by Sarah Makhluf
Sarah is a freelance content writer from Boston, MA. She loves traveling, fashion, and the beach.
You've heard it before. A great leather jacket should be soft yet tough, warm but not too warm, and flexible but still sturdy. What about the lining? The fabric that sits the closest to your skin is often overlooked. Is choosing the right lining for your leather jacket a big deal. No one will see it anyway, right? Haven't we all been told it's what on the inside that matters? Leather jacket linings can make a huge difference in your overall comfort level. Not sure which is best for your next jacket? Let us help. We're breaking down everything you need to know when it comes to choosing the perfect lining for your leather jacket.
When you're shopping for leather jackets, you'll usually come across three types of leather: Cow, Lamb, and Sheep.
Cowhide is the most widely used because it's easy to source, cheaper than the other options, and it's soft to the touch. Lamb leather is the second most popular type of leather used to make jackets. People often find it more soft, supple, and flexible than cowhide. Lamb leather is usually synonymous with luxury. High-end retailers and top designers often use lamb leather to create ultra-buttery leather jackets that typically ring in at a high price tag. Next, we have sheep leather. Think of this as an in-between type of material. It's super soft like lamb leather and more expensive than cowhide. That being said, it's more durable than lamb leather but usually a little less durable than cowhide.
As far as pricing goes, cowhide is often the most inexpensive, while sheep and lamb leather tend to be on the pricier side. It all depends on your budget and preferences, but depending on the hides' quality, all three types of leather can make excellent outer shells for a leather jacket.
When you think of what materials go into creating a leather jacket, surely the actual leather comes to mind, but what about the rest of the pieces? Leather jackets are so much more than a couple of pieces of material sewn together. You need special hardware, like super-strong zippers that can withstand wear & tear, good-quality buttons so your jacket won't come undone while you're wearing it, and lastly, the additional textiles. The lining is just as important as the type of leather the jacket is made from. Remember, you can't feel the leather on your skin; instead, you feel your leather jacket's lining. The last thing you want is the perfect leather jacket from the outside with a scratchy, uncomfortable lining on the inside.
Did you know that one tell-tale sign to check the leather jacket's quality is to look at the lining? Low-quality leather jackets will have a super-thin or very cheap-feeling lining. High-quality leather jackets often have two different linings, one for the body and one for the sleeves.
Natural cotton is used in tons of various types of garments. This breathable fabric is easy to work with, cost-effective, and often a go-to pick for many leather jacket manufacturers. Pure cotton feels soft and comfortable on the skin, and it's known to be durable. Cotton lining makes throwing a leather jacket on over other materials easy because it usually doesn't "stick" to your clothes like some other synthetic fabrics. A downside of cotton is that it can get wrinkled pretty easily, and it's known to shrink, so the wearer should be cautious when cleaning it.
You may recognize poly-cotton. It's a blend of polyester and cotton that's used in many different types of clothing. Poly-cotton is much lighter than other types of materials, which is why it's often used to make summer clothing. If you're worried about overheating in your leather jacket or planning to wear it in the spring/summer, this may be the best option for you. Poly-cotton is durable, long-lasting, and it's wrinkle-free, which is always a plus. However, some people do say that poly-cotton feels less comfortable on the skin. Not sure if you would ever need to iron the inside of your leather jacket, but in the event you do, poly-cotton doesn't iron well.
In some types of leather jackets like warm bomber jackets for the winter, you may find sherpa. This thick polyester fabric is made to look and feel like genuine sheepskin. It's easy to work with, and it's often added to the body of warmer leather jackets for better heat retention. Sherpa is inexpensive and doesn't require too much care and maintenance. One of the only disadvantages of sherpa is that it can draw dirt and dust very quickly.
Taffeta is a woven fabric that is usually used in luxury garments. It's smooth to the touch and gives off that silky effect you may notice in some leather jacket linings. Taffeta will always keep its shape, no matter how often you wear it. When it comes to leather jackets, usually luxury retailers will opt for piece-dyed taffeta because it's softer than traditional taffeta. A downside of this fabric is that it usually feels colder to the touch. Have you ever put on a jacket in the winter, and the inside was freezing? The lining was likely made with taffeta.
Wool blend is made with natural and synthetic fibers. Depending on the quality of the synthetics, wool blend liners can be quite comfortable. They provide that layer of additional warmth you'll want in chilly weather, and it's a long-lasting material. However, if the blend is made with low-quality synthetics, it may rip or come apart quicker than you would like or expect. This type of lining can only be dry cleaned, and unfortunately, it collects more dirt and dust than other materials.
Tip: Soap and water can permanently damage leather. Never wash your leather jackets in the washing machine. If your lining is dirty, either take it to a professional cleaner or spot-treat stains. If your lining feels dusty, try using a fabric roller to help eliminate particles without compromising the delicate leather.
Along with a slew of material options, some people use their lining color to show off more of their personality. Maybe you're the type of guy who loves a great printed liner that peeks out when you take off your jacket, or perhaps you want solid black to match with everything else in your closet. Leather jacket liners come in every color of the rainbow. If you're looking for a more subtle look, we recommended going with a classic black or grey. If you want to add a little flair, try for a cool print, bright blue, or deep purple.
Now that you know a little more about all the types of lining you can buy, what happens if you can't find your perfect lining? It's happened to the best of us. You go into a retail shop and find a killer leather jacket that catches your eye. It checks off all the boxes, it fits great, looks cool, and the price is right. But what happens when you're trying it on and the lining feels like one of your old itchy holiday sweaters your mom used to force you to wear every year for the holiday photo?
Going custom can help. It's rare to find a perfect piece of clothing at any retail store. Usually, an item will have its pros and cons. A leather jacket could fit in the shoulders but not in the waist. The arms can be too long or short, and it can be too baggy or tight - you get it. For most, the only way to get that perfect leather jacket is to stop searching for it in the stores and have one custom made instead.
When you opt to have a leather jacket custom made, you're completely in charge of the design process. You can pick out what kind of leather you want, which material you want your lining to be made of, and you'll have plenty of color choices to pick from. While being your own designer is a huge perk of going custom, arguably, the biggest reason people decide to have jackets (especially) custom made is that it's the only way to guarantee a flawless fit.
No matter your shape, size, or height, going custom means never having to pay extra to take your leather jacket to a tailor. Custom leather jackets are made-to-order, meaning only once the manufacturer has your exact measurements and requirements will they begin working on your garment. Custom leather jackets help make sure you get exactly what you want, from the style, color, hardware, and lining - you're in charge of it all!
If you have a hard time finding jackets in retail stores, going custom may be your best bet. No more hopping from shop to shop, trying to find something that fits and looks good. Now, you can have it made especially for you.
Keep in mind that having a custom leather jacket made is probably a lot less of a hassle than you would think. You can order and create a bespoke leather jacket with the Independence Brothers without ever having to leave your house. It's a myth that your local tailor has to make custom clothing or that it has to cost more than your rent payment. With today's technology, we're able to produce customized jackets in-house at our shop and ship them to your front door.
If you take anyway anything from this read, let it be this. Pay attention to the lining of your leather jackets. If you want the best feeling lining, don't go with a thin or cheap-feeling synthetic fabric. While you may get a few good wears out of it, cheap materials don't withstand the test of time. They're more prone to ripping and tend to be much less breathable.
When you're shopping for a leather jacket, look for a jacket with soft, silky lining in the sleeves - this will make putting on and taking your jacket off so much easier. Have you ever tried to take off a jacket and ended up also pulling your shirt's sleeve? A silky material will prevent your clothing from 'sticking' to your jacket.
If you're planning on wearing a bomber jacket all winter long, you'll want thick cotton, sherpa, or even a faux fur lining for additional warmth. If you're in the market for a great spring/summer leather jacket, we recommend going with poly-cotton. It's ultra-light and breathable and won't cause you to overheat during the warmer months.
First, thanks so much for reading. We hope this article gave you a little more insight on how to pick the perfect lining for your leather jacket. A great leather jacket shouldn't just look good from the outside; you should feel good wearing it! It's important to think about the minor details, like the lining, to make sure you're not just getting a garment you're happy with but also getting the most bang for your buck. You could spend hundreds of dollars on a leather jacket but never reach for it because you don't like the way it feels on the skin.
That's all we have for today. Do you have any thoughts on the perfect lining? Are you more of a 100% cotton kind of guy, or do you like a little warm sherpa to keep you warm? Let us know in the comments below. If you enjoyed the article, please pass it along to any fellow leather jacket-lovers!
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