What's a full wardrobe without a leather jacket? Incomplete. Leather jackets are wardrobe-essentials. They are very versatile pieces of clothing, so it is important one has at least one, as they can always help with fashion emergencies.
Now, perhaps you have one and are looking to get another, or you are hoping to add one to your wardrobe collection, there are a few things to look out for before making a purchase. In this article, I have detailed 7 steps to finding the perfect leather jacket. These steps include:
- Make sure the leather from which the jacket was made has the perfect characteristics
- Choose a leather jacket that defines 'you'
- Consider the stitch
- Consider the hardware
- The colour should be a top priority
- Consider the size
- The intended you for the jacket should be put in mind
Perfect Leather Characteristics
Perhaps, this is the most complex step but it is the most important. Leather is characterised by the skin, quality, grain, and sometimes smell. To pick out a perfect leather jacket, one must make sure they meet specific criteria with respect to the leather characteristics.
The skin refers to the skin of the animal from which the leather was obtained. Lambskin, goatskin, sheepskin, cow skin, horse skin, kangaroo skin, and crocodile skin are some of the available leather skin types. All of them have different characteristics and should be selected based on the different unique properties they possess.
Leather from lambskin is soft and not very durable. Goatskin on the other hand provides a highly durable leather that is water repellent, so water trickles down from it when it comes in contact with it. This is the reason why it is very suitable for the spring season.
They can also be made into suede, meanwhile, these 'suede' leather are not water repellant. Suede goatskin leather should be avoided during wet seasons as water affects its texture when it pours on it and is left to dry. They are very beautiful though and may be reserved for 'big' events.
Cowskin and horse skin are another set of highly durable leather that when made into leather jackets, are good for cold, especially winter seasons. If you're looking out for something light and unique you may want to consider going for a sheepskin as it is lighter than goat and cow.
A shearling jacket, which is a dual-faced jacket, is made from sheepskin. For class and unique texture, consider going for crocodile or kangaroo skin leather. They are very expensive.
Grain is another characteristic, defining leather. It is a property referring to the composition or appearance of the leather. A leather jacket may either be made from top-grain leather, full-grain leather or corrected leather.
Top-grain leathers are leather types from which most leather jackets you see hanging on the shelves of shops are made. They are obtained from the bottom layer of leather.
Full-grain leather, on the other hand, is leather with an incorporation of the entire hide with its mark scars and natural patterns. They are relatively expensive. Corrected leather is leather from which its original grains are removed or toned down, thus making them look fake. Jackets from minimally corrected leather should be selected over heavily corrected ones.
One other characteristic of leather that should be considered when making a leather jacket purchase, although often neglected, is the smell. Faux leather i.e artificial leather usually smells like chemicals or plastic - lookout for this when buying your leather jacket, especially if you hope to get a natural or 'original leather''. There's nothing wrong with buying faux leather if you are on a budget, but they must not be mistaken for original ones.
Choosing a Leather Jacket that Defines You
Your style defines you! In choosing your style of leather jackets you must opt for styles that you are comfortable in. Although, it is important to note that, not styles you think are your 'style' may suit you. For instance, a narrow-shouldered person who has a preference for a bomber jacket may not be picking the jacket for their body type as bombers look better on people with broad shoulders.
So, in choosing your 'style', your body type must be put into consideration. Bikers look good on tall people, racers on people seeking to look sporty. You can also purchase a custom-made leather jacket to meet your specifications if you feel like wearing something out of the box and looking unique. Cropped jackets are also unique styles you can opt for, just make sure they are of the right length - not too long or too short.
The stitch is another very important thing to look out for when finding the perfect leather jacket. The quality of stitches of a leather jacket goes a long way in determining its durability. Take note of the following when considering the stitch.
1. The stitches must not be loose
2. They must not be rough
3. Check out for fewer joints as fewer joints indicate a higher quality which translates into more cost - leather jackets with fewer joints are in most cases more expensive.
Another thing to consider in your leather jacket purchase is the hardware on them. Now, you must acknowledge whether you want jackets with plenty of hardware or less of them. Some of the hardware that you can find on leather jackets include waist buckles, cuffs, zippers, and studs. Also, note that the colour of the hardware is of importance too.
If you are going for a jacket with details of zippers, make sure you go for one with heavy zippers. Also, check out for how freely they can zip. Embellishments, florals, and star metals are other accessories that can be found on some leather jackets.
The colour of the leather jacket is another thing to look out for when finding the perfect leather jacket. The colour will tell whether or not the jackets will work as versatile wear. For versatility, choose neutral colours. The readily available neutral coloured jackets are black or brown.
Your wardrobe must first have a black jacket before other colours. This is so that you'd be able to wear your jackets in different combinations. If you already have black jackets you can go for coloured ones - most preferably a colour that matches your personality.
If you want to get a jacket you'd be using regularly, avoid light colours as this may lead to frequent dry cleaning which is not good for the durability of the leather.
Make sure you get the right size as it is quite expensive to adjust leather clothes. The right size of leather jacket is typically that which is fitted but free enough for comfort. The jacket length and sleeve length should also be considered when picking out jackets of the right size. They shouldn't be too long.
Another factor that will guide your decision making when purchasing leather jackets is their intended use. if you just want to add a leather jacket to your wardrobe as a go-to fashion accessory, go for versatile - go for black or brown bombers. If you want to get a leather jacket for 'traditional use' i.e protection, make sure it is at least 1mm thick. This way, even if you have an accident, especially for bikers, you'd have protection to a large extent.
Apart from the above-listed steps, there are a few other qualities some leather jackets possess that may be considered before you are sure you're getting the perfect leather jacket:
- some leather jackets have reflectors for safety use. You may want to go for these if you're a night biker.
- the presence of removable lining for the winter season
- the quality of lining
- Also, you may want to go for vegan leather jackets if you're eco-friendly.