No matter your age, style or body type; a leather jacket is a versatile and easy to wear piece regardless of the season.
How To Wear A Leather Jacket
Whether you’re going for a more formal look, or you want to dress it down for a casual approach, a men’s leather jacket is a classic piece of menswear you can always rely on. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular styles and how to style them.
What to Wear With A Leather Biker Jacket
The leather biker jacket is one of the most versatile and easy to wear jackets going. Opting for the most iconic pairing; try wearing your black leather biker jacket with a plain white T-shirt and a pair of raw denim jeans. This an instantly classic and casual look, perfect for most day-to-day occasions.
Team this look with a pair of trainers for a casual and comfortable ensemble, or add in some Chelsea boots for an elevated getup. You can also use the same key pieces to create a timeless brown leather jacket outfit. Deciding what to wear with a brown leather jacket can be confusing but thanks to its neutral earthy tones, it can typically be teamed with the same items as its black counterpart.
What to Wear With A Leather Varsity Jacket
A varsity jacket is a great way to introduce leather that’s a little more preppy into your wardrobe. Like most leather jackets, the varsity is steeped in history which only adds to the vintage feel of any outfit featuring this iconic piece.
Think an American college student in the 1950’s or 60’s and team your leather varsity jacket with a hoodie and a simple t-shirt underneath. Mix in a pair of navy chinos and trainers casual look that’s sure to impress.
What to Wear With A Suede Leather Jacket
A suede leather jacket is a great way to add detail and texture to your wardrobe. Looking just as good in both black and brown, the choice is really down to personal preference. We’ve gone for a suede bomber jacket for this look, but you could always go for a suede western or biker jacket if you’d prefer.
Team your jacket with a simple black t-shirt, keeping the look casual and stylishly contrasted, then throw on a pair of black jeans with a black pair of boots to tie the whole look together and you’ll be good to go.
Types of Leather Jackets
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 1920’s. 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 it’s 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 a 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 it’s more popular counterparts; however, the furthering of men’s fashion knowledge over the past few years has led to an 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 1950’s, the varsity jacket was worn by the 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 more sleek and 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 colour, 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.
What Material 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. It’s also worth considering faux leather – which has improved exponentially over the past decade.
Suede is a very popular material to use when it comes to leather jackets. Suede is a brushed leather, which mainly comes from lambs, to achieve a softer, more supple 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 precaution 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 colour 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 it’s 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 amount 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, this 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 brand’s difference in sizing.
Celebrity Style Inspiration
When it comes to leather jackets, we all like to wear them differently, so we’ve picked out a few celebrities who are wearing this classic piece of menswear well, and, show you how you can get the look they’re rocking.
One of the country’s most popular radio DJ’s and style icon, Nick Grimshaw, shows us how he interprets the leather biker jacket, and he does it with style. Nick has downplayed the leather biker jacket and teamed it with a simple grey t-shirt, black trousers and trainers. This is a simple, yet effective look, as Nick has taken the leather biker jacket and teamed it with a smart-casual look that’s perfect for the evening, as well as the office.
We couldn’t do a ‘who’s doing it well’ without mentioning David Beckham, now could we? This is a man who knows how to dress, being a style icon for an abundance of men around the world. David teams a more modern style leather biker jacket with a simple white tee and jeans. Simple yet stylish. Paired with a distressed brown boot, and you’ll be channelling Beckham in no time at all.
Time for another David, but with a completely different style. David Gandy is known for his dapper appearance and sharp dress sense, but, when he downplays an outfit, you can be rest assured that he does it with the utmost style. David has gone for a brown suede leather bomber jacket teamed with a plain white tee, navy trousers and the classic brown Chelsea Boot. This is a cracking smart-casual look that works perfectly for those occasions when the dress code is a little blurred.
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.
- 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 (coloured 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 leathers, 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
- Your should always store your leather jacket properly, hung up on a decent coat hanger.
- Ideally, a wider hanger will be used to avoid creasing or misshaping.
Further Reading: A History Of The Leather Jacket
It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that we saw the leather jacket taking its place as the bikers uniform. The Schott brothers in New York pioneered the idea by making leather outerwear for people to wear whilst they were out in their brand new cars, most of which were open tops.
Finding a jacket suited to wearing on a motorbike pushed the creation of the modern leather biker jacket. Named the ‘Perfecto’ after Irving Schott’s favourite cigar, It pioneered the usage of zips as opposed to the traditional button up fastening. This made it easier to get on and off, and wouldn’t create as much bunching when sitting on the bike.
Each individual detail was considered when they were making the leather jacket. A coin pocket in the front, an elastic band sewn into the back to give you the most movement possible and even the lapels fastening down, so they wouldn’t blow into your face when riding a motorbike.
The jacket saw its popularity rise during the 1950’s after Marlon Brando wore a Perfecto jacket in the film The Wild Ones. The jacket became the symbol of teenage rebellion, and it still was up until the 80’s when the punk movement came into fashion.
How to Buy and Wear a Leather Jacket
- 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.
On That Note
The leather jacket is a trusty, practical and eternally stylish piece to have in your wardrobe arsenal. No matter which type or 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. Wondering where to buy leather jackets? Follow the link below to check out our full selection.
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