STYLING YOU UP!
Breaking It Down
The key to buying a leather jacket is finding a type that already rides well with your personal style – don’t be somebody you’re not.
Then, nail the fit (think slim and flat to the body), before selecting the leather type (calf, cow, lamb or goat) and a neutral color. Honing in on the finer details the final step to personalisation, selecting how many zips, buttons and metal things you want – or none at all, if you prefer.
Style It Up
Leather jackets require confidence. Celebrities and rockstars wear them to stand-out and make a grungy style statement. That said, you can find a clean-cut, more demure type. Knowing your personal style is important, helping you decide what jacket style is most appropriate.
Leather jacket styles are defined by length, the way it closes or zips (and just how much hardware it boasts) and the collar. There are generally three types: the ‘bomber’, the ‘biker’ and the ‘racer’.
Focus On The Fit
The fit of the leather jacket – like a suit – is paramount. But unlike an imperfectly fitting jacket or blazer, leather jackets can’t be altered easily and it’s expensive. So what should you look for? The jacket should sit cling to the contours of the body, with shoulders cutting sharp and square on the shoulder – like a blazer.
A leather jacket isn’t really designed for wearing over bulk layers – more a fine-gauge sweater or tee – so buy the smallest size that fits, allowing for a bit of stretch to occur. Your arms should be able to move freely, however, and not feel tight and uncomfortable.
Length the sleeves should skim the the wrist and hem bottom should cut at the belt line.
The skinny guy should opt for a tight or elasticated waistband, tapering the body section and accentuating the shoulders. The larger gent should go for a straight cut – avoiding anything that will cling to lumps and bumps. Same rule applies for muscles, gym junkie.
Cover Your Hide
The type of leather or skin affects the coat’s function and feel. There is no perfect leather, with each carrying its own unique characteristics. In general, larger animals tend to have more durable, sturdy skins, while the smaller animals are known for softness and are more lightweight. Then, there is the quality of skin, which also changes what the leather feels like to touch. This relates to the lifestyle of the animal before it was killed, the tanning or manufacturing process, and the final finish application.
Cowhide is the most common leather. It’s slightly cheaper and tougher and has a resilience to water and dirt like no other. It’s a great protector because of its thickness, but can take time to wear in. It comes mostly in a matte finish giving the jacket a more casual feel.
Similar to cowhide’s rugged feel and durability, bison skin differentiates itself with a natural graininess on the skin, which adds texture to the jacket and gives it a raw, earthy aesthetic.
Goatskin is a popular choice for most luxury brands, and is recognised for its pebbly grain. Goatskin is softer, lighter, and more flexible than cowhide. It’s durable and wears-in well, becoming more supple, and better-looking as the years roll on.
Lambskin is the most luxurious of leather for its softness, suppleness, and wearability. It has a luxurious texture and is quite versatile, creating a more chic leather jacket. It’s naturally very lightweight and creates a jacket that can be worn all year-round – whatever the season.
Keep It Classic
The timelessness of the leather jacket does depend on what colour you choose. Like suits, neutral colours such as brown, and grey are you best bet. Navy and contrast-sleeved biker types are more fashion-y and are a different option for guys who may already have a classic leather in their cupboard.
Fashion can also be played around a bit with suede – a huge trend for 2017 – as the coat tends to come in brown (from to tan to chocolate), meaning it can work as seamlessly into an outfit as black leather would. Stick to one suede piece as break away from leather, opting for shearling on the collar for extra plushness. But avoid gimmicky tassels or fringing and anything that looks even remotely cowboy.