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German fighter pilots in WWI wore bomber-style leather jackets. They layered them over their military uniform. Today, leather jackets come in many styles and colors.
But they’re as classic and popular as ever.
Where do you find the best leather jackets and how do you choose them?
Read on for the ultimate guide to choosing the best leather jacket for your personal style.
The Best Leather Jackets
The best leather jackets are well made, classic, and never go out of style. These classic leather jackets from Soul Revolver make for the perfect wardrobe staple. For a man, dress it up with a tie and a button-down shirt. Or throw on an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
Ladies? Throw a great leather jacket over a mini-skirt and blouse. Or, like your favorite guy, pair it with jeans and a t-shirt.
Timeless: If you avoid brash colors and unusual trends, your leather jacket never goes out of style. Both men and women look great in a well-fitted leather jacket.
Durability: Leather jackets are durable. The price may seem high for the best leather jackets. But there’s nothing else in your wardrobe that’ll last as long as a good leather jacket.
It’s not unusual for a leather jacket to be passed down from one generation to another.
Protection: Motorcyclists have long known about the protective quality of leather. Gouges and scuffs show here and there, but they don’t ruin the garment.
In fact, those marks give the jacket character. But take a fall off a motorcycle in a leather jacket, and your own skin is protected.
Popular Leather Jacket Styles
The most popular style is the leather motorcycle jacket. This style was popularized by actors, especially Marlon Brando and James Dean. Those in the garment industry call this jacket the “rider.” It’s known for its distinctive belts, snaps, and zippers.
If you ride a Harley Davidson, you’re familiar with the leather motorcycle jacket. Bikers wear them for the durability and protection. The flared collars have snaps for fastening the lapels against the wind. But they also make a great style statement.
The classic bomber has been around longer than the moto. It’s also called a flight jacket. These originated with WWI German fighter pilots. They were more for protection than style back then!
The US Army Air Corp pilots wore the A2 in WWII. It sports a front zipper and two front-flap pockets as well as ribbed cuffs and hem.
The A2 kept pilots warm in the cockpit. Leather bomber jackets of today still use fleece and flannel for a comfortable and warm lining.
The motocross or “moto” is a popular pared-down version of the original motorcycle jacket. The front zipper is symmetrical. There are zippered pockets and snapping collars. It’s more streamlined than it’s big brother the “rider.”
Horsemen wear another classic leather jacket style called the cattleman. This classic leather jacket goes down to the thigh and flares at the waist. This accommodates the cattleman’s horseback riding needs.
Look for Quality
There are several elements that combined make for a high-quality leather jacket.
Grain: The grain of the leather is the most important factor. A full-grain leather jacket uses the entire hide from the animal. The original skin pattern is visible. This means the outer layer of skin is also included.
A full-grain leather jacket has scars and scuffs from the original animal. Most people prefer full-grain leather.
Top grain: Top grain leather is smooth, soft, even, and pliable. It’s popular for leather jackets because of its comfort. It’s called top grain because it’s split from the full-grain leather underneath.
Stitching: Look carefully at any jacket you consider purchasing. The stitching that’s visible on the top reflects the quality of the jacket. If the stitching appears cheap and uneven, steer clear of the jacket.
Armholes: Sometimes the armholes are placed lower down on the jacket. Low armholes limit movements. Get a jacket with armholes set high.
Zippers: If the zipper looks cheap, chances are the jacket is cheap too. Look for a heavy-duty zipper that moves up and down the jacket with ease.
Jacket lining: Avoid cheap synthetic materials in the lining of the jacket. This is another sign the whole jacket isn’t well made. Synthetic linings don’t breathe. They won’t stand the test of time either.
A high-quality leather jacket has high-quality materials lining the body. There are usually separate lining materials in the sleeves.
Types of Leather
Cowhide or steerhide leather is often used for leather jackets. This skin comes from cows or steer, as the name implies. This type of leather is durable and tough. Breaking it in takes a little while, but it’s well worth it.
Deerskin: If you’re looking at a leather jacket that’s yellow or orange in color, it’s deerskin.
Deerskin is used in warm-weather jackets. It’s durable but not as durable as cow or steerhide.
Goatskin: If you’ve seen a leather jacket with a pebble-like appearance, it’s made from goatskin. This leather is lightweight and fairly durable.
Lambskin: Looking for a leather that’s soft, silky and luxurious? Try lambskin.
Getting the Perfect Fit
Don’t settle for anything less than a perfect fit. You’re going to have this jacket for years, so get it right the first time. You can’t take a leather jacket to the tailor for alterations either.
Make sure your arms move easily. If you plan on wearing a sweater underneath, try the jacket on while wearing a sweater. The sleeves should come to your wrist, but no farther.
Look Great, Feel Great!
Now that you know about the best leather jackets and styles, it’s time to get one of your own. Settle on the style you want. Then think about the leather most suitable for your needs.
Then go out there and look. Be patient. If you don’t find one the first time out, don’t worry about it.
Keep looking until you connect with the perfect style, leather, and fit.
Look for more great fashion tips and ideas here.