Men have been wearing hides and skins since our knuckles stopped scraping the floor, but the modern-day leather jackets for men emerged in the early 1900s. Early aviators and military personnel, most notably the German Air Force during World War I, wore brown leather flight jackets.
In 1928, the first modern-looking style emerged. Irving Schott, a Manhattan raincoat maker, made a Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket. This leather jacket, dubbed the ‘Perfecto’ after his favorite cigar, was designed to protect riders from the elements and mishaps.
Known as the bomber during WWII, the flying jacket was renowned for its warmth, having been developed for use in open cockpits. Leather jackets for men and women have appeared in a variety of places since then, including the cult film The Wild One and the Sex Pistols’ backs.
Nowadays, the outfit is probably to become one of the largest pricey accessories to a closet, so don’t be a naive rebel – buy wisely. They’re made to last, to age with you, and to go with more things than you might think. If you don’t think Danny Zuko is a style icon, that’s great; there are plenty of alternative ways to sport the look that don’t involve leather pants.
Key Styles of Leather Jackets
Apart from the armed services and sportswear, the automobile industry — driving shoes, ribbed-knee jeans, and so on – has a major impact on menswear. The racing jacket is created by combining the two and wrapping them with leather.
When many troops returned home from World War II, they developed a taste for modifying pre-war motorcycles and racing them between local pubs and cafes, necessitating the development of a streamlined, minimalist leather racing jacket. Boy racers were believed to be adequately protected by strong horsehide and a powerful main zipper, and by the 1960s, the style known as the ‘Cafe Racer’ had become popular.
In recent times, the original flight jacket has established itself as a true menswear staple, and it’s easy to see why. Though it has the same basic structure, it comes in a variety of materials, from gleaming nylon to soft, delicate leather.
The bomber jacket is one of the most flexible outerwear silhouettes a guy can own, having been worn by everyone including Steve McQueen to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine on screen. It can take its wearer from skinhead to Scandinavian elegant, but raw denim with a basic white T-shirt or chambray shirt are the safest bets.
The field jacket is a cool and collected original that was initially portrayed in a cotton drill fabric but has since been upgraded in leather. It is one of the most underestimated items of military attire.
The M-65, as it’s known, is typically a little longer than other models, with many front pockets and a waist belt. It looks especially attractive in rich brown leather and, because it hangs just below the waistline, it will keep you warm and effectively conceal you from the elements. It is often fastened with a disguised placket.
Faux Leather Jackets
Jackets made of fake leather: A real leather jacket, despite its stylish factor, may not be the most animal-friendly option. So, if you’re a committed vegan who still wishes to channel your inner rockstar, a faux leather jacket seems to be a choice.
Faux leather has an undeserved, although not entirely unjustified, reputation for being cheap and gleaming. The trick is to try before you buy in-store, rather than ordering online, so you can see how the jacket appears in person. It also doesn’t last as long as real leather and is thinner, which may be appropriate if you’re just trying out the design or want a slimmer fitting than thick real leather, which can occasionally drown the wearer.
The flight jacket, maybe the most famous of all leather coats, was originally designed for pilots. Today, it’s a striking investment item for both pilots and sophisticated civilians alike, being bulky and having a shearling inside for warmth.
Make sure you don’t go crazy with the layering to stay cool in further ways than one. Plain pants with a light texture knit or T-shirt are straightforward and current. If you’re worried about seeming like you’re going to a Blitz-themed formal event, go for a version that doesn’t have the sheepskin collar.
The biker is a cropped leather jacket with studs and asymmetric zips that is considered the bad boy of the outerwear market. The asymmetric cut was meant to allow bikers to bend over their bikes without the clasps cutting into their bodies. It was first worn by motorcyclists. This tough clothing, crafted from goatskin, cowhide, or horsehide, was popularized by Marlon Brando in the 1950s.
It’s a teenage, edgy look that looks best with skinny jeans, but it can also be worn as a blazer substitute over an Oxford shirt and knitted tie in the correct office. Whatever you choose, make sure whatever you’re wearing underneath is light, as this style is meant to be worn close to the body.
Best Leather Jacket Brands
A Cult Japanese antique brand, Real McCoy’s is primarily influenced by ’50s and ’60s Americana, so when it comes to its world-class assortment of leather jackets imagine more Marlon Brando in 1953 classic The Wild One than anything made this century.
Look for exceptional details like retro gold Talon zippers and a more eco-friendly vegetable tanning method, as well as curved outer pocket stitching and a silky rayon lining.
H&M is a Swedish mega-retailer that sells real and imitation leather jackets for men and women at a very low price. Buying on the high street allows you to be more adventurous, fashion-forward, and possess multiple designs without needing to sell your automobile.
But it’s not only about basic fashions; it also provides premium grade real leather outerwear that belie their price tag, alongside counterfeit leather bikers for the price of a night out. The collection is updated on a regular basis, but the company tends to stick to tried and true trends.
Cromford Leather Company
For almost 45 years, this business has specialized in leather, suede, and shearling, and is named after the village of Cromford in Derbyshire, which was the origin of the industrial revolution. It is based on Marylebone’s Chiltern Street and provides bespoke, made-to-measure leather jackets for men, and adjustments services in addition to its own line, which is completely handmade in London.
Celebrities and film wardrobe designers are among the brand’s clients, presumably drawn by the brand’s superior leathers, that are hand-picked from tiny tanneries around Europe.
The Schott family has been making real items in the United States for almost a century. For a Long Island Harley Davidson distributor, Irving Schott developed and manufactured the first leather motorcycle jacket. The Perfecto was a symbol of adventure, danger, and excitement for this new generation of bikers.
This is the jacket that Marlon Brando wore when riding his motorcycle in The Wild One, and it’s reported that James Dean wore it all the time. Rock icons like The Ramones, Blondie, Joan Jett, and The Sex Pistols wore the Perfecto throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It’s one of those unique designs that will never go out of style, but the company has also branched out to produce high-quality racers.
Belstaff has been creating motorcycle gear since the 1920s, and is preferred by everyone from A-list actors to the Pope. While the British company offers a variety of leather jacket types, its long, belted variants are possibly its most well-known.
Look for alternatives that have been hand-waxed for a worn-in look that will only improve with age. It also has a water-repellent coating, so don’t be scared to wear it in the rain.
AllSaints was founded in 1994 and is noted for its leather jackets, with one of the most extensive collections on the high street. The characteristic design here is a cleaned and somewhat faded finish in short modern pieces like bikers and bombers, which is ideal for individuals looking for a grunge aesthetic.
Expect smooth, supple leathers cut slim in a spectrum of dark grays and blacks that fits the rest of the mainline range, as one would expect from a brand that designs with a heavy dose of rock ‘n’ roll attitude.
Premium label Reiss provides a collection of close-fitting leather jackets for men, including the bomber and racer that are cut as well as it suits, in keeping with its characteristic tailored look.
The larger price tags at the top end of the high street are usually matched by a higher quality of leather and stronger finishes on the zips and buttons than you’ll find elsewhere.
Acne Studios, the king of the Scandi labels, defies the minimalist stereotype by adopting a much more absolutist high fashion approach. This is reflected in the soft-as-butter Napa leather jackets, which feature runway-sized necks and an abundance of metallic zips, as well as completely needless but unquestionably exquisite belted waists.
Acne’s fits are either enormous or cropped high, and the shoulders are cut exceedingly tight. When it comes to standing out, there is no such thing as a middle ground.
Mango Man, a Spanish high-street powerhouse, has a more classic look than its edgier, trend-following peers down the street. Expect elegant design with subtle details that aren’t overdone, as you’d expect from a mass-appealing high street business, in a variety of styles.
Dusty brown tones are a nice contrast to glossy black, and the standout style is a simple motorcycle jacket with a clean notched collar pinched from tailoring and no dazzling, flashy zips.
Keanu Reeves’ resurgence reached new heights when he starred in a series of black-and-white advertising for the luxury fashion house Saint Laurent. Of course, Reeves looked magnificent, but the photos would have been meaningless if it hadn’t been for the stunning Saint Laurent leather jacket he was wearing.
With a clear, minimalist look and an arena-ready thin cut, the black LJ has become a standard for the most rock and roll label in high fashion. This is the leather jacket as delivered by Hollywood’s finest.
How much should a leather jacket for mencost?
As many price points as there are jackets, there are as many pricing points as there are jackets. In general, you get what you pay for, although while you may pay for the brand name in some situations, the price is mainly determined by the quality and type of leather used.
The sort of leather you choose is determined by what you want from your jacket. Prioritize calfskin or lambskin if you want something buttery soft, but keep in mind that this may not be as robust as a thick biker-style hide.
Look for ‘full grain’ leather jackets for the greatest quality. These are made from the highest-quality hides and are initially stiff due to their thickness. The natural grain has been polished off and the leather has been stamped to give it a uniform appearance. You can obtain wonderful leather alternatives like polyurethane for even less money, which will appeal to individuals who desire the aesthetic but don’t want to use animal skins.
The Dos and Don’ts of leather jackets for men
Don’t: Believe you’re “The One”
You’ll look like a 1990s doorman at a lousy nightclub if you try to copy Neo’s coat (or anything that ends lower than the top of your thighs, for that matter).
Do: Get a suitable jacket.
It’s critical to pick a jacket that is both comfy and appropriate for your appearance. Trends come and go, so choose one of the traditional shapes above and you’ll be comfortable wearing it with more things for longer.
Don’t: Use your local dry cleaner to clean your leather jackets.
Wipe away any blemishes with a damp cloth or sponge dampened with soapy water – no bleach – but test first in an area that will not be visible, such as inner hems or the underarm area.
Do: Select a neutral color
If you want the most wear out of a leather jacket, choose black or, at a stretch, brown over anything too brilliantly coloured, just like you would with most other items in your closet.
Don’t: Assume that you must buy new.
If a fresh style is out of your price range, consider old. It pays to purchase offline in this case because the smell, condition, and overall fit are best assessed in person.
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