by Sarah Makhluf
Sarah is a freelance content writer from Boston, MA. She loves traveling, fashion, and the beach.
The color red is emotional, it’s strong, it’s powerful, and...it looks great as a leather jacket? The intense color symbolizing passion, determination, strength, and love has been making waves in the fashion industry for years. The red leather jacket has stood the test of time since its launch and has shown no signs of going out of style. It gives men looking to spice up their wardrobe the perfect opportunity to branch out of their classic black and brown comfort zone and start wearing some color.
While some may see going red as too much, I see it as an opportunity to give life to your wardrobe. Maybe it’s time to try something new? Or, perhaps you are already inspired and looking for the best style guide? No matter what your reasoning is, a red leather jacket will not disappoint.
While a leather jacket is an excellent addition to your wardrobe, you need to make sure the quality is not compromised. Regardless of the color, making sure you are getting a high-quality jacket needs to be at the top of your priority list. This piece should be an investment, something that, if well taken care of can last a lifetime. So, what actually makes a leather jacket good or bad? Follow my top 7 tricks and tips to look out for during shopping for leather jackets to ensure you get the best quality.
Craftsmanship - To ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck, make sure to take a look at the small details like the stitching, zippers, liners and even pockets. While shopping, don't feel shy to gently tug on the stitching to make sure it holds well. Also, be sure to take a look at the zipper, your best bet for high quality is finding a jacket with the YKK logo on the zipper. The Japanese based company, YKK has set the industry standard for secure and durable zippers. Next, take a look at the pockets and lining, pockets are actually a symbol of high quality, because of the skill set needed to sew them without damaging the leather, and a good lining will feel soft and silky. They don’t say “the devil is in the details” for nothing.
Feel- Is it smooth to the touch? Check for bumps, dry spots, and make sure it’s soft to the touch. This is something that you will hopefully be getting many wears out of, make sure it's comfortable to move around in. A higher quality leather jacket will feel like a second skin.
Smell- Let your nose do the work! Good quality leather should have that distinct earthy and slightly sweet smell that we all know and love. If it has an unnatural or slight chemical smell, I would stay away.
Crumble - Try to rub it between your fingers, does it crumble or leave a residue? That is a telltale sign of old leather or one that has not been processed correctly.
Color - Leather is either sprayed or dyed to the desired color, and an uneven job will show up very clearly in sunlight. The jacket will look streaky and unpolished, a give away the jacket is not of high quality.
Grades- All leather is classified by grades, what’s important here is to understand the difference between them. The three main grades are full grain, top grain, and genuine leather. Also, grades are always consistent no matter which type of animal leather.
The best jackets will be comprised of full grain, meaning the outermost layer of the leather has not been altered or compromised from buffing.
Top grain is leather is the second best. The top layer of this type of leather has been “corrected” only meaning that it was either sanded down or buffed to remove any imperfections.
Next is genuine leather, which in lamens terms means the product is made out of some type of leather. Genuine leather may look like high quality, but it will not hold up as well to ongoing wear and tear.
Price - One of the best ways to tell if a jacket is of high quality is to just look at the price tag. The fact is, higher quality leather costs more. The average range for high-quality leather jackets is roughly a minimum of $300. I would be wary of purchasing a real leather jacket for anything less than $250.
Now that we have covered color and quality, it’s time to shop. I scoured the web to find the top red leather jackets money can buy. No matter what your budget, one of these stores will have a jacket for you.
Zalando - Zalando meshes designer styles with competitive prices seamlessly. They offer 3 classic styles of red leather jackets, all a slightly different tone of red.
Nordstrom - This retail giant has 5 options of red leather jackets to choose from on the site, ranging in price and style.
Soul Revolver - They have one of the more extensive collections of red leather I have seen from classic to vintage and even racer styles. The UK based company crafts their leather jackets in Italy.
Independence Brothers - Design your own red leather jacket at Independence brothers. The family-run company offers a unique experience to fully customize your leather jacket from the type of leather all the way down to the hardware color.
Vintage - While going to a vintage shop can be very hit or miss, you may be one of the lucky ones to find a genuine red leather jacket from the 70s, 80s or 90s! Don’t have a vintage store in your area? No worries, there are tons of online vintage shops.
Now that we have covered how to look for high-quality leather and where to buy it, it’s time for some ideas on how you can style your new jacket. The most important thing to remember here is don’t be afraid of wearing color! Also, just because your new leather jacket is red, doesn’t mean it’s any less wearable or timeless than your black or brown jackets, it just means it’s more unique than the others. With red leather becoming more and more popular, most classic leather jacket styles come in the piercing color. One of my favorite things about colored leather is the number of options you have to style it. Think of it like your “regular” leather jackets but with more personal style.
Fighter - “The Bomber Jacket” The flight jacket has been a staple of men’s wardrobes for over half a century. Try paring your red bomber with black pants and white tennis shoes for a more laid back outfit.
Thriller - I can’t be the only one who immediately thinks of Michael Jackson's “Thriller” when I think of a red leather jacket. While you may not want to go for the classic 80s look, many modern renditions of this iconic style are on the market today. Wear it with a pair of black or blue jeans and a neutral sneaker for a complete look.
Classic - “The Moto Jacket” While biker jackets may have been popularized by Marlon Brandon in the 1950s who always wore it in back, today the classic jacket comes in a slew of colors. Try pairing it with a white t-shirt and jeans for the ultimate amped up casual look.
Topper - If you are looking for something more lightweight try out a “topper” jacket. This can be added to any outfit for a bit of extra warmth and style. The nice thing about this style is it can easily be dressed up or down.
Accessorize - The final step to finishing your outfit is adding the appropriate accessories. When wearing a red jacket, I suggest going with brown shoes, as black may be too harsh of a contract. Also, try pairing it with a neutral colored scarf like a tan or beige to not only keep you warm but to also break up the color pattern.
Taking a few easy steps to care for your jacket properly is highly recommended. You want this piece to last as long as possible, and the good news is there are tons of products out there which will keep your jacket looking perfect for years to come.
Waterproofing - While you may not be able to control the rain, you can control the amount of water damage on your new jacket. If your jacket is not already pre-treated, I recommended picking up a waterproofing spray to seal your jacket and keep those pesky raindrops away. It will help prevent future staining as well.
Tip:Try going with a silicon-based polymer spray.
Polish - While polish can bring the shine back into your leather jacket, it’s best to be used sparingly and on rare occasions. Overusing polish can harm or dull the color, I would recommend doing a small patch test as well.
Tip:Only use on smooth leather, and never on suede or leather with a fuzzy texture.
Damp cloth -Do you live in an area with sleet and snow? If so, this trick will save you in the winter. Have you ever had white salt deposits appear on your leather jacket during the cold weather months? To remove simply take a soft damp cloth and rub over the affected spots.
Tip: Apply a very small amount of conditioner to the spots after cleaning.
Conditioner - The purpose of conditioning your leather is to prevent any dryness. However, don’t overdo it with this product as it may start to change the color of your jacket. For your best bet only apply when you feel like your jacket is becoming a bit stiff.
Tip: Only do this about once every 6 months
Sunlight/heat - Try your best to keep your leather jackets away from the sun’s damaging rays during storage to prevent fading. If your jacket happens to get wet I know while it may be tempting to place it in front of a radiator or even use a hair dryer, try to wait it out, even if takes a couple of days to avoid any shrinking.
Tip: Never place leather in the washing machine or dryer
Thanks for staying with us to the end! We really hope you enjoyed this read and maybe learned a thing or two. If you take anything away from your time reading this article, let be this: Don't be afraid of color, of trying new things, and using your wardrobe as another means to express yourself. Finding the confidence to wear more color may be a challenge, but it’s so worth it in the end. While I know wearing red is intimidating I hope this article has given you a bit of inspiration and guidance to find your new look. I started getting into fashion at a young age, I even took up sewing when I was a child. However, it did take me time to enjoy wearing a lot of color and branch out of my comfort zone. Today, I love being able to express myself through my clothes, and I hope you will as well. If you enjoyed this article, please let us know with a comment below or share it with your friends. We really love hearing your thoughts and opinions
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