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August 14, 2022 5 min read

by April Quibido

A wife, a mom, and a definite homebody who loves writing about all sorts of interesting things online. She loves fashion, interior design, and other creative pursuits—writing included. She also has entrepreneurial endeavors and, like everyone else, wants to thrive and grow in all aspects of life.


Whatever the occasion or the place, leather jackets, in particular, are usually the go-to fashion wear for a lot of people. If you wear leather jackets often, you might have noticed the straps sitting on your shoulders. To better appreciate and understand them, let’s take a look at the history of jackets shoulder straps.

Brief History of Leather Jackets

You can actually trace back the origins of leather jackets to military wear back in the 1900s. In the early part of the century, during the First World War, you would commonly see German fighter pilots wearing brown leather jackets, which would eventually be known as the bomber jacket.

This is because the material of the bomber jacket made it the sensible and convenient choice of outerwear to battle against the extreme cold at higher altitudes.

Some designs also had epaulettes instead of shoulder straps. They were usually used to signal rank and epaulettes, especially, were more commonly used before shoulder straps.

Epaulettes were elaborate affairs of gold and silver that had heavy fringes of gold or silver wire and were used to keep shoulder sashes and belts in place. They were also expensive, being made of gold and silver.

But they also made for pretty good targets, so by 1831, the Army switched to using shoulder straps for military wear other than dress uniforms.

It wasn’t until the late 1920s that the leather jacket started making its way to the fashion world. It was first introduced by the designer, Irvin Schott, in 1928. He had created a design that looked similar to the motorcycle leather jackets we see today.

In fact, this design is still highly coveted by fashion enthusiasts even to this day. It became an inspiration for the modern street style leather jackets.

Schott’s design opted for a daring zipper closure, instead of buttons that were usually found in leather jackets at the time. Back then, it sold for only $5.50 and is the cheapest it’s ever been priced in history.

The trend of using leather jackets for fashionable wear began gaining stride in the 1950s, due to Hollywood embracing it and having actors wear it in their films. Eventually, leather jackets stopped being a fashion piece only for men and became a hit with the women too, in the 1970s.

Now, leather jackets have only further increased in popularity. It’s a timeless fashion piece that has only gotten better as it aged.

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Why Jackets Have Shoulder Straps

Now, you might have noticed the horizontal loops sitting on the shoulders of your jackets and wondered what they’re for exactly. It’s important to keep in mind that leather jackets were originally meant to be part of military wear.

You can trace back the origins of shoulder straps to the mid-1800s. The United States military had decided to add shoulder straps to their uniform in order to improve its utility.

This simple feature has allowed the soldiers to conveniently secure their pouches, bags, and other gear on their shoulders. Instead of draping them over their shoulder, they could fasten the jacket’s shoulder strap over their bags and other gear.

This went on for over a century. A typical military uniform would always have a single strap sitting on its shoulders. It’s common for people to assume that it’s only for aesthetic and stylistic purposes, but it simply isn’t the case.

Different Types of Jacket Shoulder Straps

Shoulder straps actually come in different types and sizes. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these if you plan on purchasing a leather jacket for yourself.

The two different types of leather jacket shoulder straps include:

  • Basic Band of Leather– this type of shoulder strap is non-removable because one end is permanently secured with a button while the other end is sewn directly into the jacket
  • Snap Button– these are the buttons that you can press and pull. They have two parts that interlock together when pressed. Pressing the top part into the bottom part will secure the snap button while pulling it will remove the top part from the bottom part.


Most shoulder straps generally have about the same length, but there are some that are wider than others:

  • Narrow Shoulder Straps– this type of shoulder strap is more discreet and can blend well with the rest of the jacket
  • Wide Shoulder Straps– the wider shoulder straps add a bolder and more daring touch to your look. They can also accommodate more weight compared to the narrower shoulder straps.

Benefits of Going Custom

You can also opt to have a leather jacket custom made for you with the shoulder straps that you want. It can prove to be beneficial and here’s why:

  • Good Fit

Custom-made jackets fit you better than any regular leather jacket because they fit according to your measurements. This makes them the perfect outfit for you.

  • Unlimited Options

There are so many options available to you when you choose to buy a regular leather jacket. Sometimes, your preferred style or color ends up being unavailable anymore. Choosing a custom-made leather jacket opens the doors for a wider variety of color, styles, and designs.

  • Freedom To Cater to Your Style

We all have the type of style we prefer. With custom-made leather jackets, you’re free to create a jacket that radiates your energy and allows you to properly express yourself.

How To Care for Shoulder Straps

Shoulder straps on a leather jacket require some maintenance in order to keep their high-quality appearance. These are the things you can do:

  • Using a leather conditioning product like creams and lotions to restore moisture and ensure that the shoulder straps don’t dry out or experience any other damages
  • Getting into the habit of fastening your shoulder straps when you store your leather jacket for a long period of time. This ensures that your leather jacket can retain its original shape easily. Leaving the shoulder straps open and unfastened for too long can lead to your leather jacket sagging in the shoulders.
Jacket shoulder straps


 Shoulder straps were originally used in military wear but over time, manufacturers started adding them to leather jackets. What did you think of the article? Did you learn something new today? Write down your thoughts and share with your friends!

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