Since 2016


November 26, 2022 3 min read

by Monique Youzwa

Monique has been a full-time freelance writer for over 5 years, plus has a few fiction credits under her belt and is currently working on a novel. When not writing, she spends her time reading, playing video games, hiking, and camping with her husband and daughter.


The classic M-65 field jacket made its debut in the 1960s to protect soldiers against the changing weather in the jungles of Vietnam. Though the traditional look remains the same, the modern leather field jacket has a few upgrades that make it a more stylish piece for all occasions. Of course, not all models are identical in their features, so figuring out how to choose the right field jacket is a must to ensure you’re getting the perfect model to meet your needs.


The original M-65 field jackets were a replacement for the older M-51 style used by the military. The M-51 used water-resistant, windproof cotton sateen, which wasn’t adequate for the weather in Vietnam. The upgraded M-65 replaced the old material with NYCO, a nylon-cotton sateen with increased durability and wind- and water-resistant.

Though you can still find fabric field jackets, leather models are more durable, thicker, and warmer than traditional styles while maintaining a timeless look. They come in all types of leather, from rugged cowhide to soft, supple sheepskin. There are also non-traditional leather options, like waxed leather, which uses oils or fats to increase the softness of the leather and create a patina for a vintage look, even on new leather jackets.


The classic field jackets used traditional military colors, starting with Olive Green to blend in with the jungle foliage. Over the years, Woodland Camouflage and Desert Camouflage were added to the design for later campaigns. Luckily, civilian leather field jackets aren’t so limited in their colors. There are classic options of black and various shades of brown, but you can also get a leather field jacket in several other colors. These include red, blue, yellow, or white to ensure it matches perfectly with the rest of your wardrobe.


Leather field jackets have an iconic look that stands out from other garments. The traditional details, including the high collar, multiple front pockets, and zippered front, are common, though there are available alterations to these details to give you the exact style you’re looking for.

One option is the addition of fur or other material along the inside of the collar to increase warmth. Some leather field jackets also add a hood to the design for even more protection against cold weather.

On the front of a classic field jacket are four pockets, two over the chest and two at the waistline. Of course, some jackets feature slant pockets on the lower area for easy access or warming your hands. Additional pockets on the sleeves or the inside of the jacket are also options worth considering for more storage room.

The lining of a field jacket is another crucial detail. If you plan to wear it during the summer, a thin liner is best, though, for cooler temperatures, you may want to upgrade to a thicker liner for increased comfort and warmth. A removable liner is also an option for year-round use.

Other design options include buttons instead of the classic zipper front or a belt at the waist. The sky is the limit with these leather garments, so you can customize them as you see fit.

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How To Style A Leather Field Jacket

Despite its military roots, a leather field jacket is one of the most versatile garments in any wardrobe. It can be worn over a t-shirt and jeans for a casual look or dressed up with chinos and a nice sweater or turtleneck. For those classy events, a leather field jacket looks phenomenal over a suit and tie, so you can wear the same jacket for every occasion on your calendar.

Field Jacket

Final Word

The field jacket is one of the most well-known garments available, seen in countless movies over the years. These pieces are versatile, comfortable, and warm, with plenty of storage in the many pockets they sport. Unlike a few other leather jacket styles, the leather field jacket works with any outfit you can come up with, making it one of the most experimental and versatile pieces you’ll ever own.

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