by Sarah Makhluf
Sarah is a freelance content writer from Boston, MA. She loves traveling, fashion, and the beach.
Leather jackets are truly one of the most versatile articles of clothing any man or woman can own. How have they managed to stay in style for over 100 years? While some tweaks have been made throughout the last decades, the leather jacket has not changed all that much. There are way more options today and ways to style them, so in reality, they are only getting better with age. Today, the men’s fashion industry is so much more abundant than even a couple of decades ago. Men have more options, styles, and colors to choose from. Any stylist would agree that one of the top items all men need in their wardrobe is a stellar leather jacket.
Let’s begin with deciding on a style. With so many to choose from, how do you know what will be the most flattering on your body type? Also, how many styles of leather jackets are out there? Well, a lot, but don’t worry that just means your perfect one is within reach. We are going to dive into the most common styles: The Racer Jacket, The Biker Jacket, The Bomber Jacket, and The Flight Jacket. Remember, leather jackets come in a slew of colors and sizes as well. Retailers today aim to please everyone and offer inclusive sizing to give men as many options as possible. Check out the list below for the ultimate guide on choosing the best leather jacket for your shape.
What is it - The racer leather jacket is influenced by the automotive world, specifically moto racing. Meaning they were initially designed to protect the motorbike racers without adding too much bulk. Today, the style has remained the same.
How should it fit - The racer or ‘cafe racer’ jackets are cut slim and come without any frills or extras on them. They should hug your body and leave little to no room between your chest and the jacket.
Looks best on - These jackets accentuate anyone with broad shoulders and a slimmer build.
What is it - The biker jacket is usually what comes to people’s minds when they think of a leather jacket. Also knows as the “double rider” or “motorcycle jacket.” It’s the ultimate bad boy classic of men's outerwear. Made famous by Marlon Brando in the 1950s. Not surprisingly given the name, this one was also made for motorcycle riders, but unlike the racer, this one was designed for motorists to be able to lean over their bikes without anything digging into their midsection.
How should it fit - This is a cropped jacket, so it should hit right where your t-shirt ends; if it's too long it will take away the appeal. This style is also cut to fit close to the body and the arms, and chest should be somewhat snug.
Looks best on - The biker jacket can complement a number of different body types. If you are larger in your midsection, another one on the list may suit you better because this jacket is made to be somewhat cropped.
What is it - Arguably the OG of all leather jackets, that’s what it is. The flight or ‘bomber’ jacket was originally created for pilots during WWI. They are bulky and lined with shearling for added warmth. During WWII the aviation jackets were produced again, giving us the A-2 Jacket and G-1. The G-1 was made ultra-famous by Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
How should it fit - This jacket is meant to fit on the looser side, they are not skin tight, and they are heavier than the others.
Looks best on- Anyone can pull off a bomber jacket! If you are self-conscious about your tummy, this jacket easily camouflages all. Alternatively, if you have a skinny frame, the coat will give you the look of a bit of bulk on your body.
What is it- While it may resemble the flight jacket the bomber jacket does come with its differences. This one features a cropped body with a fitted waist, and cuffs. The bomber jacket is quite a bit lighter than the flight jacket and does not have a fur lining.
How should it fit - The bomber jacket has a simple shape. It should fall right about to the hem of your shirt, and the cuffing on the waist and arms shouldn’t feel restrictive. There should be enough room to wear a sweater or shirt underneath and still feel comfortable.
Looks best on - This jacket looks great on tall or short men! Because the bomber jacket is so simple, styling this jacket on any body type is a breeze.
Genuine - Don’t be fooled by genuine leather, the name has nothing to do with the quality. In fact, it’s one of the lowest leather qualities you can buy. The appeal to genuine leather is that it’s usually cheaper than the other grains.
Top Grain - Top grain is not the highest quality, although the name does kind of indicate that. It’s actually the second best grain. The outermost layer of top grain leather is sanded down and buffed to remove any flaws. This is the most common leather grain.
Full Grain - Full grain is the best of the best. This leather has never been altered or sanded down because there are no imperfections to correct. With it being the top quality, it’s also the most expensive.
Take a look at some of the top retailers for leather jackets.
Schott NYC - The Schott family has been knocking out some of the most iconic leather jackets for more than a century. They are the ones behind the jacket Marlon Brando wore in The Wild One, and rumor has it that James Dean was rarely seen without his Schott Perfecto. Today, they are still one of the number one shops for authentic leather goods made in the USA.
H&M - The Swedish born mega-retailer offers real leather jackets at affordable prices. The cool thing with shopping at a more budget-friendly store is that you can experiment with more looks without having to invest a lot.
Lewis Leathers - Britain's oldest moto clothing company still makes some of best leather jackets out there today. Established in 1892, the authentic biker label started producing moto jackets in the 1950s geared toward the post-war fashion market.
Independence Brothers - The family-run company from the USA has been making top quality leather jackets for over a decade. They have exceptional customer service and even an option to have a jacket custom made on their site.
Have you thought about what color jacket will suit you best? Or, where you can wear it? Check out these tips and tricks below to keep in mind while shopping:
To dress up - Pair with a button up shirt or thin sweater, a dark wash pair of jeans or slacks, and a great pair of leather boots.
To dress down - Pair with a plain white t-shirt, light washed or ripped jeans, and go for a classic tennis sneaker like a pair of Vans or Converse.
Take a look at these three looks we have come up with for further style inspiration.
Business casual - Best for young professionals. A classic racer jacket would be a perfect addition to your everyday work look. To get a Euro-chic vibe, try pairing your leather jacket with a brightly colored or printed shirt underneath.
Everyday casual - For an everyday look I would go with a bomber jacket, they are easy to throw on, warm, and go with everything. If you are looking for something more lightweight, try a moto jacket paired with a sweater or turtleneck to remain casual, stylish, and comfy.
Badass rock-n-roll - Looking to show up to a party or special occasion in style? Go for the classic double rider, and you will not be disappointed. Add that cool guy flair to your outfit by rocking the classic motorcycle jacket.
The unique thing about fashion is that it’s continually changing. Trends come and go, styles evolve, and we as people start to like different things. Also, trends usually come back. Take for example the leather trench coat, in the 90s it was huge, then it took about a 20-year hiatus, and today it’s back in style. The more modern jackets are cut more narrow. In the last few decades, we saw a lot of men wearing leather jackets that were way too big, but that was in style, today that’s gone. Men are looking for the ideal fit without having too much bulk or extra fabric.
Finding your own style is something that you should look at as an opportunity to make you feel the best you possibly can. While it may seem trivial, wearing properly fitted clothes that look good can have a massive impact on your self-confidence and how you portray yourself to others. When we don’t feel that we look our best, our moods tend to drop, and we are not as positive as we can be. The thing to focus on here is finding a style that you feel comfortable in, something that is not too far out of your comfort zone, but instead a piece of clothing that will compliment your body and personal style. The better you look, the better you feel. As the legendary fashion designer Ralph Lauren says: “Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” - Ralph Lauren
Do - Clean your jacket with a damp cloth and gentle soap.
Don’t - Wear your leather jacket during a rainstorm.
Do - Store it correctly. Try using a padded hanger so the shoulders of your jacket won't become distorted.
Don’t - Take your leather jacket to the dry cleaner. Many cases have happened where dry cleaning leather changed the appearance and finish of the coat.
Thanks for reading the ultimate 2021 leather jacket outfits guide. We hope you not only enjoyed it but also learned something along the way. Get excited about your new leather jacket, after all, it’s a piece of clothing that if taken care of will be with you for years to come. Explore your personal style and show the world your true personality with the perfect leather jacket, whether you’re a badass punk rocker, a classic suit and tie kind of a guy, or the ultimate chiller, a leather jacket will fit in seamlessly in your wardrobe. If you enjoyed this read, please pass it along to friends and family!
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