When it comes to making the ultimate fashion statement, leather jackets have been a staple of timeless taste and never-fading badassery that never failed to give men elegance combined with hard-ass swagger, individuality without looking obnoxious.
Leather jackets are more than pieces of clothing or accessories to complement your look: in their many variations, they are the centerpiece of your personality expressed in your garments, they represent a lifestyle, an outlook, a philosophy.
Different styles of leather jackets
Even after you have found a company that you are sure would sell you a product of great quality and think you have the exact cut you want settled, it is worth thinking about seeing what else is on the menu.
Most companies offer a variety of different styles and cuts, and some might just be slight variations of others, but nevertheless suit you better than what you had in mind in the first place.
The three most common cuts available at virtually every store are Bomber, Double Rider, and Moto, but it is highly advised to at least consider looking beyond them.
Bomber (Flight Jacket)
A versatile and strikingly cool version of the leather jacket, bombers were originally developed for fighter pilots. Therefore they are warm and elastic all around. The cuffs are designed to give you freedom of movement, and the characteristic fur lining makes it perfect both as a casual or a formal wardrobe item.
Double Rider (Perfecto)
Traditionally worn by cyclists and rock musicians, this variation became a staple of the late golden age of Hollywood, having been donned by the likes of Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper on the silver screen. Originally intended for motorcyclists, the function always came first with this cut, and the legendary status of it later elevated the style from the ranks of ordinary designs.
Moto (Cafe Racer)
Somewhat similar to the Double Rider, the Moto cut is a deconstruction, and stylish reassembly of the traditional cyclist wear, this minimalistic, chic take on the legendary design will appeal to those who are looking for the quintessential modern look and prefer their leather jackets to be simple, streamlined and without any ornaments whatsoever. Some versions might have a small collar added, but generally, this feature, as well as the asymmetrical zipper that characterizes the Double Rider, are also absent.
Varsity and Baseball
A sporty and casual take on the leather jacket, this variation might only have leather sleeves instead of being all leather. Either way, the suede design guarantees that these coats will be less expensive than their less casual, more serious counterparts. Still, Varsity and Baseball jackets make great and stylish outdoor outfits that double as top-notch streetwear and quality sporting gear.
Designer leather jacket – This last one is not a defined cut per se, but rather refers to the wide variety of styles that do not fit into any set category, but are entirely custom-made and unique. Of course, this method of creating the best suiting jacket rather than buying one from the preexisting options can very easily skyrocket the price of your purchase, and the versatility of the product may also suffer.
Therefore, it is quintessential that if you plan on buying a designer leather jacket that you have a clear idea, a fixed price range, and an overall vision of what you want and how you want it. If you possess such foresight, though, a custom-made jacket might turn out to be the best choice you could make.
No matter what cut you decide to go with, picking the right type of leather is just as important as defining the style of your garment. Good quality leather can last for decades; therefore, if you make this choice wisely, you will end up with a product that is as timeless as its style. Especially when it comes to items like jackets and leather dress shoes.
Unfortunately, real quality leather can drive up the price of any piece of clothing – no wonder, as we talk about the most durable material for clothing, there is that stands the test of time both in with regards to corrosion and fashionability. Still, different types of leathers pose different challenges and have various merits and cons, so picking the one that suits you the best may decrease the chance of corrosion and make for better customer experience.
So if you are worried about the high cost of a leather jacket, do not be: always think of it as an investment in the future, rather than a casual purchase. It is much more important to know how these materials will affect the overall experience of wearing the jacket.
Some need more time to be broken in and puts up a fight, some are more seamlessly adaptable to you – and sometimes, it is indeed worth putting in the effort to make a leather jacket entirely your own.
Cowhide, Steerhide, and Horsehide – These varieties are some of the most durable types of leathers you could find, but they have their own downsides. These materials can be stiff and coarse – some people might find them a bit too heavy to wear. But if you go with them, they will definitely last even longer than the other materials out there.
Calfskin – A touch lighter than the former, calfskin jackets are still considered pretty heavy and need some time to be broken in – although they are much softer than the cow- or horsehide varieties.
Lamb – This unique type of leather is soft and extremely not leather-like. For the untrained eye, it is very easy to mix lamb leather with a cloth or other types of fabric because of its gentle qualities.
Goat – The perfect middle ground between the two types of leather mentioned before, goat hide is a great, versatile material that is more porous and not as heavy as cowhide. Goat leather is generally considered as a safe choice and should be of consideration for beginners.
Buffalo and Bison – If you seek to find the sturdiest, heaviest leather out there with the highest protection value, then you have to go buffalo. This variety will literally last till the very end of time, and if you don’t mind putting in the effort to break in a jacket, you will be absolutely satisfied in the long run.
Brands and budgets
Now we are at the point when you have decided on the cut, made your mind up about what sort of leather you want, and are ready to start looking into different brands with different price ranges.
As we have mentioned before, it is generally advisable not to be shy about spending a larger sum of money on your leather jacket, but depending on how deep into your wallet you want to reach, there are still plenty of opportunities to consider. It all depends on how frequently and prominently you want to feature your leather jacket in your everyday life.
If you have special occasions and situations in mind when you would love to don a garment like this, you may be able to get away with a cheaper purchase, but if you plan on buying something for daily use, you will still be able to fine-tune the financial aspect of the deal.
Regardless, you can find trustworthy retailers in any category – it is important to avoid vendors who overprice their products, and you need to make sure yourself that you get exactly what you paid for.
Cheap (Under $300) – For those who are still new to the leather jacket game, starting low might be the best option. When starting out, it is worth exploring the offerings of several thrift stores and take a tour on eBay as well. You should not expect miracles from jackets bought on these markets, though. You should not get way too attached to a jacket purchased this way either – they will last you a few years at best, but then you will already have some experience to get into your next purchase a bit more consciously.
Recommended brand: ASOS
Low End ($300-$500) – No miracles await you in this price range either. You may be able to get a better warranty and quality slightly finer than with the cheapest of the cheap – but if you are aiming for real quality, you should climb higher on the price ladder.
Middle Range ($500-$1000) – With more venues to make a conscious fashion statement and brands that offer lasting products of a finer quality, in this price range, you can feel more confident in having your needs met. It’s the perfect spot for people who have limited experience with leather jackets but are willing to spend a bit more.
High end ($1000+) – If you are looking for solid name brands and a great variety in designs, cuts and options for materials that embody the real spirit of the leather jacket – retailers operating in this price range generally have decades of experience perfecting their craft and are able to offer products that can be lifelong companions. Brands such as SLP, The Real McCoys, and Undercover are ready to take on the needs of even their pickiest customers.
To put it shortly: don’t rush into buying a leather jacket, explore your options, and thoroughly ponder them before making a decision. Do not rush into buying fake leather jackets that fall apart within a single year and do not spend thousands of dollars on a cut or style that you are not entirely comfortable with. It is less a question of luck and more one of patience and preparedness to find a product that you can bring the best out of, and that you can cultivate not only as a fashion accessory but as an integral part of your personality.