Six tips to help you buy the perfect leather jacket
Are you planning to buy a leather jacket? Read on for six tips to help you buy a piece you’ll love to wear for years to come.
Buying a leather jacket is making an investment in your wardrobe, with a piece that should last you many years. So it’s important you choose wisely. To help you find the perfect leather jacket, we’ve put together six tips for you.
1) Choose a style that will last
As tempting as it may be to choose a leather jacket that is distinctly on trend right now, it’s worth considering more simple, classic styles. For most people a leather is a fairly big purchase, and one they hope will last them many years.
And the problem with a very of-the-moment look is that it won’t necessarily age well, and you can find yourself going off it as quickly as you fell in love with it.
So if you’re hoping for an investment piece, you are probably better off choosing a classic style of leather jacket that never really dates and that you will want to wear year after year. Three of the most common classic styles of leather jacket are biker jacket, bomber jacket and flight jacket.
2) Have one made for you
If you really want the perfect leather jacket – your ideal colour, shape, type of leather and perfect fit, you may want to consider investing in a tailor-made piece.
Custom leather jackets will cost more than an off-the-peg jacket, but can be styled to your exact requirements. And when you calculate the cost per wear over the years, plus the joy it brings you, you may consider it an investment well worth making.
3) Decide on the type of leather you want
If you aren’t too familiar with leather jackets, you may assume they are all made from the same material. But leather jackets can be made from a wide variety of skins. These can range from the more common cow, sheep, lamb, goat and calfskin, to the more exotic kangaroo, deer, pig and crocodile.
The type of leather jacket you choose will depend largely on availability, price, style and feel. As a quick guide, cowhide is popular for its strength and durability (men’s Biker Jackets are usually made from cowhide).
Lambskin, meanwhile is very soft and supple – and also very expensive. As a result, it is often used for more premium products. And calfskin is both tough and supple, making it more expensive than both.
4) Pick your leather grain
Getting into more detail, you also need to consider what type of leather you want. Do you prefer full-grain leather, top-grain leather, or corrected leather?
In full-grain leather pieces, the entire hide is used in its natural state. This means it will have unaltered marks, scars, and patterns. This type of leather usually ages well and is more expensive as only the very best quality hides can be used.
Top-grain leather is split from bottom layers. As a result It is thinner and more flexible. Top-grain leather is most frequently used for fashion leather jackets. And finally, corrected-grain leather is the lowest quality grade, and is processed to try to make it look like higher grade leather.
5) Think about the stitching
The best quality leather jackets will have clean and neat stitching. They are usually stitched carefully with a strong polyester thread, and the thread will be even, with no loose ends.
Some people like their leather jackets to include decorative stitching; for example on the pockets. Bear in mind that, as per our initial point, you may want a leather jacket that will last you for many years, so try not to opt for any stitching that may date. Decorative stitching and details will also increase the price of a leather jacket due to the extra work involved.
6) Look at the hardware
Many leather jackets come with accessories (also known as ’embellishments’), including patches, motifs, studs, eyelets, buckles, buttons and zips. Some hardware, like zips and buttons, have a functional role, whereas others are purely for decoration.
If you are buying a leather jacket with hardware, check the quality. When it comes to zips, YKK and RiRi are well known brands. They are chosen because they are shinier, stronger and zip up and down smoothly. Not only will they last for many years, but they are a good sign that other elements of the jacket are good quality too.