When you buy clothing, you probably don't expect that it'll last forever. After all, it’s bound to become stained, discolored, thinned out, or stretched out. It’s rare to find a clothing item with the right quality and materials that make it look better over time.
The one exception to this is the leather jacket. If it is high-quality and cared for properly, it is a timeless piece that lasts a lifetime. Plus, it’s remarkably versatile and can be worn either casually or formally. But that’s not to say that every leather jacket will look good on you. You have to account for the style, the type of leather, the fit, and what you wear it with. On that note, take a look at our guide to finding the perfect leather jacket for you.
For the most part, you won’t find another jacket that is as strong and durable as a leather one. That’s why motorcyclists wear it. It acts like a second skin, in essence, as well as offering protection from wind and rain. Leather is also timeless and generally never goes out of style, although some styles might be more fashionable at times than others. A leather jacket has a way of adding sophistication to any outfit too, even if it’s just a simple pair of women’s jeans and a T-shirt.
When you visualize the typical leather jacket, what comes to mind? Is it black with wide lapels, a flared collar, snaps, and zippers? If so, that’s a standard motorcycle jacket. But you don’t need to ride a Harley to wear one. Anyone can look good in one, as long as you have the confidence to match.
It is arguably the edgiest of the leather jacket styles, though. Be sure to keep that in mind when planning what outfit you’re going to wear under it. A motorcycle jacket typically goes better with jeans than with khaki pants, for example. However, opposites attract, and these jackets do look cute with a cute sundress or skirt for women. Be mindful of the top you wear underneath since something like a chunky women’s sweater may look and feel awkward squeezed into a leather motorcycle jacket.
Another popular style of leather jacket is the bomber jacket. It’s a bit baggier but gathered at the waistline, typically with a fabric ribbed cuff or hem. These are the jackets you see in classic movies with war hero pilots flying their bomber planes. On the inside of the bomber jacket is a soft, thick material such as fleece or flannel.
When it comes to color, brown is common and may even look a bit distressed. Unlike motorcycle jackets, bomber jackets are more for winter wear since they’re warm. They go well with winter accessories, especially in a cream color that matches the brown nicely.
Also known as a motocross jacket, the moto jacket is a less edgy version of the motorcycle jacket. Whereas the motorcycle jacket may have several small pockets, zippers, snaps and other embellishments, the moto is a sleeker version. It is more fitted than its bulkier cousin, making for a smooth look that goes great with jeggings and riding boots that match the color of the leather.
Moto jackets can be any color leather, but if you see them in an unnatural color, be careful that they aren’t actually “pleather” or some other leather imitator.
When trying to decide which type of leather jacket is right for you, first think about the outfits you typically wear. Is your style more athleisure, casual, professional, or somewhere in-between? If a typical outfit for you is women’s workout leggings and other athletic apparel with sneakers, you might opt to wear a leather jacket for a night out. In contrast, if you tend to wear business casual attire, something like a leather moto jacket would look great with a basic dress, skirt or jeggings with ankle boots.
You’ll also want to consider the material. Calfskin and lambskin are softer, but they aren’t as sturdy as a cowhide leather jacket. Lastly, think about the fit. If it fits snug but doesn't enough movability, it probably doesn’t fit as it should. That’s not to say it should be too tight, though. There should be enough room to move comfortably and account for whatever type of top you’re most likely to wear under it.
Remember, a great leather jacket is an investment that will last a lifetime. You pay for what you get, so if you’re looking for quality, don’t be afraid to spend a little bit more. It might be the only leather jacket you’ll ever need to buy.