A leather jacket is a classic example of menswear that’s packed with attitude, heritage and unfiltered masculinity. The leather jacket, synonymous with pilots, punks, and Marlon brando, is high-testosterone menswear but is also a timeless classic. A well-curated wardrobe would be incomplete without it.
Since our fingers stopped scraping the ground, men have worn hides and skins for centuries. However, the leather jacket that we all know today was first introduced to the market in the early 1900s. The military and early aviators wore brown leather flight jackets, including the German Air Force during World War I.
1928 saw the arrival of the first modern-looking style. Irving Schott, a Manhattan raincoat maker, created a motorcycle jacket to fit Harley Davidson. This leather jacket, named the “Perfecto” after Irving Schott’s favorite cigar, was designed to protect riders from the elements as well as accidents. The bomber became the name of the flight jacket during World War II. It was loved for its warmth and versatility, which allowed it to be worn in open cockpits.
Leather jackets were everywhere in the cult film The Wild One, and on the backs the Sex Pistols. It is a standard issue for mavericks, scoundrels, and sex symbols.
The garment is now likely to be the most expensive item in a wardrobe. Don’t be a rebel without knowing how to make wise purchases. A good leather jacket is one the best long-term fashion relationships you will have. These jackets are built to last and can be worn with many other items than you might think. If Danny Zuko is not your style icon, it’s okay. There are many ways to wear them that don’t require leather pants.
KEY LEATHER JACKET STYLES
The biker, a leather jacket made from a cropped, black leather, is the bad boy of outerwear. It has asymmetric zips and studs. The asymmetric cut was originally worn by motorcyclists. It allows riders to lean over their bikes with no fastenings digging in the body.
The first examples had a tight fit, with a D pocket and lapels that could be folded over or snapped down. This is Marlon Brando’s 1950s style. It is a rugged garment made from goatskin or cowhide.
This style is primarily youthful and edgy. It can be worn with skinny jeans but, in the right office, it can be thrown over an Oxford shirt or knit tie to replace a blazer. Whatever style you choose, ensure that the undergarments are lightweight. This is because it should be close to your body.
The field jacket, one of the most overlooked pieces of military menswear is a timeless classic. It was originally made in cotton drill fabric but has been updated to leather.
The M-65 is a longer style than others, and has multiple pockets in the front. It’s also belted at waist. It is often buttoned with hidden plackets and looks great in rich brown leather. As it falls below your waist, it will keep the weather out and protect you from the elements.
Neil Thornton, a menswear blogger, says that this is the bread and butter for brands like Barbour or Belstaff. He has previously worked at major department stores such as Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and Harrods. It’s the perfect winter look, especially if you live in the country. Style it with fitted jeans, a chunky knit, and classic Chelsea boots.
In recent years, the OG flight jacket has been a staple of menswear and it is easy to see why.
It is a simple, cropped shape with a fitted waist and cuffs and a central zip. However, it can be made in any material from shiny nylon to soft, flexible leather.
The bomber jacket is one of the most versatile outerwear styles a man can have. It has been worn by everyone, from Steve McQueen and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. The bomber jacket can transform its wearer into a Scandinavian chic skinhead, but it is best paired with raw denim and a basic white T-shirt or Chambray shirt.
Apart from sportswear and the military, menswear is influenced by the automotive world. Driving shoes, ribbed-knee pants, etc. Combine the two and wrap them in leather to create the racer jacket.
Many soldiers returned from World War II with the desire to race pre-war motorcycles between local cafes and pubs. This led to the creation of a minimalist, lightweight leather racing jacket. The jacket was made from heavy horsehide with a strong zipper at the main. It was popularized by the “Cafe Racer” in the 1960s.
Thornton says that this one is easy to wear and flatters your body. It’s perfect for showing off broad shoulders. However, you can also opt for thicker leather if your body is more pronounced.
The flight jacket is the most popular leather jacket. It was designed originally for pilots. It’s bulky and warm with a shearling lining, making it a great investment piece for both pilots and civilians.
Layering is a good way to keep cool. Plain trousers with a T-shirt and a knit or light gauge sweater are contemporary. Thornton says that you should balance the jacket’s weight by keeping the rest of your outfit slim-fitted and tailored.
You don’t want to look like you’re going to the Blitz-themed fancy dress party. This is very similar to the Indiana Jones outfit worn by Harrison Ford.
FAUX LEATHER JACKETS
Despite its cool credentials, a genuine leather jacket isn’t the most compassionate. A faux leather jacket is a great option if you are passionate about veganism but still want that rockstar feel.
Faux leather is often criticized for being shiny and cheap, but this is not unfounded. It is important to test the jacket in-store before buying. You will also find it less durable than real leather. It is lighter and more comfortable than real leather.
LEATHER JACKETS: DOS and DON’TS
DO NOT: USE YOUR LOCAL DRY CLEANER
Clarke says that professional cleaning can sometimes be unsatisfactory and can often make the skin look and feel worse. Clarke suggests either visiting a specialist, or taking on the job yourself.
To clean marks, use a damp sponge or cloth with soapy water (no bleach) to wipe them off. However, it is best to start in an area that will not be easily visible, such as the underarms. You can also clean the underarm and hems. Dry the garment with a soft, clean cloth.
DO: BUY A JACKET THAT SUITS
It is important to choose a jacket that suits you and feels comfortable. You can wear the same classic shape with many different outfits, but you won’t be able to match it with every trend.
DO NOT: WEAR IT IN THE SURFACE
Clarke says that this will cause the skin to become dry and stiff. If your jacket isn’t waterproofed first, let it dry naturally, then apply a conditioner or leather renewal cream to prevent it cracking.
DO: GO NEUTRAL
Like most leather jackets, you should choose black or brown over any brightly coloured.