How to Buy a Leather Jacket

by Jamie Wilson
How to Buy a Leather Jacket

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

With their durability and classic style, the leather jacket is a staple piece that everyone should have. However, there’re various types of leather jackets and sometimes it can be hard to work out the best one to pick. To help you out we’ve put together this simple guide on how to choose and buy the best leather jackets for men

Where to Buy Men’s Leather Jackets

There’s barely anyone in the world who has the luxury of time, and on the whole, when you’ve got some spare time, you don’t really want to be out shopping and trying on jackets. Online shopping can be tricky, but it can also be pretty convenient, especially when you’re looking for something as specific as a leather jacket.

When you’re buying a leather jacket online it’s important to keep a few things in mind – the material, your size, and what kind of style you want to go for.

Leather Jacket Material

Obviously, there are different types of leather, and which one you choose will affect the look, feel and, of course, price, of your jacket. First off is full grain leather, which can only be made from quality hides.

Full grain leather jackets are thicker than other ones and maintain the natural marks and patterns of the animal it was made from. These jackets tend to be fairly pricey, but will last for generations if cared for properly, and will only continue to look better with age. With leather being so tough, people have asked, eventually do leather jackets stretch? 

Well, while they’re not Stretch Armstrong, they can soften up with age and become a little easier to move around in. If you don’t want to wait around for that, though, then try and get your hands on a vintage, pre-softened one. 

Leather Jacket Material
@RODNAE Productions via pexels

Then there’s top grain leather, which is a step down from full grain but is more malleable and softer. While you won’t find cheap men’s leather jackets in this grain, they will be more affordable than top grain leather, so they’re a good choice if you want a quality jacket without spending too much. 

Leather Jacket Material
@Alena Darmel via pexels

If you’re not a fan of animal leather then faux leather jackets are always an option. Faux leather has come a long way since its creation, and it’s no longer the sweltering, plastic-like material than it used to be. You can get them in a variety of designs, from classic biker jackets to shearling ones, so you don’t need to compromise on style in order to wear faux leather.

Leather Jacket Material
@Aejaz Memon via pexels

Choosing the Right Fit

When you buy a leather jacket, or, honestly, any sort of jacket, online, you have to be pretty certain of your sizing. You should also check out the site’s sizing guide, as some stores like to be confusing and make their clothing bigger or smaller than the average size. If that’s the case sometimes you can see complaints or advice in the review section of the products, helping you to pick the right size for you.

Mens jacket size chart

Leather Jacket Styles

There’s a whole range of leather jackets, each one with their own distinct vibe, and it’s important to pick one that’s going to match with the rest of your clothing. If for example, you’re into the preppy look, it might not be a great idea to get a studded leather biker jacket. Likewise, if you a fan of sleek modern outfits, don’t go for a chunky shearling aviator jacket. Find the design that’s going to work for you.

Leather Biker Jackets

Probably the most well known, and a design that’s become famous through iconic films, infamous gangs and pop stars alike. The leather biker jacket tends to be a slim fit, hip length jacket with a v-shape neck and studded detailing. It can be worn with a range of simplistic or vibrant outfits to add an alternative finish, and even if you’re going for an understated style, you can’t really blend in with a biker jacket.

Leather Biker Jackets
@Gustavo Fring via pexels

Leather Bomber Jackets

The bomber jacket is a piece that’s steeped in history and style. With their military background, they’ve become synonymous with vintage style and an understated, rugged look. The most common designs on the market are close fit with a unique cotton neckline. This creates a slim, neat look that’s great if you want to dress up a classic style outfit, such as a simple shirt and chinos look.

Leather Bomber Jackets
@Helmy Zairy via pexels

Leather Aviator Jackets

The aviator jacket, much like the bomber jacket, is steeped in history. If you go for the classic shearling design that originated from the military, you can easily create a bold, rugged outfit without too much effort. The leather aviator jacket is such an iconic piece that even pairing it with jeans and a T-shirt is going to create a standout outfit.

Leather Aviator Jackets
@Jimmy Jimmy via pexels

Further Reading: History

The designs that we recognize today, including the more modern men’s slim fit leather jackets, all originated from the flight jacket pilots wore in WWI to keep themselves warm. During WWII the design evolved and the ‘bomber jackets’ first came about, along with shearling designs to add extra warmth and comfort to the pilots.

The modern style biker jacket was created back in 1928 by the owner of Schott Bros NYC, Ivring Schott, when he decided that the previous designs just weren’t up to scratch. During the 1950s  the biker jacket started being worn as a fashion piece rather than a practical piece of clothing, with Hollywood icons such as Marlon Brando wearing the Schott biker jacket in the film ‘The Wild Ones’.

Leather Bomber Jackets
@Nenad Savic via pexels

How to Buy a Leather Jacket

  • Work out what kind of leather you want to go for, whether it be full grain leather, top grain leather, or faux leather.
  • Make sure you choose the right fit for you, checking online size charts if need be.
  • Choose the right style to fit with your clothing, from biker jackets to slim line bombers.
Leather Aviator Jackets
@Lorenzo Cinque via pexels

On That Note

When it comes to buying a leather jacket the choices are endless. You can vary the leather, the style, the colour, the fit, as well as detailing and colour. Work out the overall style you want to go for, from the sleek, well-fitted bomber jacket to the chunkier aviator jackets, ensuring you get the one that best represents your look.

Feature image from Pexels

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