The ultimate guide to a leather jacket
Very few pieces of apparel stand the test of time like a leather jacket. Leather was what our ancestors wore when they lived in caves, and we’ve pretty much not stopped wearing it since. First made into jackets at the turn of the 1900s and snapped up by early aviators and the military, the humble leather jacket has not looked back.
So what is it about this item of clothing that keeps on giving? Besides being the epitome of cool, a simple leather jacket is just a versatile classic - and your wardrobe isn’t complete until it’s got one.
But without throwing money at just any leather jacket, how do you know which one you should purchase? Well, seeing as they’re built to last, it’s probably a good idea to put a bit of thought into your purchasing decision. So, what do you need to know about buying (and caring for) a leather jacket?
Here’s your ultimate guide to a leather jacket.
How much do leather jackets cost?
There are so many different price points for a leather jacket, from the cheap, nasty pleather jackets that cost pennies, through to the fashion houses’ labelled jackets that sit in the thousands.
And these prices are fairly typical for a quality leather jacket. Especially one made from sheep leather (which creates a buttery soft leather jacket) that has come from sheep reared here in the UK (Scotland to be exact), and stitched with precision in a factory that practices favourable work conditions in India, before coming home to you.
As a general rule, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. So if you’re looking to secure yourself a bargain and get a leather jacket for a steal, don’t expect quality and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last.
The devil is in the details (of your leather jacket)
When you’re weighing up which leather jacket to purchase, don’t just check out what the leather is and looks like (and feels like), check out all the aspects that make up your leather jacket.
From the details of the stitching to the quality of the zip, you’ll be surprised at the level of care and attention that goes into creating a quality leather jacket. So don’t fall for the first one you see.
Make sure every stitch is finished, every zip is designed to last and that any buttons are sewn on tightly.
Some dos and don’ts of owning a leather jacket
Before you part with any cash, there are some important dos and don’ts that come with owning an icon.
- Don’t dry clean your leather jacket.
The chemicals that a dry cleaners use will damage your leather jacket, usually irreparably. So if your jacket gets dirty, simply use a damp cloth with a little soapy warm water - definitely no bleach - to clean off any marks. Then dry the wet patch with a soft cloth - never leave your leather jacket to dry on its own, the leather can become hard and brittle.
Check out our 7 tips to look after a leather jacket for more guidance on cleaning your coat.
- Don’t follow fashion when it comes to buying a leather jacket.
If fashion dictates that you purchase a leather jacket that barely covers your naval or the sleeves end at the elbow, stop. If your leather jacket falls into the fast fashion category, step away from it.
A leather jacket is an investment for life (because if you look after your leather jacket it will last you your lifetime), not just for a season. It’s imperative that you purchase a leather jacket that doesn't just fit you, but it has to suit your frame too.
Check out our post on how to choose a leather jacket for more tips on picking a leather jacket that is right for you.
- Do store your leather jacket correctly.
If you want your leather jacket to last a long time, you have to take care of it. And that means storing it correctly.
- Don’t chuck it in a cupboard damp
- Always dry your leather jacket gently and allow it to air properly
- Don’t hang your leather jacket on anything other than a rounded hanger as it will stretch and mould to the shape of a sharp edge
- Don’t think your leather jacket is just for the winter.
A leather jacket is a great piece to wear all year round, even in the summer. That’s what makes them so versatile - from the depths of winter to the height of summer, a leather jacket is the jacket for all seasons and works well over a thin t-shirt or layered over a wooly jumper. Just make sure your leather jacket isn’t too fitted and there's no reason why you can’t wear yours all year round.