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Leather Jacket Guide: Schott Perfecto Jacket

January 15, 2019

Leather Jacket Guide: Schott Perfecto Jacket

90 years ago, Irving Schott designed the “lancer front” leather jacket. It’s been a staple ever since. And why not? The Perfecto leather jacket speaks to the American man: from punks, to motorcyclists, to Marlon Brando, the classic Perfecto jacket roars masculinity.

While leather motorcycle jackets define a motorcyclist’s wardrobe, don’t let that keep it from defining yours. From casual to classic, there’s space in any man’s style for this jacket. Dress to impress.

The Schott Perfecto jacket is a top-leading model from a top-leading brand, using quality leather and materials. Schott NYC has been in business for over a century, and we assume they’ll be around for some time.

The Perfecto by Schott line carries jackets that are sure to catch your attention and bring your wardrobe to the next level. Maybe you’re brand new to leather, or maybe you’re a Schott Perfecto brand veteran with several jackets in your closet.

Schott Perfecto Leather Jacket

When you think leather, you’re not thinking cows grazing in the fields. You’re thinking quality: wallets, boots, maybe some gloves. The good stuff. And when you think leather jackets, you probably think zippers, pockets, and zip-up cuffs. Schott clothing has all of that and more. Thank Irving for that—the Perfecto is the first leather jacket to feature a zipper.

The Perfecto name has been a preferred motorcycle brand since 1913. That means it’s well-tailored, polished, and built to last. It also means:

  • Pockets, so many pockets
  • A weather-resistant finish
  • Zip sleeve cuffs
  • Snazzy double-breasted front
  • Sturdy shoulder pieces

And all those other features that give it the personality you love.

Plus, these features are not only fashionable but functional. We know your jeans have plenty of pocket space (sorry, ladies), but so what? Anything your pants can do, Schott Perfecto biker jacket can do better.

So whether you’re classically handsome or rocking a more urban look, leather Perfecto jacket's got you covered.

Perfecto Outfit Ideas

Punk –

Pair Perfecto biker jacket the way it was intended, with a white T-shirt and some effortlessly worn jeans. This jacket goes well with everything from Gucci to Levi, so you don’t have to worry too much about your wardrobe or coming on as the wild one. Finish your outfit off with a carefully picked accessory (like some shades or a fresh pair of kicks) and you’ll be channeling your own personal Marlon Brando in no time.

Look for well-oiled leathers with a good fit. You’ll probably like a steerhide jacket. Your best bet? The PER70 motorcycle jacket or the lambskin P274. Read on to see a review of the PER70.

Style inspiration: Kevin Lutolf (@kevinlutolf), Miles McMillan

 

Preppy –

If punk-rock fashion isn’t for you, maybe preppy clothing is more your style. Schott NYC Perfecto looks just as good with a nice button-up as it does with T-shirts. Consider pairing Perfecto with a cashmere sweater, some dark trousers, and some nice dress shoes. Looking to go out for a special occasion? Replace your suit jacket with a leather one. People will notice.

Look for a jacket with a collar instead of a lancer front. Not feeling the collar? Choose a jacket made of more than just leather. You’ll still feel daring, but it won’t take away from that preppy look. You’ve been voted most likely to like either the P737 or the P751. Keep reading for a review of the P751.

Style inspiration: Brunello Cucinelli fashion line, Eddie Redmayne

 

Polished –

Dress up. The polished look is very similar to the preppy one. A key difference: you’re trying to impress. Be it date night or just an upgraded night on the town, you can pair Perfecto with a button-up dress-shirt, matching trousers, and a pair of Oxfords in similar color. Dark shades are your friend here, but the leather look goes well with lighter hues too.

Feeling adventurous? Leather on leather never hurt anyone.

Look for a slimmer jacket that will marry well with any dress-clothes you might wear. You’ll most likely like an unlined jacket, since it’ll flatter your figure without hulking up any layers you put under it. Consider the P522 or the P213 in black. Up ahead, you’ll find a review of the P213.

Style inspiration: Hermes, La Marque Collection

 

Pro tip:no matter your style, a Perfecto leather jacket does best as the highlight of your outfit. Yes, you can pair your jacket with more daring pieces, but these jackets are showstoppers on their own.

Schott Perfecto leather jacket

How to Wear the Schott Perfecto Leather Jacket

Take a blast from the past– if you’re still not sure which jacket is best for you (but know you want one), look up style guides online to help give you some inspiration. Articles like this oneand this one here are a good place to start.

Keep your jacket in good condition– if you’re thinking about getting a leather jacket - bomber jacket, flight jacket, perfecto motorcycle jacket, vintage Schott NYC perfecto - this is a no brainer. But we wanted to be sure to remind you. Just in case. This involves cleaning your jacket regularly, storing it in a safe place, and treating it with care.

Know how to clean your jacket– there are people out there who don’t know how to clean leather properly, but decide to DIY it anyway. Don’t be one of these people. Search for an informational article like this one by Better Homes & Gardens. It’ll save you from a trip to a professional.

Last but not least, rock your style– does this really need any explaining?

Why The Perfecto?

Sure, there are plenty of other leather jackets out there. That doesn’t mean you should drop anything on them.

Irving Schott established his clothing brand over a hundred years ago. He started producing Perfecto some time later, in 1928. The Perfecto jacket has a long history, as evidenced through movies, famous musicians, and fashion designers too. Thousands of people have bought Perfecto since then. Schott biker jacket, Schott Perfecto brown jackets. You name it. How could that many people be wrong?

Perfecto is a well-established line with high quality products. You could always get a different jacket, but it probably won’t be as well-made.

Besides, buying Perfecto is low-risk -- Schott NYC easily accommodates returns if you find yourself unhappy with the jacket. And let’s be real here, that’s not likely to happen.

So, which jacket is perfect for you?

Style PER70: Men’s Vintage Fitted Motorcycle Jacket

Pros:

  • “Worn in” look is authentic. Jacket genuinely looks vintage thanks to a professional aging process. It’s reminiscent of the 1950s, so you really feel like you’re going back in time.
  • Comfortable to wear, be it on the bike or just through dinner.
  • Retro gingham lining to really give you that punk-rock feel.
  • Lots of storage space without affecting the sleek look of the jacket.
  • The classic leather look you love. Shiny and sleek.

Cons:

  • Runs a little small/tight in jacket size, per reviewers. Very fitted jacket. Consult the sizing guide and consider getting a size up.
  • Only available in one color. If you’re not looking for a classic leather jacket, then this jacket probably isn’t for you.

Did you scroll down for this review because you think of yourself as punk-rock? Then this jacket is for you. It prioritizes storage space, durability, and a rugged aesthetic. Wear this if you’re going for a traditionally masculine look, but don’t want to put in too much effort. Purchase this jacket here.

 

Style P751: Legend - Men's Limited Edition Patchwork Peacoat

Pros:

  • Trim-fitting to show off your figure.
  • Keeps you warm while still being stylish.
  • High-quality details (leather trim pockets, steel buttons) that insure you stand out without taking you out of your comfort zone.
  • Primarily wool with a soft satin lining. Perfect for cold evenings when you want to be comfortable but fashionable.

Cons:

  • Limited edition. If you don’t get this jacket now, you probably never will.
  • Trim-fitting to the point where there’s not much room for layers beneath it.

Sure, this isn’t a traditional leather jacket. But that’s what you like about it. The patchwork peacoat prioritizes fashion and comfort. This jacket is for preppy men interested in leather, but not quite ready to make the leap to a full-leather jacket. Is that you? Purchase this jacket here.

 

Style P213: Raven - Lambskin Perfecto Jacket

Pros:

  • This jacket comes in multiple colors, so you can choose the best fit for your style. Find it in black, brown, or a brighter mustang.
  • Very lightweight without a thick lining. Don’t like being bogged down by your clothes? Raven is ideal for you.
  • Understated style with a paisley lining and smooth look.
  • Multiple pockets for plenty of storage space on the go.
  • Athletic, trim fit. Molds comfortably to your body.

Cons:

  • More of a matte finish than other Perfectos. This jacket is a muted color and doesn’t have much shine to it. Ideal if you want to look classy without drawing too much attention to yourself.
  • May be too snug to wear a sweatshirt underneath it.

If you like the Raven jacket, you’ve probably been around the block with leather before and know what you like. This jacket prioritizes a lightweight comfort and storage space.

How To Wear the Schott Perfecto

Schott Perfecto

The Schott motorcycle jacket expertly straddles the line between classic and defiant. For 90 years, the Schott Perfecto has served as a layer of leather armor for bikers and as a statement of bravado for trendsetting artists such as Marlon Brando and The Ramones. Schott's signature designs are still created domestically in the family-owned company's workshop in Union, New Jersey.

Schott's iconic motorcycle jackets are the Perfecto 618 and 118. A small army of craftsmen (and women) devote themselves to individual steps of the process, and the end result is a garment that nails the details and is built like a tank. Let's dig in and explore how Schott transforms a piece of hide into a functional piece of fashion artistry.

Schott Perfecto

Behind The Leather

The choice and quality of the leather is the foundation of any good motorcycle jacket. Schott employs a number of leathers and fabrics into its many designs. Horsehide is the choice for many biker jackets, and lambskin is perfect for jackets needing a softer texture.

For the Perfecto 618, Schott goes with a classic full-grain, 3.0-3.5 ounce steerhide, the highest grade of leather available. Cowhide is the choice for the 118. Each leather offers excellent protection from the elements and in case of accident. Schott sources only the finest hides produced in the United States, and each is tanned to its specifications.

Each Perfecto requires a remarkable 11 hides. Schott takes a unique level of care in matching hides for color, grain, and texture. This one additional step manifests itself in a cleaner, more put-together finished product; it distinguishes a Schott Perfecto from every other jacket on the market.

On To The Cutting Table

All Perfecto production takes place in the New Jersey factory; no labor is outsourced. The process starting point is the cutting of the hides into the core components of the jacket. Eight skilled leather cutters rely on nothing more than patterns, a razor blade, and years of expertise for the precision work.

Cutting is more an art than a science, and advancing to become a senior leather cutter takes a great deal of time and proven skill. New cutters prove their chops over time and by cutting a great many smaller pieces.

The polymer plastic patterns are laser-cut to precise specifications to ensure quality and consistency in the finished jackets. Anything less would yield a sloppy final result.
Different parts of a hide have different strengths and are used for different parts of the jacket. The cutter must know these variations and cut accordingly. He must maximize the quality of each finished piece of the jacket puzzle while eliminating imperfections and minimizing waste.

Smaller details such as epaulets, pockets, and flaps are cut using what could be best be described as industrial, precision cookie cutters, and a few very small cuts such as belt loops are cut by machine. Just as with the primary cuts, the goal is to create uniform pieces that meld together beautifully when assembled.

Once all leather pieces are cut and ready to move on, they're bundled together, checked for uniformity, and then handed over to employees specializing in sewing and assembly.

Schott Perfect Timeless Classic

Putting Everything Together

The 118 and 618 both offer the same 0.5 ounce nylon poly quilt insulated lining for additional warmth - it can get cold on a bike. The pieces of the lining are assembled together and are ready to be sewn into the inside of the jacket.

Schott jackets are constructed from the inside-out to hide stitching. The leather outer shell is initially divided between the front portion and the back; the two are constructed independently. The two sections are sewn together, and the lining is sewn into the jacket. The jacket is still inside-out, and it's flipped right-side-in using a metal spike inserted into a hole in the sleeve or waist. The hole is then sewn up.

It's time for finishing touches to be added. The first step is top stitching, or sewing the jacket around all sides to ensure a clean edge and a long-lasting finished product. Zippers and pulls - a key component of the Perfecto look - are added. It's notable that Irving Schott, the company's founder, was the first manufacturer to add a zipper to this style of jacket. More metal hardware are added, including buttons, snaps, and grommets. Finally, metal stars are added to the epaulets. The stars are a Schott signature dating back approximately 70 years.

We now have a completed jacket. It's thoroughly inspected, tagged, and individually numbered. The Perfecto is ready to head to a Schott flagship store, to retailers around the globe, or to a buyer's front door.

A Look At The Finished Jacket

So after the cutting and assembly, what do we have? We're looking at a heavyweight jacket designed, first and foremost, for the needs and comfort of a biker. The weight and strength of the leather protects the rider in case of accident (heaven forbid).

Though it certainly looks cool, the asymmetrical main zipper pattern serves to make the jacket warmer and more protective. The water resistant leather keeps the rider dry in wet conditions. The attached belt with buckle and the snap-down lapels and collar keep the jacket firmly against the body in windy conditions. The shorter 25-26" length is perfect for riding. The Perfecto provides three outside zippered pockets, a small coin flap pocket, and an interior map pocket.

For added ease and range of movement, Schott adds zippered cuffs and bi-swing back panels with grommet-vented underarm "footballs". The footballs are football-shaped pieces of leather sewn under the arms that allow for greater movement.

Stepping back and looking at the jacket holistically and aesthetically, the Perfecto is a rock symphony of jet black leather, stainless steel highlights, and aggressive lines. Form does follow function - the jacket is perfectly designed for the highway - but the shape and appearance are inarguably a timeless work of art.

High Quality Leather

Final Thoughts

Let's get one thing out of the way: the Perfecto is not for the meek of spirit. It's a bold but classic look that radiates attitude. Schott has been fine-tuning the performance and the look of the Perfecto for 90 years, and it's as good today as it ever was. Generations of great artists have proven that you don't have to be a biker to don the jacket, but you do have to be a risk-taker. Engage in a little self-reflection, consider whether you and the Perfecto may be a match made in heaven, and if you are, make your move. Shop for your own Perfecto on their website - www.schottnyc.com - or in one of their Schott NYC stores.


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