All the leather on the runways and on street style influences has started me thinking. How do you buy the perfect leather biker jacket with so many out there to choose from? Maybe you don’t even own a leather jacket, and have a residual fear of looking like an 80’s groupie for The Ramones. Put away any lingering doubt about this classic style, and fully embrace the cool factor that comes when you wrap yourself in that buttery leather. Of course one woman’s perfect is another woman’s meh. So, here are the things you need to keep in mind when buying your perfect leather biker jacket.
Type of Leather
Generally speaking the larger the animal the tougher and thicker the hide. Cowhide is the most common leather used, not just because of its wide availability and low cost, but because of its toughness, durability, and resistance to water and dirt.
However, lamb or sheep has a finer grain, is more supple, and lighter weight, but still tough and durable. It is often described as having that buttery feel.
Suede is made from the underside of the skin, primarily from lamb and is much less durable than cowhide and lambskin. Suede is susceptible to dirt and easily shows water stains. Honestly, I don’t buy anything suede anymore because once its been dry-cleaned it never looks or feels the same. Just not worth the risk and disappointment.
So, as they say the devil is in the details here. Cropped or full length? How cropped? If it’s full length, where should it hit? Do I want an oversized boyfriend look? Do I want a shearling/fur lining? See where I’m going here? So, let’s walk through it and then you’ll be better equipped to decide.
I’ve had this Joie leather jacket for at least 15 years and it’s been to all over the world with me. Anytime I travel internationally it goes with me, and I always wear it on the plane. It’s the first thing I grab for when the weather is cool but not really cold. Pretty much the hardest working, functional, and most reliable piece in my wardrobe.
I love everything about this jacket and here’s why it’s the perfect biker jacket for me. It’s made from lambskin, so its super soft and lightweight-perfect for cool weather. The cropped silhouette is feminine, hitting perfectly at the waist, and is a nice counterbalance to the more masculine biker vibe. Also, since it reads more feminine it actually ends up being super versatile. I’ve even worn it in place of a blazer. My very favorite detail of this jacket is that it’s shorter in the back than in the front, so it’s slightly suspended from the body giving it the appearance of motion. Basically, after the technical breakdown of this jacket, all you really need to know is that EVERY time I wear it; I feel great.
The full length biker jacket is the most traditional silhouette. If you veer more toward the conservative spectrum when it comes to fashion, then this is probably going to be your lane. I would still stick with lambskin for its lightweight feel and buttery softness. Make sure that the jacket hits you where your hip starts. You don’t want it to hit you at the widest point of your hip! No one needs extra girth around their hips! The one in the picture has an amazing mink lining for added warmth. In the winter, I’ll wear it with a white tee or silk blouse paired with camo, like above or ripped boyfriend jeans and lace up boots.
Acne Studios (which stands for Ambition to Create Novel Experiences) Velocite shearling jacket started the oversized trend about 7 years ago and has since been copied by high street stores everywhere. I really wanted to like this jacket but it is REALLY heavy and super stiff. No butter in sight on this one. So, instead I researched men’s motorcycle jackets and found Schott. This company started in 1913 in downtown New York City and still manufactures most of their clothing in the US. Their best selling Perfecto is made from steer hide and is incredibly heavy, but they make a slimmer, lightweight version for those of us who aren’t riding their Harley into town. The buffalo plaid flannel lining is warm and looks really good in a slightly Seattle grungy way. I ordered a S and it hits me below my hip and is just the right amount of oversized.
Photos by Megan Weaver