We have seen many changes taking place in men’s fashion, more notably within the domain of men’s outerwear. A perfect example leather jackets that have not only evolved considerably but have been used creatively to bring out the best in men’s style all over the world. Among the different types of leather jackets, you will find interesting use of leather completely or as an accent to highlight significant styles of men’s jackets as well as coats.
In this post, we will cover different types of leather jackets as well as the various styles them. that will help you make more informed decisions, the next time you purchase a leather jacket for yourself.
Various Kinds of Leather used in Men’s Leather Jackets
When you’re shopping for a leather jacket, chances are; the type of leather used isn’t the first thing you look at. Nor asking for further details about the jacket. While it is understandable, this may not have occurred to you at the moment, it is still; one of the most vital aspects to consider before making a purchase. No matter what the colour or style of the jacket maybe, it’s always best to look for some indication as to the type of leather. Better yet, ask questions about the type of leather, as this will help you in the long run. Especially when it comes to cleaning or maintaining your leather jacket. Or developing a unique patina over time, which some leathers are known for, more than others.
While it may seem a pretty simple and clear-cut subject, at first glance; there are many factors that make different types of leather. Below we go through some of the best and relatively most used types of leather jackets.
Leather Type based on Animal
This is one of the first steps within the sphere of types of leather that cover the animal from where the leather is taken and made. This can range from Sheepskin or Lambskin, Goatskin or Cowhide, Buffaloskin, Deerskin, Elkskin, even the skins of Pigs, Alligator, Snakes, Frogs, Kangaroos, Ostriches, Salmon, Lizards and Horses as well.
Leather Type based on Selection
At this point, a type of leather may also be selected based on grain. This affects the look as well as the feel and also weight of the leather jacket. Asking about Full-grain Leather, Top-grain Leather, Genuine Leather and Bonded Leather, will help you with your decision making when purchasing your leather jacket.
Leather Type based on Finish
Once the type of animal and the grain has been selected, you have different finishes that also contribute to the look and feel of a leather jacket. These finishes include Aniline, Semi-Aniline, Pigmented Finish, Finished Split Leather, Oily Pull-up Leather, Antique Grain Leather, Nubuck Leather and Suede Leather.
As the name suggests, Faux Leather is a leather-like fake material that is less durable and less soft or supple as opposed to any other type of leather. While it could have been added to the points above, this type of leather being ‘fake’ deems a section of its own most necessary. Also known as Vegan Leather, this type of leather has made waves in recent years as a solution to the global issue of animal cruelty. While this solution is debatable, with many believing it to be a lesser of two evils and far many more believing the opposite. It’s safe to say that despite its danger to the environment, it is still a type of leather that is easily available everywhere which makes it a type of leather option on its own.
Best Leather Jacket Types for Men
Now that we’ve covered the types of leather material used in making leather jackets for men, let’s move on to the men’s leather jacket styles that have transformed the way men think, feel and dress in today’s world.
Biker Leather Jackets
It goes without saying that while any man’s wardrobe is incomplete without a leather jacket, a Biker Leather Jacket, in particular, is the ‘it’ style essential that continues to be relevant today. A specific style of leather jacket for men, it has two sub-sections that are Double Riders and Cafe Racers.
This particular style of Men’s Leather Jackets can be identified by the off-centered zipper front closure, designed to improve windproofing. Adding further, the slash pockets, shoulder epaulettes, zippered cuffs and cropped body that is cinched at the waist. All of these contribute to the timelessness of this classic style staple that we call Double Riders.
Known for its signature round collar, centralized front zipper and simplistic style give you the distinguishing features of Cafe Racers, a subdivision of the classic Biker Leather Jackets. Interestingly, the term Cafe Racer was coined through an interesting story in history that describes a time when youngsters who hung out at cafes and were known to wait for an opportunity to challenge like-minded individuals to a motorcycle race. The combination of cafes and racing youngsters is how Cafe Racer got its name.
Leather Bomber Jackets
A zippered leather jacket with front pockets and knitted cuffs as well as a waistband is how the classic bomber leather jackets can be defined. Men’s Leather Bomber Jackets also known as Flight Jackets go back a long way to WW1 and subsequently WW2 when keeping fighter pilots and personnel warm was key. This was especially necessary when flying at high altitudes with uninsulated cockpits. This style of leather jacket has evolved over the years, currently being available in various colours, materials and finishes.
Much like Bomber Jackets, Aviator Jackets for men share the same history and both support each other in the evolution of Leather Flight Jackets. Men’s Aviator Jackets are most closely associated with Shearling fabrics and materials that involve wool either completely or partially lining Aviator Jackets. These jackets were the go-to pieces for their functionality as they ensured great warmth in bone-chilling temperatures.
One of the key pieces that makes a strong foundation for any man’s wardrobe are blazers. Traditionally a Navy Blue piece with oftentimes; brass buttons, blazers for men have also evolved over the years. A great part of their evolution has a lot to do with the fact that it is now available in various colours as well as materials. Leather being one globally popular material, makes Men’s Leather Blazers a style staple for every man.
Trench-coats were designed specifically for Army Officers and were used as protective outerwear during war. They were worn in rain and harsh weather especially while going into trenches during battle. From a purely functional piece of outerwear, Men’s Trench-coats have also evolved to include Leather Trench-coats that can be identified by their signature silhouette, often knee-length, belted outerwear garment, made of a water-proofed, heavy-duty material that is also insulted. The Raglan sleeves and flaps give it further detail and depth that is currently a status symbol for many.
Who would have thought that adding a hood to a jacket would make waves, instantly transforming how any type of outerwear is worn. Hooded Jackets vary in style as well as function that can cover literally any type of jacket that has a hood. Hooded Leather Jackets in particular have contributed to the evolution of this type of jacket, offering style as well as function that makes it a wardrobe must-have for all men.
A great alternative for fans of leather apparel as well as those seeking a subtle dose of leather for their style update. Leather Vests are just as versatile as they are a welcomed solution for warm climates. A simplistic styled, sleeveless garment that serves as a great canvas on which you can achieve a variety of different looks. Leather Vests are available in different styles, including either button or zipper closure or some that have no closure at all. You can also find them in various colours, sizes as well as designs that can range from simplistic and country along with a host of other options in between.
Winter jackets (Windbreakers, Fur and Shearling)
As the name suggests, Winter Jackets refers to any kind of coat or jacket specifically designed for winter. These include windbreakers as well as Fur and Shearling Jackets and Coats. In menswear, these wardrobe staples serve just as much a functional purpose as they do an aesthetically pleasing one. Making winter wear just as much an opportunity for stylish updates as any other season.
Also known as Windcheaters, these are thin fabric jackets; designed to resist light rain and chilly winds. Being a lightweight jacket, it is often made of synthetic materials. Windbreakers do offer a certain degree of warmth and are available in different colours, as well as the option of having a hood or a style that has a detachable hood.
Fur and Shearling
While Fur and Shearling have a long history serving a functional purpose, they have also grown to add a great deal of style to any look imaginable. Shearling is the shorn Sheepskin or Lambskin to achieve a short, trim fur surface. This is incorporated mainly into winter wear and is used as lining the inner-shell of the jacket or coat or better yet is also found completely covering the outerwear garment including the hood. Fur is the longer, grown Sheepskin or Lambskin Fur that is used as used exactly the same as Shearling. These can be used in such styles as Aviator Jackets, Bomber Jackets, Biker Jackets among others.
Perhaps one of the really popular pieces of outerwear in the world would be Suede Jackets. Much like many of the other types of Leather Jackets, Suede Jackets too have evolved considerably. This is why they enjoy qualities such as timelessness, style and versatility especially since their renewal in a more contemporary light. Today, Suede Jackets are known for their luxury look and feel, despite being one of the few outerwear pieces that are prone to easy damage. Yes, while these jackets may easily absorb odors and liquids leading to staining, simply because of them being porous surfaces, Suede Jackets; nonetheless are growing in demand as well as popularity by the day.
One of the many ways to achieve a luxurious look with the help of their soft, high-end feel are Nubuck Jackets. They are often confused with Suede, simply because they share a few similarities in appearance and feel. However there are many characteristic differences between the two. In a nutshell, Nubuck is a more durable leather than Suede. Mainly due to it being heat and water resistant. The Top Grain of the animal hide is used for making Nubuck Leather. Perhaps that is why it carries a better level of durability than Suede. From a fashion standpoint, Nubuck is used not only for jackets but the making of bags as well. Making it an easier task in styling to use Nubuck to give your look some panache.
Designed for comfort and protection against the elements while traveling, is why Leather Dusters were introduced years ago. From an Equestrian aspect to a more contemporary element of functionality. Much like any other type of leather outerwear, Leather Dusters too have evolved over the years, which is why they continue to be relevant today. Just like Leather Trench-coats, Leather Dusters carry a few common elements of design, such as the length, purpose of use, while also carrying qualities that are significantly different. These include details such as leather straps that go around each leg to hold the coat in place and a flap over the collar and shoulders for extra protection, are a few notable features that make Leather Dusters unique in their own way.
This element of style can be applied to nearly any garment including vests, blazers, jackets and coats. Single-breasted Coats have one column of buttons and a narrow overlap of fabric. As can be seen in Single-breasted Coats, Single-breasted Blazers among a huge assortment of coats and jackets that carry a single-breasted style.
Much like their Single-breasted counterparts, Double-breasted Coats and jackets are a style feature that carry two parallel rows of buttons with a much wider overlap of fabric. A popular choice in blazers and coats but may also be incorporated in vests, suits, overcoats etc. Double-breasted Coats and jackets carry a strikingly suave look that makes for effortless style for all men.
Chore Coats and Jackets
Designed specifically for outdoor work, Chore Coats and Jackets for men have a functional aspect that is to protect the person in the process of doing work outdoors. This could be anything manual such as railroad work, farming, paining, or any tough jobs requiring serious elbow grease. More contemporary uses of these jackets and coats include gardening, house repairs, carpentry, masonry and other ‘chores’. These jackets and coats are often made of heavy Twill, Denim or Canvas material.
Also known as Letterman Jackets, Varsity Jackets go back a long way. Linked deeply to an athletic and academic culture within many high-schools across the world. While Varsity Jackets and Letterman Jackets did have a slight difference back in the day, simply based on the use of different materials. Letterman Jackets aka Letterman Sweaters being made of Wool whereas Varsity Jackets were made of wool as well as leather between sleeves and body of the jacket. However, evolution of this style staple has blurred the lines that differentiate the two. While Varsity Jackets can be identified by their signature ribbed band collars as well as matching ribbed cuffs and waist, history shows that this was mainly styles used for men whereas women had a similar look with the addition of a flap that could be buttoned into a hood.
Another timeless classic that goes back to the late 19th century are Trucker Jackets that are traditionally jean jackets or Trucker Jackets made of denim. A unisex style jacket that grew rapidly in popularity among all people. Especially truck drivers back in the day that many seem to think inspired the introduction of this type of jacket. Trucker Jackets remain as a denim made jacket style though many changes have been introduced since its inception. Today, these jackets are available in different coloured denim as well as denims that have different washes and finishes that give this style a subtle yet noticeable refresh.
These jackets though widely known as Puffer Jackets are also known as Quilted Jackets. A distinct type of jacket that has visible quilting within the design that highlights ‘puffy’ sections between the stitching. These puffy sections are often filled with down or in some cases synthetic fibers for insulation purposes. Available in different colours and sizes as well as indication of the type of down that is used. Or in cases of synthetic fiber, the degree of warmth that remains a high priority for this type of jacket.
Gaming Leather Jackets
As the name suggests, Gaming Leather Jackets are outerwear pieces inspired by games especially Video Games. These jackets therefore, do not have one specific design and hence, include a wide variety of gamers in some of the most unique style leather jackets and coats imaginable. The Last of Us, CyberPunk, Resident Evil, Far Cry, Fallout, Batman, Mass Effect, Super Girl are just a few characters that are globally popular. Not only do these great ideas for your next Halloween Costume, for die-hard fans of the Gaming World, Gaming Leather Jackets can most definitely be worn year-round.
Leather Fencing Jackets
These types of jackets are inspired by the jackets worn by competing fencers. Having a signature asymmetrical zipper much like the ones found on Double Rider Jackets. If you ever thought that the zipper on a biker jacket could be taken up a notch then Leather Fencing Jackets are for you. The clean streamlined sleeves and pockets help to highlight the detail on this must-have wardrobe essential. As do the trim silhouette, simplistic design elements as well as a hint of futuristic style contribute to making this one of the best types of Leather Jackets to own in 2021.
If you’re familiar with Tracksuits, a matching trouser and jacket combo that is intended for sports and often worn by sportsmen, then Track Jackets will make more sense. Traditionally worn before and after competing, Track Jackets much like Tracksuits can be seen on nearly everyone outside of sports. Worn over many different types of clothing, Track Jackets have added a unique element of their own to streetstyle, athleisure and in some cases a bit of grunge. They have truly evolved over time to enable its relevance in today’s times, offering function as well as style for everyone.
Blouson aka Harrington Jackets
Originally known as a G9 or a Baracuta Jacket, Harrington Jackets aka Blouson are lightweight outerwear pieces. Made of Cotton, Polyester, Wool or Suede, these jackets have a simplistic design, though it is not uncommon to find patterned lining such as Tartan on a few jacket styles. The appearance of these jackets in pop-culture over the last few decades have contributed to its transformation as well as popularity within different age groups.
Also known as Anorak Jackets, Parka Jackets much like any other type of outerwear have a rich history that is linked to functionality. A hooded, pullover fur garment for such activities as hunting and kayaking in freezing cold temperatures, especially those around the Arctic region. These jackets were initially made of Sealskin or Caribou. Some Inuit Anorak Jackets in particular require regular coating with Fish Oil for water resistance. This hip length jacket has a modern interpretation as well which sees the modern Parka being made of synthetic, water resistant material. This is filled with Duck or Goose down for warmth and are used mainly in sports such as skiing.
While the traditional Peacoats are linked to the Navy in terms of origin, evolution of this classic piece over time has seen a vast change in colours, length and hardware as well as materials such as leather. No doubt, the design and detail of peacoats remain the same, it is however a modified style update to this timeless classic that many are pleased with.
Introduced by the British company ‘Crombie’, this three-quarter length coat often with a velvet collar in a contrasting colour, Crombie Jackets and Coats continue to be a statement of luxury as they were back in the day. Worn by the likes of Winston Churchill, The Beatles and Cary Grant, not forgetting the Double-breasted Peak version worn by George VI. It goes without saying that Crombie Jackets and Coats should be on your wishlist the next time you shop for a classic timeless Coat.
Duffle or Duffel Coats are quite simply made of ‘Duffel’ a thick, very often coarse woolen material. The name is taken from Duffel, a town in Belgium. This typically hooded piece of outerwear that is fastened by toggles, became really popular in Europe in the 1850s. By the 1890s however, they were supplied to the Royal British Navy. After WW2 these jackets and coats were dubbed government surplus material which trickled into apparel worn by civilians which included students. Today, Duffle Coats are available in a wide variety of colours, coat lengths and details. As a side-note, Duffle Bags are also made of the same Duffel material.
Concluding the Types of Leather Jackets
So there you have it, a point to point breakdown covering the different types of Leather Jackets and Coats based on the types of hides and skins, finishes, selection, not forgetting the many styles that are often deep-rooted in history, either being introduced during a world event, milestones that have changed the course of time and reinventions that highlight inspirations from a glorious past. Whichever way you look at the different types of leather jackets have truly changed the way we see men’s fashion but most especially quality leather outerwear that are genuinely timeless classics.