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Buyer's Guide for Leather Jackets

With the season changing, many of us are starting to look for some kind of leather outerwear to help us stay warm and in style. Whether you are looking for a leather jacket or coat, the choices in the market are plentiful. You can find pretty much any color and style to suit your taste along with the best quality. It could be a difficult task to judge the quality or fit when searching online. Well, here’s your guide to buying the perfect jacket.

Determine What you Want to Wear

Buying a leather jacket seems to be an easy task but there are several aspects that should be kept in mind while buying a jacket. First, pick your style. A classic black or brown leather jacket must be your choice if you want to keep it simple, traditional and elegant. However, if you desire to do something in contrast to classics then modern leather jackets can be your treat. These are based on the latest trends and efficiently exhibit current fashion style, patterns and colors.

Leather Jacket Fitting

Leather Jacket Fitting is an essential factor that should be kept in mind while selecting your best jacket. You may come across various fits for leather outfits, therefore it is essential to make sure that the jacket you’re buying compliments your body well. Leather Jackets are available in two types of fitting, vintage and regular. Vintage is referred to slim fit jackets and regular refers to a jacket with a bit of loose fitting.

Leather Jackets for Summer

If you desire to wear captivating leather jackets which is also suitable for summer as well as winter. Then removable lining jackets are something to serve the purpose. These jackets have detachable lining which can be removed during summer and attached during winter. However, if you want a jacket especially to don during summer, then obviously especially designed Spring Fall leather jackets are your treat. These jackets are designed out of suitable materials which are ideal for summer season, as they make the attire look chic and at the same time keep the wearer fresh.

Leather Types

The most common question we come across is “What leather will be best for my jacket”, Different types of leather suits different types of jackets styles. This is an important point and worth remembering. The type of leather used is always dependent on the style and purpose of the leather garment. Beware of retailers who only use one type of leather in all their jackets. It suggests they don’t fully understand the subtleties and characteristics of the material.

The main difference between leather types is the animal from which it’s taken. It goes like this “Larger the animal, the thicker and heavier the leather”.

Cow Hide - The toughest of the hides and used in jackets. Strong heavy flexible whip usually made of braided leather. The leather is on the stiff side and offers excellent resistance and protection but at the expense of weight. You will often find it used in motorcycle protective gear. And biker styles where toughness is the prime consideration. Jackets made of cowhide can take a long time to “wear in”.


Buffalo Hide – Most of the characteristics of buffalo hide are same as cow hide. The main difference between these two is that buffalo hide has more visible grains then cow hide.


Sheep and lamb – Grains are fine, more supple than buffalo and cow but tough, durable and lightweight. This leather gives a nice buttery feel. Sheep hides offer a good balance between comfort, style and strength. They particularly suit jacket styles where suppleness is important such as bomber jackets, blazers and reefers, especially in women leather jackets.


Leather Finishes

After establishing the leather type, the next step is to look for the processes that have been applied to hides. Different tanning processes produce distinct finished leather which affects the overall appearance of the product.

Top grained (protected and coated) - Top Grain leather used in all applications; car upholstery, jackets and clothing. This one is the easiest to maintain and most durable. It has an extremely fine finished look and is somewhat heavier. If a drop of water is spilled, it will bead up, cause no darkening of the spot and is easily wiped away.

Nappa/Napa - Nappa leather is full-grain leather made from an unsplit skin and noted for softness and durability. Velvety to the touch, nappa leather is among one of the highest qualities of leathers and the most lightweight and soft. It is used in high-quality leather products. This quality leather offers great protection against the wind along with being resistant and warm.

Aniline - Aniline leather is a type of leather in which high quality hides have been treated with anilin as a dye. This produces delicate, soft, supple leather.

Typically, leather is colored both for aesthetic reasons and to conceal blemishes. Aniline dye colors leather without producing the uniform coloring of pigmented leather. Any visible variations on the surface of the un-dyed leather such as natural blemishes will remain visible.Full aniline leather utilizes aniline dye to achieve a natural look, without any other finish. Semi-aniline leather also utilizes aniline dye and then adds a protective transparent topcoat finish that the full aniline leather lacks.

Nubuck - Nubuck is a type of high quality rawhide leather that is sanded to achieve a bit of a nap. This creates a velvety like texture that is similar to suede but with a very distinctive difference. Both have been sanded to give them a soft feel. The difference is that Nubuck leather is sanded on the inside part of the leather, whereas suede is sanded on the outside

Suede – Its type of Leather that is finished by buffing the flesh side (opposite the grain side) to produce a nap. Term refers to the napping process, and is unrelated to the type of skin used. See "Split Leather".


Types of Leather Jacket

Leather jackets come in many styles and colors but basically they all fall under four major categories.

Biker Leather Jackets

Leather biker jackets are a perfect blend of style and protection. Leather has extraordinary toughness and resistance to wind and rain. The key characteristics of biker leather jackets are as follows:

  1. Biker jackets use zip fastenings to prevent the wind from entering the jacket and also to protect contents in pockets at hight speed.
  2. Press stud flaps are used on shoulders in most of the biker jacket for securing back bag at high speed.
  3. Biker jackets normally have Shoulder and Elbow panels for added protection.
  4. To reduce the wind buffeting while riding at speed, its goes slim fit across the body and arms.
  5. Collar straps and cuff zippers help prevent the wind entering the jacket.

Above mentioned Features are usually visible in all biker leather jackets but over the years, biker jackets have evolved to fashion biker jackets for casual use as well.

Bomber Leather Jackets

Leather jackets that were initially worn by aviators and military men are Bomber jackets. They generally have the following features:

  1. Most bomber jackets feature Rib knit collar, cuffs or hem, these add-ons were used in bomber jackets for extra comfort.
  2. The purpose of Rib knit is to seal the openings to keep the heat inside.
  3. It's a bit loose fit around the body and arms for extra insulation and more room for movement in the cockpit.
  4. Large front or bellows pockets were used to carry aviation charts, flare guns etc.
  5. These jackets are a bit long compared to biker jackets.

Leather Blazers

Blazer is an evolution of traditional suit jackets. Blazer resembles a coat cut more casually which does not need matching pants unlike a suit. Key features are:

  1. Blazers are usually solids in dark blue, navy, black, burgundy, dark green, red and white or ivory.
  2. Like Cloth Blazers, leather blazers also have either one or two vents at the rear hem.
  3. Usually single breasted with either one, two or three buttons.
  4. Two button jackets tend to be a little slimmer as the silhouette nips in at the waist. Three button jackets on the other hand are straighter throughout the body.
  5. Blazers usually come with flaps to maintain the clean lines.
  6. Leather blazers feature cuffs with buttons.

Reefer Jackets

Reefer jackets are quite similar to blazers but have more casual features and also have a higher button break point.

  1. Three or four buttons, often right up to the neck point
  2. Wider lapels
  3. Reefer jackets have plain backs
  4. Slanted hip pockets

Key Features of Well Made Leather Jacket

In the end, following points should be taken into consideration for selecting your jacket.

  1. As leather is a natural product & it varies from piece to piece. Care has to be taken during stitching to ensure that the pieces match in color and tone.
  2. Trimming needs to be done after stitching process, Normally manufacturars skip this part to save laborcosts.
  3. Jacket should have YKK Zippers. They are more expensive, so if you see a YKK branded zip on a jacket, then it measns that manufacturer has invested in higher quality components throughout.
  4. A quality leather jacket will have as much attention to detail on the inside as the outside. Check to see how many internal pockets are provided.
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