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A good leather jacket is as reliable and timeless a wardrobe staple as, say, a quality wool coat, a classic trench coat or a well-tailored blazer.

An ideal choice for the off-season and cold summer, a favorite story of the promoters of the minimal wardrobe (“minimal wardrobe”), an eternal classic that does not change its shape (“biker”, “aviator”, fencing jacket or “bomber”), this jacket will be worn for years, saving you the headache of “what to wear on top” and getting your money back on your investment.

With the most popular classic option - a well-fitting black biker leather jacket - you can combine casual, hooligan, edgy, and evening looks, beyond age, beyond seasonal fashion...

LEATHER JACKET

A leather jacket is worth a lot. Even mass-market brands will ask for 100-150 dollars for their twists, and most likely these will be things of very mediocre quality (a controversial investment). The middle segment – $200-700 per jacket – will differ fundamentally in quality, not to mention luxury items, the price of which starts from $500 per item and above.

Unlike other clothes, such a difference in cost is not at all a “brand markup”, since the price is made up of very clear components: the quality of the leather (the most expensive component), the quality of the zipper, the type of cut (the cheaper the jacket, the fewer details), quality of stitching, quality of lining.

As mentioned above, a good jacket will serve you happily ever after, so it makes sense to take the time to choose the best option available to you within your budget.

LEATHER

The clothing market is structured in such a way that brands of different price categories often produce items in the same factories. In other words, the same production (contractor company specializing in cutting and sewing leather jackets) can work with, for example, Zara, and with, say, Helmut Lang. At the same time, the price of the finished item will differ several times for various reasons, and primarily because of the quality of the leather.

Items in the $100-$300 range are most often made from reclaimed leather. What it is? This is genuine leather of not very good quality (with a large number of flaws - scars, irregularities and other consequences of the lifestyle of the animal from which it was removed), processed in a special way. The surface of such leather is treated with dyes, various types of spraying, and sometimes even leatherette patches are pressed into it to remove external defects. Restored leather feels harder to the touch, is smoother in appearance and has that slightly plastic sheen and smell.

High-quality leather of the first grade is very soft to the touch, and it has a natural oily sheen and larger pore grains, since it is not covered with any microfilm on top. Some manufacturers even preserve the original texture of the leather with its minor flaws to emphasize the naturalness of the material.

The most common types of leather:

  • Cow leather is the most durable and relatively affordable.
  • sheepskin (lambskin) is a very soft leather; today jackets are made from it more and more often, as it is much more comfortable to wear. Its disadvantages: it is much more fragile than cow's and requires more careful handling. And things made from it are more expensive, since several skins are needed for one jacket.
  • veal (calfskin) – something between the first two options. Calf leather combines the strength of cow leather and the softness of sheepskin leather, which is why luxury brands prefer to make their jackets from it.

Cheap items are most often made from pig or bovine leather (it is denser and tougher); in addition, there is a whole range of exotic leathers - deer, crocodile, goat, etc., which are used much less frequently for jackets, so special attention in this they don't deserve a topic.

In addition to the type of leather, it is important to pay attention to the type of dressing. The structure of leather is similar to a layer cake, and during the dressing process some of the layers can be removed (for example, to make suede, manufacturers remove the top layer from the leather).

MAIN TYPES OF DRESSING:

  • full grain leather is a tanning process in which the top and bottom layers of leather remain intact. Many experts believe that it is worth looking for and buying products made from this kind of leather: it has natural pores, which allows the product to “breathe”; such leather retains natural fats, which prolong the life of the product. The only negative is that this leather is thicker than top grain, and less flexible when worn (things are rougher).
  • top grain leather is a dressing in which the bottom layer is removed (from which suede is then made), and the top layer remains untouched or is treated with natural oils. This leather has all the advantages of full grain, and at the same time it is thinner and more comfortable to wear (though also more vulnerable).
  • Corrected leather is a tanning process in which the top layer is first rubbed down (to remove scars and other imperfections in the skin) and then restored using special processing.

Corrected leather differs from full grain and top grain in the evenness of its pores and special smoothness. When worn, corrected leather loses its shape/stretches faster, since the structure of the fabric is damaged, and wears out faster on the folds/edges. Some brands use more noble polished leather in product descriptions, but in essence it is the same, the term just sounds nicer.

The most expensive items are made from top grain leather, which is often referred to as naked leather in the description and on labels. If you choose an item online, and the description says full grain leather, then be prepared for the item to be more “oaky.”

FIRMWARE

The stitching of the jacket parts is an important decorative element. We won’t talk about the evenness of the stitching; for items costing $200 and above this is an a priori indicator, but it’s worth paying attention to the thickness of the stitching. Higher quality jackets are stitched with even, dense natural thread; some manufacturers skimp on this element. Top brands work with the German company Guttermann, it produces threads for stitching leather products, and this stitching is clearly visible.

LINING

Cheaper jackets “sit” on a synthetic lining, the problem with it is not only that the thing “does not breathe”, but also that its strength is much less than the strength of leather, that is, after some time you will have to patch it or even change.

Higher quality items have thick cotton, cupro, thick silk or a combination of different materials for the sleeves and body of the jacket as lining.

LIGHTNING

Branded jackets in the mid-segment ($200 – 500) will most likely be equipped with a YKK zipper (this is a manufacturer of zippers for the fast fashion market). There is nothing bad about it, it is a good zipper, not too soft, but with a large margin of safety. Well, not very interesting in design.

More expensive items will most likely have a RiRi zipper - this is an Italian company that produces two-way sliding zippers. They are heavier in weight, denser and look more interesting, not just playing a functional role, but being part of the overall design.

FIT

A real leather jacket should have a shoulder armhole slightly higher than usual - a wide sleeve armhole makes the item more comfortable to wear, you can raise your arms without the whole jacket going up. A thing made of high-quality leather will continue to fit when worn, but from the very beginning it is important that there is no bubble on the back, so that you can easily move your arms, so that the jacket fits well both unbuttoned and buttoned.

Think in advance about what you will wear your jacket with - if you are a fan of thick sweaters, then try it on over a thick sweater. It is important that the jacket does not constrain you like the armor of a crusader, but also does not hang around you like a bag.

CHECKLIST WHEN BUYING A LEATHER JACKET:

  1. Leather quality - remember the item with your fingers, look at the texture in the light (pore size, shine), read the label (what kind of leather, what type of dressing).
  2. Finish – stitch evenness, thread thickness, zipper brand, weight and appearance.
  3. Lining – material, combination of materials (we look with our eyes, we feel, we study the label).
  4. Fit according to your figure, trying on clothes of different thicknesses (buttoning, unfastening, moving your arms and shoulders).