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January 31, 2022 7 min read

by Joanna Smykowski

Joanna does quite a few things in life, but writing has been her favorite by far. She is a city girl who has moved to a beach town, and second to writing, will never tire of music, travel, and the friendships she makes as a result of both.



What is suede?

There are various types of leather out there, each distinguished by what part of the animal skin they come from and how they are made. Suede is made from the underside of the animal skin. It is usually made from lambskin but can be made from other animals, including goats, deer, and pigs. It has a soft surface and a fuzzy napped finish. Suede is commonly used as a material for fashion items such as shoes, jackets, and purses. It can also be used as the material for household items such as furniture. Suede is soft thin leather. Compared to other traditional leather types such as full-grain, it is not as strong.

How is suede made?

To make any leather, the hide must be taken and dried. Once dried, a natural chemical is used to remove any hair follicles. This process is called liming. Once that is done, the hide is exposed to tannins, which transform the piece into leather. Suede is a split leather. To make suede, the underside of the animal skin is separated from the top. The underside is a thin, soft, pliable, and flowy layer. After, it is textured, dyed, and then ready to sew into its final form.

A little suede history

Leather has been used as function far back into history and as fashion a bit later but suede stepped onto the scene in the 18th century. They were first used by Swedish tanners in gloves. In North America, Indians began creating jackets similar to what we have as suede today. In the twentieth century, suede made its way in haute couture as a result of its texture. Suede jackets became a luxury item instead of everyday fashion.

During the 1960s, fringed suede jackets became all the rage, especially after movies such as Easy Riderand Midnight Cowboy. Suede jackets found their way into mainstream fashion afterward, becoming the everyday item wear we know them as in the present.

Today, while the fringed suede jacket is still worn by some, bomber jackets are the most popular style of suede jackets.

5 things you need to know about suede jackets

If you’re thinking about purchasing a suede jacket for yourself, here are five things that you need to know:

Jacket Style

The first thing that you will want to figure out is what kind of style jacket you want. This jacket is one you can wear regularly when the season is right. Suede jackets are very versatile and you are making an investment, so you’ll want to make sure it’s a style that fits you. Here are a few popular suede jacket styles we have seen and loved:

  1. Fringe - Take the suede jacket back to its roots. The signature styles of the ’60s and ’70s may or may not be for you, but the look is an iconic one and fashion is cyclical. If you want to wear your suede jacket in a very casual manner reminiscent of a different decade, go for the fringe.
  2. Bomber - The leather jacket bomber look is a classic one that would look great with any kind of leather. Suede bomber jackets bring about a classic, traditional look. The jacket is usually waist length and has a gathered ribbed waistband and matching cuffs. There is usually a front zipper and four pockets and can be paired with a few different day and night looks - more on that later.
  3. Moto - Another highly popular leather jacket style, is the motorcycle jacket - where leather thrives. Moto jackets usually have a belt, snap-down lapels, and an asymmetrical front zipper. You may not ride any motorcycles in this suede number, but you can channel your inner Marlon Brando as you wear it.

 

Material

Suede is a type of leather that can be made from a few different animal hides. Some of the most popular ones are:

  • Lambskin
  • Deerskin
  • Cowhide
  • Pigskin
  • Sheepskin

Each type of suede varies slightly from the other. The feel of the various animals leads to different softness. Sheepskin, for example, is the softest and most delicate type of suede, while cowhide is the roughest. Suede is still overall the softest kind of leather, but these are nuances you will want to consider as you figure out what you want to purchase for yourself.

Suede jackets

Price Range

Your budget will play a big factor in your jacket purchase. Some companies have higher-priced jackets than others. If you are debating whether you want to purchase a made-to-order jacket or a custom jacket, that will affect the pricing as well. As you begin your search, gauging the prices of jackets you love versus what you want to spend will help you narrow it down.

 

How to wear the Jacket

Suede jackets are extremely versatile. Many can be worn dressed up or dressed down. If you want to wear it casually, you can throw your jacket over a T-shirt and jeans. Similarly, you can throw it over a cocktail dress or some slacks. The beauty of leather jackets is their ability to work with a variety of outfits.

Leather jackets are associated with temperate weather - the spring and the fall. A fun fact is that you can get your jacket lined so that you can wear it as the temperatures dip and before the freezing weather comes in.

 

How to Care for the Jacket

Regardless of the type of leather jacket you purchase, you want the jacket to last a long time. Leather can last for years as long as it is cared for properly. Suede is such delicate leather that it should always be cleaned professionally. Never consider throwing it in your wash! It’s important to make sure that wherever you bring it to get it cleaned, the person or business must be a leather-cleaning expert to ensure that your jacket will get properly cared for.

When you purchase your suede jacket, it will come with care instructions to help you maintain the jacket at home in between cleanings. Here are some tips and tricks to help your jacket last:

  • Suede should not get wet. This means checking the weather before you leave your home. If there is any chance of rain, the suede stays. Suede is an absorbent material and water will ruin it. Once there is water damage, it is tough to fix.
  • If your jacket does get wet, you should treat it immediately. You can rub the suede jacket with a suede brunch or a dry towel. Rub the nap of the suede gently until the marks are removed.
  • You may want to get your jacket treated to make it more water-resistant. If you decide to do this, be sure to read the instructions carefully to apply the treatment correctly.
  • Speaking of suede brushes, you will want to make sure to get a suede brush made with brass or nylon bristles to keep the nap looking pristine. In a pinch, a toothbrush works as well.
  • It is important to get other tools to care for your jacket, such as a suede eraser. These erase stains from suede fabric.
  • For stains, keep talc powder and white vinegar on hand. The talc can help with the wet stains and the vinegar for the dry.

Even with all of these tips, be sure to check your jacket’s specific care instructions for the most up-to-date and accurate information on how to care for your jacket. These small steps will help your jacket last much longer.

PHYSICAL - The Admiral Moto

PHYSICAL - The Suede Double Rider

PHYSICAL - The Technical Bomber


What are the brands that sell good suede jackets?

In the leather jacket world, some brands are affordable and some luxury brands are not. You can still get affordable quality jackets and the price tag is an easier one to bear. If you want to and can splurge on a luxury jacket brand though, go for it. Here are a few companies that we like:

  1. AllSaints is a British fashion retailer that calls its headquarters home in London, England. It was founded in 1994 by Stuart Trevor and Katie Bolongaro. They have expanded across the world and have 232 stores in 27 countries. Plus, you can order their jackets online. At the time of this writing, their most expensive jacket came in at just under $1,400 while you could get jackets on sale in the $300 range.
  2. The Jacket Maker is a newer company that is based out of California in the United States and Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. They began as an online retail store for leather jackets in 2013. Their jackets come in at a lower price tag, with price tags in the $200 range. They also have custom jacket options.
  3. Independence Brothers is a company that was founded by two brothers who value leather jackets and the way that they make you feel. Based in Philadelphia, Independence Brothers specializes in leather jackets that are made of quality materials, crafted with skill, and fit perfectly. We give you affordable options, whether you want to customize or not. Our jackets are priced at $380 and up.
  4. Tom Ford is a well-known company based on the famous designer. It is a luxury brand. Their jackets can be a few thousand dollars, and in this case, you are paying for the name as well as the quality.

Should you go custom?

This is the age-old question and the answer depends on you as a shopper. If you love a ready-to-wear jacket then purchase it. These jackets can have a lower price tag and make it easier to shop around.

If you want to customize your jacket a bit, whether by fit or style, then consider custom-made. Custom jackets are great for those who are in-between when it comes to standard sizing and want a better fit. They are also great for anyone who wants to make their jacket uniquely their own.

Independence Brothers specializes in affordable custom jackets, allowing you to get the best of both worlds - quality, custom, and a price tag you can afford.

Custom made leather jackets

Conclusion

We hoped this helps you navigate the world of leather just a little bit better and discover suede. Now you’ll be armed with important information as you decide on what to purchase.

Let us know what you thought. Did this article help? Is there anything else you would like to know about suede jackets or other leather jacket topics? Comment below!


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