Leather jackets are a timeless menswear classic, looking effortlessly cool and rebellious, while also being a very versatile part of your wardrobe.
Just check out this list from GQ of some of the most iconic leather jackets to ever appear on film if you need convincing!
What’s great about a good leather jacket is that in theory, it could last you forever, so it’s a big investment (kind of like a suit), so here’s a quick guide to buying the perfect men’s leather jacket.
Types of Leather Jacket
Leather jackets come in all shapes and sizes, but here are the five types that you’re most likely to come across:
- Double Rider: Made famous by Marlon Brando in The Wild One, the most famous of these double-breasted jackets is the Schott Perfecto.
- Racer: With a zip down the centre and band collar, these jackets are usually pretty minimal, with zipped pockets. Very simple and easy to wear with a number of different looks.
- Flight Jacket: Modelled on military-style pilot’s jackets these jackets usually feature ribbed cuffs and hems, two large front flap pockets and sometimes feature fur collars.
- Bomber: Similar to the flight jackets, these jackets have a military-inspired design, with a ribbed collar, slit pockets and a zipper pocket on the sleeve.
- Fencing Jacket: These jackets are inspired by those worn by fencers, with asymmetrical zips, often stocked by higher-end retailers
What Makes a Quality Leather Jacket?
Some leather jackets can sell for thousands of pounds, so what is it that sets a good leather jacket apart from a poor quality one?
Of course, the obvious place to begin is with the leather that the jacket is made from.
Most jackets will either be cow or lambskin leather, with lamb becoming increasingly popular due to its softness (although it is more expensive).
According to Lakeland Leather: “Cheaper jackets will be made from ‘corrected-grain leather’, which is leather with lots of blemishes or scarring which has been sanded down. This may also have had faux leather grains pressed into it or been dyed or treated.
“These coatings lead to corrected leather having a plastic-y, overly smooth feel, whereas uncorrected jackets have a softer and more uneven feel.”
Higher-quality jackets will usually have some decorative stitching on areas such as the seams and pockets, and give the jacket a bit more visual flair.
A thicker thread is usually used for this, while cheaper manufacturers will either use thin threads or remove this stitching altogether.
Cheaper jackets usually use a lower-grade lining which will easily shred and tear and will be the first thing to fall apart on the jacket.
On the other hand, a better jacket will actually have two linings, one for the body and one for the sleeve, with the body lining being made from a better, warmer fabric.
A cheaper jacket will have larger and lower armholes, which is to ensure that they fit as many body shapes and types as possible.
But a pricier jacket will usually have higher armholes, which allow for better arm movement and give a better overall fit.
If you’re wondering how best to look after your new leather jacket, check out this post from wikiHow