How to Style a Leather Jacket
A quality leather jacket is a classic piece of men’s outerwear fashion. Whether it was the biker gangs of the 50s or the punk bands of the 70s; this item of clothing has stood the test of time. Clothing Manufacturers know what items are popular, which is why something as popular as a leather jacket will always be around in the world of fashion. Clients always want something different though. As you’ll see, there are many variations of the classic leather jacket and many ways you can wear in style it.
The leather jacket is a key piece for any man’s wardrobe. It’s a hard-working fashion staple that has become a cult classic. Like those who are best remembered for wearing it, this item is bold and exciting. Here are some ideas of what to wear with this men’s outerwear piece and How to Wear a Leather Jacket in style
Are Leather Jackets in Style?
You may be reading this thinking, are leather jackets cool? Well, fortunately for you, of course, they are. However, making sure your leather items are well looked after is paramount to keeping them fresh all the time. Many people suggest that you should soften your leather to keep it in mint condition. The leather jacket is a timeless classic that will probably always be in fashion. Just remember the style tips below and you won’t ever look out of place.
The Classic Leather Jacket
Leather jackets are perfect for creating a classic and cool look. Whether it’s after-work drinks or a weekend away, this one has always got your back. Simplicity and a good fit will help you nail this style.
What to Wear with a Leather Jacket
Leather jackets require some simple pieces to wear with them. Think of plain t-shirts and jeans to get the greaser look and finish it with some plain trainers. An outfit even Danny Zuko himself would applaud.
The trick to wearing a leather jacket is making sure that you don’t bulk it out underneath. The jacket itself should fit comfortably, almost like a suit jacket, and fit your body shape. Shirts are a fantastic partner in crime for your leather jacket. And can be styled accordingly to turn the leather jacket into a blazer. Throw some Chelsea Boots into the mix and before you know it that black leather jacket has gone from casual to smart-casual dressing in an instant.
The Biker Jacket
During the 20th Century, black leather jackets became a staple item of clothing for the rebel biker. Nailing this classic style isn’t as hard as it looks. However, there are still certain tips and tricks that you should take into consideration.
Often spotted on the streets, the biker jacket makes for a stylish, yet simple do-it jacket. Biker jackets have made a huge comeback in recent years and it is easy to see why the youth favorite of the 1950s has made a return. By combining a pair of classic blue jeans with a plain white T-shirt, the heritage style of the 50s is an instant classic, a quintessential black leather jacket, and boots. This proves that even a timeless style such as this is very simple to pull off.
How to Wear a Biker Jacket
If you’re wondering what to wear with a biker jacket, then keep it safe with a simple top and some heavy-duty denim motorcycle jeans. Choose iconic trainers like Converse or Vans if you’re not going to wear boots. Whether the boots are polished or beaten, they’re still a great addition to a biker outfit.
Marlon Brando’s performance as the leader of a biker gang in the 1953 film The Wild One is one of the best-known biker styles. Wearing a classic Schott Perfecto jacket, with a pair of selvedge denim jeans and some heavy leather boots Brando creates a simple and timeless style.
The Varsity Leather Jacket
The varsity jacket is a casual but stealthy way to incorporate your leather into a more athletic look. The iconic two-tone design means that part of the jacket is leather, with the rest being a different material, such as cotton. It’s also great if you’re looking for something a little sharper than a hoodie, without having to think about it too much. To help keep you on your A-game, here are some key pieces to style with your varsity jacket.
Varsity jackets, traditionally, are a baggier fit so will require a little more styling. It is recommended some slim jeans, a plain hoodie, and a clean pair of trainers in order to give you the American Jock look. Skinny jeans simply won’t work as the jacket will make your legs look too thin so slim or slightly baggy jeans are best. Of course, you don’t have to wear trainers, but this classic athletic look requires some runners to give it that authentic feel.
The Flight and Bomber Jacket
The aviator and bomber jackets have been around for a long time. However, like a good wine, these iconic pieces of men’s fashion have only got better with age. Originally for military pilots, bomber jackets have a rich history within men’s fashion. Today they are seen as a staple item of men’s outerwear fashion. So, if you’re struggling to think of a jacket to buy this winter, here’s a great place to start.
Aviator jackets require very few layers underneath as they’re extremely warm underneath. Simple t-shirts and some black jeans are probably going to be your best bet as they won’t make your outfit too baggy. Military jackets require military boots. Trainers aren’t going to work as they weren’t around during the 1940s so Dr. Martens will be your best bet. The jacket is going to be the focal point so make sure the colors you wear are simple.
The Brown Leather Jacket
The brown leather jackets are a classic, historically worn by air pilots in the army it has now transcended into a timeless favorite. There is just one rule that comes with the brown leather jacket, and that is, don’t introduce another shade of brown. Keep it clean and simple to avoid air pilot chic.
Wearing a brown jacket requires dark selvedge jeans to go with it. Light blue jeans will make the jacket appear too dark for the outfit and make it stand out for all the wrong reasons. You need dark jeans to accentuate your brown leather jacket. Wear it with some brown boots or hi-top trainers and you’re all ready to go.
Leather Jacket Styles
Although there are now thousands of leather jacket styles for you to choose from, there are some classic items of men’s clothing that just can’t be beaten. The Schott Bomber Jacket is undoubtedly the ultimate in leather outwear fashion for men.
Schott has been producing the highest quality jackets ever since the early 20th Century. They were the first clothing brand to ever put a zipper on a jacket, and have been at the forefront of outerwear innovation ever since.
As this is a heritage piece it’s going to look best when teamed with a simple and classic outfit. Try wearing a plain black T-shirt as your underlayer. This will create smooth all-black attire and give the jacket that extra sleek look. Combine the look with a pair of black jeans and some black shoes for the ultimate biker punk style.
Best Leather Jackets Styles For Men
The style of your leather jacket is something very personal. Everyone is different; we all like different things and likely expect different qualities from our selection. Whether you’re into the biker style, or you’re after something a little preppy like a varsity jacket, you can rest assured that there’s something out there for everyone. Check out some of the best leather jackets for men below so you’ll be all clued up if you’re wondering how to buy a leather jacket.
Probably the most popular style of leather jacket going, the biker style was pioneered by the American brand Schott. They were the first to invent the modern biker jacket, the Perfecto, that’s just as, if not more, popular today as it was in the 1920s. With the ability to take you from a casual to a formal setting in no time at all, it’s no wonder why the biker jacket has been so popular.
The bomber jacket is a style that was initially seen during the First World War Pilots would wear a leather jacket; typically lined with shearling, to keep them warm whilst they were up in the air. Over the years the bomber jacket has had its fair share of variations, but you can’t beat the classics.
This type of leather jacket is a great addition to any man’s wardrobe as it offers you a plethora of options with styling as is well suited to any time of year. Many would know the bomber jacket in its nylon form, but you can also pick up smooth leather or a suede version to mix things up; easily making it one of the best men’s leather jackets.
The western is probably one of the lesser-known leather jacket styles, but it’s just as versatile and stylish as its more popular counterparts; however, the furthering of men’s fashion knowledge over the past few years has led to increased awareness, with Western’s slowly becoming commonplace in most men’s retailers.
When styling, think of the western jacket as you would a denim jacket as it’s pretty similar in terms of silhouette. Suede versions have become particularly popular as they offer a sleek and slightly more formally suited alternative to a leather jacket.
The origins of the varsity can be traced back to the bomber jacket with both being virtually indistinguishable in terms of shape and build. Many of you will instantly picture American college students when thinking of a varsity jacket, and you wouldn’t be far wrong. During the 1950s, the varsity jacket was worn by sportsmen at the universities as a sign of support and school spirit.
Nowadays, you don’t need much school spirit to sport a varsity jacket. More appropriate for a casual setting, the varsity jacket will keep you snug and stylish no matter the weather.
As with many items of clothing we’re still wearing today, the Aviator jacket has its origins in the airforce. Where the bomber jacket changed over the years to become a sleeker and more streamlined shape; the aviator jacket stayed, more or less, the same.
The quintessential aviator leather jacket is made from shearling and in a dark brown color, making it the ideal statement piece. To our joy, it’s made a bit of a comeback in recent years with most retailers, both high-end and high-street, now offering their own spin on the style.
How to Shop for a High-Quality Leather Jacket
Whether you’re looking for a lightweight, fashion-forward leather jacket or a rugged leather coat, knowing which style is right for you can be a daunting task. Here are some helpful guidelines to help you find that perfect quality leather jacket that will last you many years to come.
One of the outstanding features of a high-quality leather jacket is its durability. Generally speaking, the larger the animal, the more substantial the leather will be, both in thickness and in weight. While a leather jacket purchased at a discount store may seem like a bargain, it won’t look as good nor last nearly as long as a premium one. The investment is well worth it: when quality leather jackets are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.
2- Quality Workmanship
The superior quality of construction in a leather jacket shows through the attention to detail that is given by the artisan who is dedicated to producing a high-end product communicates a sense of timeless beauty.
3-Leather Types and Grades
The type of leather is a huge determining factor in a coat’s function and feel. There is no “best type” of leather; rather, each has its own unique characteristics and strengths.
Leather comes in a vast array of types and grades, each with its own signature texture and character. Whether you’re searching for an aviator jacket, leather blazer, leather bomber jacket, or any other style; we will navigate you through the many nuances of leather.
Types of Leather
Generally speaking, cowhide, bison, deerskin, goatskin, lambskin, and calfskin are the most commonly used leathers. First, let’s explore the unique character of each one, and then we’ll discuss leather grades.
Here’s a breakdown of various types of leather:
Cowhide is the most common leather used in leather jackets not just because of its wide availability and low cost. But because of its toughness, durability, and resistance to water and dirt. It offers great protection – most motorcycle jackets are crafted from cowhide, for example – but can take some time to wear- due to its stiff texture. With its versatile matte finish and casual, cowhide is widely accepted as the go-to leather for an affordable leather jacket.
Bison leather is very similar to cowhide in terms of its ruggedness and durability, but it also boasts a beautiful natural grain patterning; that cowhide generally doesn’t have, lending a rich, earthy look and texture. The thick grain also makes bison leather great for protective motorcycle gear.
Dense and incredibly durable, deerskin is not only ideal for leather jackets but is also commonly used to make leather gloves and handbags. It’s wonderfully supple and gets softer and softer the more you wear it. Deerskin is perfect for someone who wants the same toughness and durability as a cowhide jacket, but with a softer, more elegant feel.
Goatskin is a great all-around leather that, like deerskin, is softer, lighter, and more flexible than cowhide. Also very durable, goatskin jackets often look even better after years of wear than when new. The Navy and Air Force use goatskin for their G-1 and A-2 flight jackets, respectively. Goatskin is quite supple and has a pleasing pebble grain.
Lambskin is the crème de la crème of leather in terms of softness, suppleness, and wearability. It has a luxurious texture and is quite versatile, working equally as well in an elegant, full-length coat or a chic, cropped leather jacket. Naturally very lightweight, leather jackets made from lambskin can be worn comfortably year-round.
Calfskin shares some of the same rugged characteristics as cowhide but has a softer, finer feel and a smoother surface. While generally thicker and heavier than lambskin, calfskin combines some of the toughness of cowhide with the supple, lightweight feel of lambskin.
Leather Grades What Leather Jacket Should You Buy
Full Grain Leather
This will be the most common type of leather that you will find when you’re looking at leather jackets. Full-grain leather is one of the better options as the grained appearance won’t highlight any scratches or marks.
If you’ve got a little more cash to splash, the quality of the leather will typically improve alongside your budget. If you’re trying to shop on a budget, there are great cost-effective options out there if you know what you’re looking for. It’s also worth considering faux leather – which has improved exponentially over the past decade.
This is a very popular material to use when it comes to leather jackets. Suede is brushed leather, which mainly comes from lambs; to achieve a softer, suppler feel to the material. It’ll generally be a slightly heavier alternative to leather, as the chemicals used in making it suitable for use add a little weight.
Because of its brushed effect, suede isn’t the best material to wear during a downpour; in fact, any sort of water will ruin it so it’s best to take extra precautions when you’re wearing a suede leather jacket. You can, of course, treat it to make it water-resistant, but always check the care label so you don’t damage the material.
Commonly used for rugs or carpeting, as well as jackets and coats, shearling is a very warm and practical material. Shearling is the skin from a recently sheared sheep, so you have the raw leather underneath with the wool on the outside.
The wool is worn on the inside of the jacket, conserving heat close to the body. The outer skin can then be dyed to whichever color and can be brushed to make suede. Shearling is probably one of the warmest options available when it comes to leather jackets, but can be a pricier option as well.
Now we get to the priciest options available for a leather jacket, the exotic skins. These can differ greatly depending on the animal used, with everything from alligator to eel on offer, but we’ll focus on the two most common exotic skins that you’ll come across.
One of the more popular options, alligator skin is incredibly durable and noticeably beautiful, but a lot thicker than its cowhide counterparts. This skin is obviously much harder to obtain, so you can pay through the roof for an alligator skin leather jacket with some charging upwards of £60,000.
Ostrich leather is another material that’s commonly used for leather jackets. A little cheaper than alligator or snakeskin, it gives a beautifully unique grain that’s popular with many. The leather itself comes from the main body of the ostrich and is graded by the number of bumps that are on the leather.
How A Jacket Should Fit
When it comes to something like a leather jacket, you don’t want to spend a lot of money for the jacket to be misfitted. Be sure to try your jacket on with the pieces you plan to wear it with so you can really get a feel for the fit.
Grab a tape measure and measure, in inches, the diameter of the thickest part of your chest. For instance, you may measure a 40-inch chest, which means you should buy a size 40, or, a 42. You may need to give a little leeway up a size due to style and the brand’s difference in sizing.
How To Take Care Of A Leather Jacket
If you’ve invested a few quid into a leather jacket; you’ll want to look after it to ensure it’s got the longest life possible. This isn’t a tricky process, all you need is a few pointers to steer you in the right direction.
Waterproofing Your Leather Jacket:
- Invest in a leather-protecting spray, but always read the label to make sure that your jacket is compatible.
- Spray a light coating all over the jacket and let it air dry while hanging before wearing it.
Apply a Leather Conditioner
- Conditioning a jacket will keep the leather soft and supple and prevent excessive cracking.
- Again, make sure you find a conditioner that’s suitable for your leather jacket, as you don’t want to ruin it.
- Take a white cloth (colored or dyed cloth may transfer onto your jacket) and dab a small amount onto the cloth.
- Apply in circular motions, work the conditioner into the leather then hang your jacket to air dry before use.
Polish Up Your Leather Jacket
- Apply the same way as you would a conditioner.
- You’ll only want to do this rarely, as it can damage the leather with excessive use.
- Don’t polish suede or brushed leather, as this will permanently damage your jacket.
- Don’t use shoe polish as an alternative, this can also lead to permanent damage.
Storing Your Leather Jacket
- You should always store your leather jacket properly, hung up on a decent coat hanger.
- Ideally, a wider hanger is used to avoid creasing or misshaping.
How to Clean a Leather Jacket
There are some methods that may be worth trying. Talcum powder is great for absorbing grease stains; while ink stains can be removed by rubbing them very gently with an artist’s eraser.
A simple solution of warm, soapy water is usually the best option. Wipe the jacket with a damp sponge before drying it with a soft cloth. Always test it somewhere inconspicuous, like one of the cuffs – if the water gets absorbed straight away, stop immediately.
How to Wash a Leather Jacket
There’s nothing better than the feeling of finding a leather jacket in great condition in a remote rail of a vintage shop. It fits great and the price is reasonable so it’s a no-brainer: you must have it. However, even if you wipe your jacket with a cloth, you won’t necessarily be able to get rid of that musky vintage shop smell. What to do then? It can be risky but leather jackets can be washed. However, this procedure will only be successful with real leather jackets! Also, avoid doing this with particularly shiny jackets with a polished finish because the coating will be more likely to crack.
By the time your jacket will be out of the washing machine, it’ll have that perfectly lived-in look.
Follow these easy steps for the ultimate vintage yet clean effect.
- Throw your jacket in the washing machine zipped and inside out with a few socks, jeans, or T-shirts. Those garments will absorb some of the water that your leather jacket will naturally tend to soak up in great quantity.
- Use your usual laundry detergent and opt for a cold wash at a delicate cycle.
- When it comes to drying the jacket, throw in some drying sheets, and go for medium heat. Make sure that your jacket is fully dry before taking it out. In case you’re worried about shrinking, take the jacket out a couple of minutes beforehand and flat-dry it to make sure that it won’t take the shape of the hanger.
- Your jacket now will have a great lived-in look without any smell.
Keep it Dry
In an ideal world, you would never have to take a leather jacket out in the rain. But we know all too well that it’s sometimes unavoidable. Water is one of the things that can cause the most trouble when it comes to leather. Once leather gets wet, the natural oils in the material seep to the surface. When things heat up the oils can evaporate, leaving you with a jacket that’s dry and brittle.
Of course, the best way to keep the water from ruining your jacket is to give it some extra protection. A good leather conditioner will make your jacket more water-resistant, as well as keep the leather strong and looking like new.
But Turn Down the Heat
It can be tempting to throw your jacket in a tumble dryer, or even try and use a hairdryer. But too much heat will only make the problem worse. If you don’t want to take that sort of risk, stick it somewhere at room temperature that’s well-ventilated and let it dry slowly. If you want to stop it from going stiff while it dries, put it on for a minute or two and move around in it. A good leather conditioner is another great way to keep the cracks from showing.
Make sure the jacket is completely dry before it goes back into the wardrobe, or you run the risk of mildew.
How to Soften Leather
With time and use, leather will tend to get stiffer. In case your jacket has been through some rough times and you’ve been somewhat lenient with your taking care of the leather; it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s tough as hell. There are many different ways to bring back some moisture and softness; one being rubbing baby oil or petroleum jelly on the fabric. However, when it comes to softening leather it’s always useful to use products specifically for this material.
Leather Jacket Conditioner
In order to get the best leather jacket treatment out of the softening process; it’s always good to invest in a leather jacket conditioner. This product is also especially useful if you don’t have the patience to naturally break your new men’s leather jacket by wearing it.
Best Leather Conditioner
The best and easiest way to apply your leather conditioner is in spray form. As opposed to wipe-on softeners; you’ll be more likely to have more control over the quantity you actually end up putting on the jacket. Remember to rub the spray leather conditioner with a cloth so that the product can really penetrate the leather at a deep level.
Once you complete the process, dry your leather jacket with a blow dryer at medium heat. And at a safe distance so that you’ll seal the moisture of the conditioner in. Once again, you’ll have to be extra careful when drying your jacket with direct sources of heat. Too much or too little heat could be seriously detrimental to your beloved jacket.
Take it to the Professionals
Home care is all well and good, but you can’t beat a professional cleaner. Taking your jacket to a professional dry cleaner once every year will make your job of caring for it so much easier.
How to Style a Leather Jacket
- Style is important, biker or bomber are the most popular so pick the one that suits you best
- Although quality leather jackets are expensive they will last forever
- Your leather jacket is good enough for dinner or the club. So make sure you get as many uses out of it as you can
- A leather jacket is an essential item to have in your wardrobe.
- For a casual look, pair one easily with a T-shirt, black jeans, and a pair of trainers.
- For a more elevated look, team a leather jacket with jeans and a pair of Chelsea boots.
- Care for your leather jacket with conditioning treatments to ensure that it keeps its natural feel and tone.
How To Wear and Style A Leather Jacket For Men
The leather jacket is a trusty, practical, and eternally stylish piece to have in your wardrobe arsenal. No matter which type of material you decide to go for; you can rest assured that you can always wear a leather jacket no matter what the season. It’s seen its fair share of remakes and models. But what we can all agree on is that it will be here for a long time to come.