A carefully selected, classic leather jacket should last a lifetime. But, as with all long-term relationships, it pays to do your research and choose wisely, otherwise the results may come back to haunt you.
Go for something that suits your style, is timeless, of good quality and - most importantly of all - makes you feel fabulous.
In this article:
- Why a classic leather jacket is a good investment
- Finding the right fit
- Styles of jacket
- Type, quality and finish of leather
- Style tips: How to get the look you’re after
- Leather care guide
Why a classic leather jacket is a good investment
You only have to look to the movies to understand the appeal of this iconic piece of clothing. From the motorcycle chic of James Dean in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ and Peter Fonda in ‘Easy Rider’, to the sexy, high kicking streamline look of Uma Thurman in ‘Kill Bill’, a leather jacket says ‘I’m so cool I don’t need to follow the undulations of fashion trends’.
This durable, breathable and long-lasting item of clothing will prove one of the most flexible and hardwearing items in your wardrobe. Although the initial purchase price might seem expensive, when you tot up the ‘cost per wear’ it gives you over the 20 or more years you might own it, a leather jacket will also probably prove to be one of your best investments.
Take your time and choose wisely. It’s very, very difficult to adjust leather (in a way that won’t break the bank, anyway), so it’s important to do your research and get everything right from the beginning, including the fit and detail.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to making the best choice.
Finding the right fit
Leather jackets have been worn for generations by those in the toughest of jobs, including cowboys seeking from protection from the wind and dust of the bush and World War Two fighter pilots who flew in lambskin to keep them warm in freezing, unpressurised cockpits.
These days you don’t need to be able to rope a steer or shoot down an enemy plane to slip on a leather jacket, but in doing so you are immediately identifying yourself and connecting with the style and verve of those hard-core pioneers. Here are some tips for finding the right fit:
- It’s essential to buy a jacket in a cut that flatters your body type. Some will make you look slimmer; others will give a bulkier outline.
- Jackets that are generous in the chest area and elasticated at the waist work best for those who are lean, with broad shoulders. If you are a little thicker in the midsection, think about buying a more flattering, streamlined jacket.
- Check that the sleeve length works for you. The cuffs should sit just on the wrist line; otherwise the jacket may look too small or too large for your frame.
- If in doubt, buy a jacket that feels a little snugger than the cut of your suits. This will give you an edgier style, and also compensate in advance for any slight stretching that will occur as the leather naturally moulds to your body.
Leather jackets are a sexy and sensual choice for women. Reminiscent of Sandy’s transformation from girl-next-door to girl-out-of-your-league in Grease, leather can inject a subversive, quirky twist to a work outfit or vamp up a pair of jeans.
- Choosing the right style is a clever way to ‘balance’ your body. If you have wide hips or are top heavy, go for a cut that emphasizes your other half.
- If you want to highlight your upper body, look for a close fitting jacket with a sheen or slight gloss. Zippers, studs and buttons add more interest and, thus, draw attention to the area you are trying to highlight.
- Need your hips to take centre-stage? Go for a sleek and simple cropped jacket in a neutral matte colour like black or brown. Avoid jackets with hip-length hemlines. These are only for the truly skinny, brave or flamboyant, as they will draw attention to your stomach area.
- A strong vertical zip will help elongate your body shape. This is especially helpful if you are on the short side.