers come in brown and black.
The field jacket is built for hiking and outdoor activity in potentially cold weather. It is longer and thicker than the previous designs and usually has several buttoned pockets. A field jacket can have a medium to tall collar for wind protection. While the biker and bomber jacket are generally fashion articles, the field jacket is more practical and specialized. The length and weight makes it comfortable outside. This kind of jacket is most commonly brown.
The racer jacket was a direct descendant of the bomber. WWII pilots adapted it for postwar motorcycle racing. Compared to the bomber, it has a more defined shoulder and drops the elastic on the collar and cuff. The racer has a simple, strong profile that you can pair with basic outfits, such as a plain white tee and jeans. Racers come in black as well as shades of brown.
The flight jacket is an iconic design. It also has its roots in piloting, but it has a much more distinctive look thanks to the use of sheepskin. The sheepskin can be located at the collar, at the collar and cuffs, or throughout the interior as a lining. The sheepskin will be visible in any configuration. Some models have elastic cuffs if there is no sheepskin there. They typically have at least two pockets and may come with straps near the neck. Flight jackets are extremely warm, especially if they have a complete lining. Be careful about wearing too many layers underneath them, because you can easily start sweating. This is the best design for cold weather and they can look incredible thanks to the contrast in color between the sheepskin and the leather. Most of them are brown but a few models come in black.
What are good leather jacket brands?
Schott- The Schott Perfecto is the original iconic jacket. It was the preferred model of James Dean, Marlon Brando, and numerous punk and rock stars.
Belstaff- Belstaff is a British company with a 100 year legacy. Their trademark is a rugged design with a belt and splashproof hand waxing.
Independence Brothers- This company owned by two brothers specializes in custom jackets. Their high-quality leather and craftsmanship shows in each piece.
What are the quality levels for leather jackets?
There are thee main quality levels that you should know about in the leather jacket market. The first is the highest grade- the "full-grain" leather. This leather is on the thicker side and is the most durable. They break in and will naturally mold to your body over time. One level below that is "top-grain" leather. These have been sanded and stamped down. They tend to be a little thinner. They don't mold to you, but they don't need to be broken in, and top-grain designs can be significantly cheaper than full-grain. If you want to find something less expensive, look for substitute materials like polyurethane or PVC. Not only are these more affordable, but they are also vegan if you wish to avoid using an animal-derived product.
Hopefully you have learned a few things about how to buy a good leather jacket. They are beautiful and powerful pieces. It's worth knowing the market and their different styles so that you can decide on the best match for your vision. If you enjoyed this guide, then please share on social media! Got a question about leather jackets? Ask it in the comments below!