What to Know About Leather Outerwear (Plus 7 Styles For Fall and Winter)
Leather is a timeless fabric that can work in any season, and to help discuss the material, I recently worked on a story for AskMen where I chatted with a couple of experts in the industry.
As written for AskMen:
Focusing on outerwear, I chatted with Kurt Geller, Timberland Senior Merchandising Manager, and Gitana Brazlauskas, Andrew Marc Head Men’s Designer. Starting with what to know about leather for outerwear, Geller says his favorite thing about leather as it relates to outerwear is that it is the most original form of protecting yourself from the elements.
“Leather jackets are the ultimate expression of authenticity and originality that blend form and function, which in my mind is why a quality leather jacket is timeless.” He adds that leather is the uniform of welders, motorcyclists, pilots and generations of rebellious souls, and for that reason, they have been a wardrobe staple of the most stylish men for years. Brazlauskas agrees that leather for outerwear is classic, adding that it is seasonless, versatile, and easy to wear. “No matter who or what age you are, every man should have a leather jacket in their wardrobe.”
With all this in mind, Geller says it is important to understand the type of jacket you are looking for. “Whether it is a cozy bomber jacket like Timberland’s Shearling Flight Jacket for a perfect après-ski moment, or a rugged silhouette like the Tenon Leather Field Jacket, which is fit to take on anything the day throws at you. Because of its timeless nature, a quality leather jacket is an investment on many fronts — but my personal favorite is that it can be passed down, along with its stories, through your family!”
Selecting A Leather Fabric
Leather comes from many different kinds of animals, and Brazlauskas shares a few differences: “Cowhide, horse or buffalo is fairly stiff and takes a long time to wear in. A far softer alternative is calfskin, and which is pliable and feels like it’s broken-in almost from the first wear. Goatskin manages to be both supple and durable at the same time. Sheepskin is lighter than goat or cow, but isn’t as tough. Lambskin is the softest and lightest of them all.”
Geller adds that suede options provide a refined and timeless appeal for casual occasions, and they can look at home for a night out with friends or that perfect business casual outfit. “Beyond the leather, premium hardware, complementary fabrics and expert stitching tells the story of how it was crafted. In the end, consumers should go with a brand they trust. One that prides themselves on premium materials, authenticity and attention to every detail and stitch.”
How Should A Leather Jacket Fit
A good jacket should look and feel like a second skin, says Brazlauskas, so you need a fit that suits your frame. “It should sit close to the body with room for a sweater underneath so you could add some layers if needed.” Geller agrees that a leather jacket should fit neatly. “It should never be baggy, but provide just enough room to wear a crisp T-shirt or get a reasonably warm layer underneath. A quality leather jacket should hang just right on your shoulders, and be expertly cut to avoid excess fabric underneath armhole openings or in sleeve length.
Leather Jacket Styles to Get
Geller shares that iconic styles include the Biker or Moto silhouette, its close cousin the Café Racer, the Bomber, which has several varieties, and then more heritage styles like Timberland’s Riveted Welder’s Jacket, which is inspired by traditional workwear beginnings. “In keeping with the original and rugged vibe that comes along with a great leather jacket, classic denim jeans and a great fitting T-shirt are the best supporting cast to a leather jacket as they complement, but don’t outshine. That said, a part of classic Timberland style has always been the mixing of unexpected things, which is why in our minds, a great hooded sweatshirt layered underneath a leather jacket or even a shirt and tie for smart-casual office style are looks that always feel right to us!”
Whether you’re into the biker style or café racer, or you’re after something a little preppy (like a varsity jacket), Brazlauskas says you can rest assured that Andrew Marc has a leather jacket for you. “Our Iconic Flight Leather Jacket is a massive game changer in any man’s wardrobe. Its versatility makes it great; whether you’re wearing it with a t-shirt, a sweater and a pair of jeans, or throwing it over a more formal look for that alternative edge, that jacket will work for you.”
More Styles to Get: You’ll be shelling out a few hundred dollars for a real leather jacket, but you’ll have to see it as an investment for a style that can last your lifetime. On sale right now is Topman’s Black Leather Biker Jacket. A fitted style, this is a modern take on the traditional biker jacket, and it features boldcontrasting zips and snap hardware. The Obey Leather Jacket is modeled after a classic biker jacket, and not as fitted as the former. For extra warmth, the Cole Haan Leather Jacket features a faux shearling lining, and is constructed from washed blackout lambskin leather for an ultra smooth touch. Another washed option is the Michael Kors Washed Leather Jacket, which features tonal topstitching and piping for rich texture. And for a budget option, a faux-leather doesn’t look as good as genuine leather, but it won’t have you breaking the bank. Lastly, check out the Levi’s Men’s Faux-Leather Jacket with Hood. Available in black and brown, this basic zip-up style can go with anything and features a jersey hood.
See the full story over on AskMen!