A good leather jacket is a staple piece in every man’s wardrobe. They're timeless, effortlessly cool, conveniently versatile, and can last for a lifetime if you take care of them.
Unfortunately, there are lots of pitfalls when it comes to buying leather jackets online. Especially if you don’t know what to look for or where to look. Truth is, if you want to rock a leather jacket like Ryan Gosling or Mark Wahlberg, you have to be able to choose like them.
A high-quality leather jacket won’t just make you look stunning. It’ll also last for years looking as fine as the first day you wore it. One made of poor materials, on the other hand, is going to look cheap, tear easily, and start to peel off shamefully in just months!
But don’t worry. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to pick your very own high-quality leather jacket.
Should I Buy Online or In-Store?
Both online and in-store shopping have their pros and cons. Which is better for you depends on you and the kind of experience and results you want.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect buying from each option:
Pros & Cons Of Buying In-Store
Buying In-Store is a great choice if you don’t know how to take your own measurements, but there are also a few drawbacks.
● Pro: Physical stores have employees who receive you and check-in with you from time to time. Ideal for those who want to relive the glory days of the retail experience.
● Pro: You can try the product on to make sure it fits. This is convenient when you're in a hurry. However, if you know how to take your measurements then you don’t need that.
● Con: Employees who try too hard to sell. Especially those who'll look at a jacket that's too big on your shoulder and still grin and say "it suits you!"
● Con: You can only choose from the stock they have in store. So instead of getting that distinctive jacket that'll mark your style, you end up conforming with whatever they’ve got left.
● Con: Let’s not even talk about how heartbreaking it is to finally find your perfect jacket — only to discover that they don’t have your size in stock.
Pros & Cons Of Buying Online
Every year, more and more men choose to buy their clothing online. Let’s take a look at a few reasons for that:
● Pro: When you’re buying online, you have a virtually unlimited number of options to choose from, and there’s always availability.
● Pro: You can take all the time you want to consider different models and research the materials until you’re sure you’re making the right choice. Try to do that in a store!
● Pro: There’s no salesman breathing down your neck, trying to pressure you to buy.
● Pro: Delivered straight to your doorstep — so you don’t waste time (and gas) visiting different shops.
● Con: You can’t try it on — but if you know how to easily take your own measurements, that’s no problem.
● Con: You can’t touch it before buying — that’s why you have to make sure you’re buying from a place with good reviews and transparency about the materials they use.
● Con: Some online stores don’t have return policies. That’s always a big red flag. Investing in a high-quality leather jacket shouldn’t carry risk. If you want to sleep without worries, only buy when the company offers you the possibility of returning the product in case something didn’t go as expected.
To summarize, both options have pros and cons. What you choose depends on your situation.
If you’re in a hurry and want to buy a leather jacket before the night falls — and you don’t care that much about looking your best — then brick and mortar stores are for you.
However, the fact that you’ve read this far shows me that you do care about getting the best possible jacket. One that fits you properly, will last forever, and stands out from the rest — and you don’t mind taking a minute to measure yourself — then online shopping is the best option for you.
Where Should I Look To Find High-Quality Leather Jackets Online
Good leather jackets are silky-smooth on the inside and resistant as armor on the outside. They not only make you look awesome, but they also feel incredibly comfortable when you wear them. Plus, they keep you well protected against anything mother nature hurls at you — from the heaviest rains to the most biting gales. That’s why quality is so important!
However, the search for the best jacket can be dangerous too. Just like with whiskey, spending thousands on a piece just because the brand demands a high price isn’t always justified. Actually, you don’t need to spend more than $500 to get some of the best jackets in the market, and I’ll show you how in a minute.
But first, let’s talk about brands.
High-End Brands vs Independent Brands
High-end brands are great. When you buy from them, you know that two things are guaranteed: good service and nice stores.
You can trust that purchasing a leather jacket from a high-end brand means you’re going to get a decent product. Their jackets are fashionable, comfortable, and will last for years. They’re a great choice… at least until you look at the price tag and your stomach sinks.
Then, red in the face with embarrassment, you have to turn the employee away because you’re going to have to “think about it.”
Many men looking to buy leather jackets resort first to high-end brands because they want something great that’ll last for years. That's commendable.
However, more often than not, you’re paying more for brand than quality. On top of that, they don’t charge you just for the product. There’s also the overhead costs for the rent of their stores, employees, and logistics.
You just went in for a jacket and came out with a receipt for the entirety of their business expenses!
Today, however, the paradigm is changing. Thanks to new technologies — such as Shopify, Amazon, etc — independent and dedicated brands can offer their products online. This means that now you can get great quality without the huge markup that big brands naturally include with their products.
On top of that, you know for sure that your jacket wasn’t just another product in a chain of mass production, but actually crafted by artisans who are dedicated to their craft.
Every day more men buy their clothing from independent brands. But before they do, there are three important things they have to know if they want to make the best choice.
Factors To Consider Before Making A Purchase
A leather jacket can be your best companion. It won't just give you an eye-catching look that works in every situation, but it also offers you the security of knowing you can count on it no matter how cold or windy the day is. You know, like any good friend.
But beware: not all leather jackets are reliable.
If you want the best, you need to know how to find the best. To search for a high-quality leather jacket that’ll withstand anything, there are a few things you have to keep in mind.
Three, to be concise:
Country Of Origin
The origin can reveal one of two things about the quality of the product you’re getting. It’s always good to keep this factor in mind, but don’t fall into the common misconceptions people have before buying!
For instance, China used to be associated with lesser quality. And that might have been true, 5-10 years ago. However, the story has changed. For the last decade, the children of many Chinese clothing manufacturers have studied abroad at fashion schools in places such as Milan, NYC, and París — specializing alongside great minds in the most important areas of apparel design.
When they returned home, they did it as men and women armed with knowledge that’d turn the industry upside-down. Some of these leaders are even disrupting the occidental fashion world, such as Guo Pei and Grace Chen.
These newly-educated fashion moguls didn’t just usher-in a new golden era for clothing manufacturing, but they also improved the local skilled labor through guidance, execution, and mentorship. This increased labor wages, making brands unwilling to invest in a high-quality garment leave.
Today, the low-quality mass production market has moved to Vietnam and Indonesia, where labor is cheaper and quality is less impressive. Meanwhile, in China you can find plenty of dedicated companies focused on craftsmanship and artisanal quality, crafting some of the best pieces in the world. Especially when it comes to leather.
Italy is another country that produces some of the most luxurious materials for leather and finished jackets. The United States is pretty close, of course, but the difficulties getting the raw material skyrockets the price of even the most average jacket — in the end, you pay more for less quality.
It’s a great option if you just like to see the “Made in USA” on the back of the label. If you want a great jacket at the right price, not so much.
Other countries that have improved their clothing quality thanks to the democratization of education are Turkey & India. These markets are not just well-established, but they’re also contributing to the industry with high-quality leather goods.
In the end, although country of origin is still a factor to keep in mind, everything comes down to how selective the brand is.
If the brand focuses on delivering the best possible product, they’ll find the best craftsmen and raw materials in any country. If they don’t really care, then it doesn’t matter that they import their clothing from the Land of Leather Jackets, the product will still be mediocre.
When you’re looking for the best leather jackets, pay attention to materials, brand reputation, and customer reviews. These factors will speak louder about the quality of a jacket than any tag.
What’s on the outside is as important as what’s on the inside. The lining is a central piece in every jacket. Not only for comfort, but also because it’s one of the first things people notice when you open your jacket to reach for your phone.
In fact, lining is one of the main indicators of the level of quality of a jacket.
Lining made of poor materials is genuine nightmare fuel. It doesn’t just feel awful, but it also presents big drawbacks. Its texture is rough, fragile, and the lining itself lacks sheen. In addition, when it's poorly designed, it turns even the simplest motion, like sliding your arm in and out the sleeves, into the most frustrating task.
Some types of lining lack breathability. Jackets made with those can’t be worn for too long. You’ll get sweaty in no time, and it won’t be long until the lining gets smelly too.
Even after taking off their leather jackets because the suffocating feeling has become unbearable, the dreadful lining still haunts its victims in the form of a pair of shameful stains of sweat under the armpit.
So now you know, men should avoid lining made of poor material — unless they enjoy the sticky feeling of being bathed in their own sweat.
On the other hand, lining made of high-quality fibers is genuinely a blessing.
The initial level starts with 100% polyester. That’s the least expensive material used for well priced leather jackets. It’s not great, but it does its job.
You can tell when a brand cares about its lining because they use higher quality materials as rayon, cupro, viscose, and acetate. These are premium fibers for lining because they’re super breathable and with out-of-this-world silkiness. In addition, their exquisite sheen and measured weight makes them infinitely superior to polyester. These are excellent types of fiber used to create the kind of luxurious lining that makes you feel like a king just by wearing it.
Let’s take, for example, Italian satin, which has high concentrations of acetate. This is simply one of the best kinds of lining for leather jackets — resistant, silky-smooth to the touch, and with a sharp shine that screams “high-quality”.
Types of Leather
After years of first-hand experience handling different types of jackets, I learned bad leather doesn’t just feel uncomfortable — it also looks terribly cheap.
The best kind of leather will keep you comfortable, guard you even against the strongest winds, and make you look amazing.
Let’s take a look at different kinds of leather:
Main Types of Leather for Everyday Jackets
There are three main types of leather popularly used for jackets.
Synthetic leather, also known as ‘vegan leather’, is a common material used to make cheap jackets. It’s essentially plastic processed to give it a texture similar to leather. The major advantage it presents is that it’s very cheap. You’ll usually find it in jackets that cost about $100 - $200. It’s also a great option if you want something to wear a few times without committing. With some luck, it’ll last a few months before starting to peel off.
Cow leather is a splendid choice if you’re on a budget. It produces jackets that are warm, resistant, and heavy. However, when it comes to features that affect comfort, the story changes. Cow leather isn’t breathable at all, which makes it asphyxiating if worn for too long. It also has a very low level of softness, which translates into a rough texture.
Lambskin leather is both lighter and softer than cowhide. It’s more comfortable and, unlike cow leather, it actually gets softer with time. It’s also a type of leather with high durability, which guarantees you a jacket that’ll last for years.
Besides these three, there are more types of leather such as Bison, Deer, Horse and Elk. However, those tend to be more expensive and often less practical for everyday wear.
Quality of the Leather
Now that we’ve explored what are the ideal types of leather used for jackets, let’s explore their three levels of quality.
Note: These apply only for cowhide and lambskin, since these are real types of leather.
Corrected leather is on the lower side of the quality spectrum due to its appearance, durability, and smoothness — or the lack of it. It’s called ‘corrected’ because it goes through a buffing process to attempt to remove its defects. In other words, it’s a way to avoid wasting leather that otherwise would be unsuitable for a jacket. The end result is a type of leather that not only feels unnatural, but also looks artificial and cracks easily.
Top-grain leather is a pretty good material for all kinds of jackets. It’s definitely nicer than corrected leather. However, the lack of the outermost layer of the hide, which contains the toughest natural fibers, significantly reduces its durability. Other downsides are its low breathability and the fact that it never develops that beautiful patina that makes full-grain leather so desirable. It can also grow mold if not stored properly.
Full-grain leather is simply the best material for jackets. It’s made with the hide, which is both strong and durable. Full-grain leather, unlike the other two, can last for years with minimum maintenance. If anything it gets nicer and nicer with time, thanks to the natural patina it develops the more you wear it. Both luxurious and resistant, it makes leather jackets that’ll last for a lifetime looking as stunning as the first day. It’s also resistant to mold.
There’s one more layer that defines the quality of a piece of leather, and that’s the tanning process. In this regard, Napa is the standard process.
To turn a piece of leather into Napa, the tanning process is carried out utilizing either chromium or aluminum sulfate — both noted specifically for their softness and durability. After this, the leather is dyed in water-soluble colorants to increase its resistance against fading. This makes the jacket easier to clean. The end result is what’s called Napa leather, one of the best kinds of leather used for high-quality jackets.
When it comes to high-quality leather jackets, ideally you’ll want to have lambskin leather that has gone through a process of Napa tanning.
Napa lambskin leather is both resistant and breathable. It’ll last for many years and will withstand everything. It’s delightfully soft, with a luxurious feeling that others will notice the second they lay their hands on you — buttery soft and delicate. It also adapts to your shape thanks to its high stretchability, which doesn’t only make you look great, but it also feels magnificent when you wear it!
Quality of the Metal Hardware
Before investing in a high-quality leather jacket, there’s one more thing you should keep in mind: the metal hardware.
Things like zippers and metal trims are often overlooked by novice buyers. However, they’re extremely important both in terms of style and durability.
It can look hard to determine a zipper’s quality online. In-person, you could test it to see how it performs, while when you’re buying online all you have of it are photos. But don’t worry, this simple trick will change that.
When you’re buying, pay special attention to these two factors:
● Thickness of the Zipper: It will give you a perspective on the durability of the zipper. If it's thick, it’ll resist more than if it were thin.
● Width of the Zipper’s Teeth: The wider the teeth are, the better. This is because wide teeth translate into more metal — either aluminum, brass or nickel.
If you can keep in mind these two things when looking for leather jackets online, then high-quality metal hardware is guaranteed.
To summarize, whether you choose to buy in-store or online, always keep in mind origins, interior materials, type of leather, and quality of the zipper. It’ll make the difference between getting a cheap jacket that’ll look horrible and peel off in no time, or a great jacket that not only looks, but also feels amazing.
By the way, if after reading this article you’ve decided to commit to an absolutely stunning jacket, made only with top-notch materials and for a price that won’t make your jaw drop to the floor, I’ve got good news for you.
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Let me introduce you to MAVEN, the next level in men's style. Its original design, with unmatched sleekness and superior quality, makes it one of the most innovative leather jackets available. Black as night, hand-cut in a modern, impeccable style, and with titanium CADOGAN letters on the main zipper sleeve, MAVEN is a bold jacket that doesn’t ask — it commands. It looks great. It feels solid and luxurious.
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