Three Fashion Stylists Weigh in on the Best Leather Jackets to Complete Your Wardrobe

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Byrdie / Lecia Landis

Are you even into outerwear if you don’t own a leather jacket? Sure, it’s quite the investment, but if you do choose wisely, leather jackets are classic enough to wear for years and can even start to look better with age. Stylist Karen Schijman suggests leather jackets aren't exclusively for cold months, too. "I wear my moto jacket pretty much year-round," she says.

Of course, there are more than enough options if you're in the market for a new leather jacket; in the end, however, your final choice should all come down to your personal style and how it fits into your current wardrobe. "Think of your leather jacket as your second skin," suggests stylist Jamie Frankel. "It’s an added layer that you can play with, especially in the winter when layering."

Below, we’ve rounded up the best leather jackets on the market right now that revolve around both current trends and more timeless choices—and also included some styling tips from Frankel, Schijman, and Chelsea Volpe.

Meet the Expert

  • Jamie Frankel is a New York-based wardrobe stylist represented by Honey Artists. She's styled celebrities like Nina Agdal, Karolina Kurkova, and Christie Brinkley, and has worked with commercial clients ranging from NET-A-PORTER to Amazon.
  • Karen Schijman is a New York-based stylist represented by Honey Artists. She also recently launched a handbag line called Chascona Bags.
  • Chelsea Volpe is a New York-based fashion and still life stylist represented by Honey Artists. Starting out as the assistant stylist for Alicia Keys, she's since collaborated with commercial and editorial clients including Bloomingdale's, Hypebae, and Victoria's Secret.

Best Overall: Acne Studios Leather Biker Jacket

4.6
acne-studios-leather-biker-jacket

NET-A-PORTER

Who else recommends it? Vogue and Elle both picked the Acne Studios Leather Biker Jacket.

"The Acne Studios’ biker jacket is as classic as it gets, but it's modernized in all the right, subtle ways," says Frankel. "It’s oversized enough to achieve the perfect model-off-duty look, but fitted enough to still be able to wear out at night, whether slung over your shoulders with a dress or worn with vintage denim and a heeled bootie." She also notes that the length of this jacket hits at the hip, which is flattering for those both tall and short. Plus, the thick belt "gives off rock-n-roll vibes" and "balances out any outfit that feels too romantic or feminine for your liking."

Material: 100% lamb leather; 100% viscose lining | Colors: Black | Size Range: FR 32-42

Best Budget: Madewell Washed Leather Oversized Motorcycle Jacket

madewell-washed-leather-oversized-motorcycle-jacket

Madewell

Finding an economically priced leather jacket is relative, so when you find a well-made leather jacket that covers around the $500-mark, it’s a great find. This oversized, biker-style leather topper by Madewell is one such option and offers quite a classic appeal.

Material: 100% leather | Colors: Sunfaded Indigo, Dark Forest, Faded Mauve, Dried Cedar, True Black | Size Range: XXS-XXL

Best Luxury: Bottega Veneta Macramé-Trimmed Leather Jacket

bottega-veneta-brown-leather-parka

Bottega Veneta

Details, details, details. For a high-luxury leather jacket, look no further than Bottega Veneta. The brand’s leather parka is cut from supple brown leather and offers signature details like corset piping, a drawstring waist, and macramé trim—plus, Bottega Veneta leather jackets are Volpe's current favorite. "Bottega Veneta has amazing leather jackets this season that can be up-styled when paired with a cocktail dress or made casual with distressed denim and a burnout white tee," she explains.

Material: 100% lamb leather | Colors: Brown | Size Range: XS-L

Best Value: Club Monaco Classic Leather Moto Jacket

club-monaco-classic-leather-moto-jacket

Club Monaco

Frankel suggests that the best leather jacket at a lower price point is none other than this option from Club Monaco. "It’s still a bit oversized, but the leather is soft and has some give so you can size up or size down as you please," she explains. We can just imagine how well this jacket will age. Factoring in the price-per-wear of this staple piece, you really can't find a better value for the quality.

Material: Leather | Colors: Black | Size Range: XXS-XL

Best Vegan: Nanushka Hide Puffer Jacket

nanushka-hide-puffer

NET-A-PORTER

"I vibe with Nanushka, because [compared to Bottega Veneta] the price point is better for the budget-conscious fashionista who also likes to look fab and edgy," says Volpe. Also recommended by Schijman, the Budapest-based vegan leather brand is committed to ethical production processes. The ‘Hide’ style offers a comfortable oversized fit and a silhouette that’s distinctly modern while padded for warmth and lined for easy layering. We especially love the drama of the oversized collar, which also serves as an extra layer of insulation around the neck and shoulders to keep you extra warm.

Material: Leather | Colors: Black, Creme, Orange, Super Pink, Brown | Size Range: XXS-XL

Best Trench: Elie Tahari Belted Vegan Leather Trench Coat

elie-tahari-belted-vegan-leather-trench-coat

Saks Fifth Avenue

The perfect trench coat in leather is inherently versatile yet unique; it’s sleek yet understatedly elegant. And no option on the market right now achieves this better than this style by Elie Tahari. You’ll never get sick of the fine details of this coat, from the contrast buttons and sleek tailoring to the beaded tie belt. Perhaps the best part is that it's also made from vegan leather.

Material: 100% polyurethane | Colors: Noir, Desert | Size Range: XS-XL

Best Belted: Tahari Liv Belted Leather Shirt Jacket

tahari-liv-belted-shirt-jacket

Macy's

Tahari created this utility-inspired jacket from supple leather with a point collar and front buttons. The simple construction is tailored for a relaxed, easygoing fit that cinches at the waist with a tie belt. Not to mention it's also available in petite and plus sizes.

Material: 100% leather shell; 100% polyester lining | Colors: Chocolate, Black | Size Range: XS-L; P/XS-P/XL; 0X-3x

Best Blazer: The Frankie Shop Olympia Faux Leather Blazer

the-frankie-shop-olympia-faux-leather-blazer

MATCHESFASHION

The Frankie Shop has perfected the oversized yet tailored aesthetic. This single-breasted style embraces "masculine" tailoring with drop shoulders and a relaxed silhouette; it's undoubtedly among the best you’ll find this season in terms of well-structured blazers at an approachable price point.

Material: 100% polyester | Colors: Black | Size Range: XS/S-M/L

Best Shacket: Reformation Veda Leather Shirt Jacket

reformation-veda-leather-shacket

Veda

"NYC-based Veda has some great classic styles and colors as well styles in the vein of more of a shirt jacket, also known as a shacket," says Schijman. This shirt jacket by Veda was in collaboration with Reformation, a brand known for its sustainability practices, and it really nails the relaxed leather look. Feature-wise, we love that it maintains utilitarian appeal, as well as a casually polished look; it has front pockets with snaps so you can store small belongings, like a phone, wallet, and keys.

Material: Leather byproduct | Colors: Black | Size Range: XS-XL

Best White: Eloquii Faux Leather Moto Jacket

eloquii-faux-leather-white-moto-jacket

Eloquii

Unlike other muted neutrals, any shade of white will lure the eye. This leather biker jacket by Eloquii, which comes in white, achieves that end. Meanwhile, buttery soft vegan leather and silvertone hardware ground the quintessential style, so as not to stray too far from a classic appeal.

Material: 100% polyester | Colors: Bone, Jadeite, Black | Size Range: 14-28

Best Minimalist: Totême Oversized Leather Jacket

toteme-black-oversized-leather-jacket

NET-A-PORTER

Leave it to Totême to create an ultra-modern version of any wardrobe staple. This time, the brand has reimagined a classic safari jacket in supple black leather. Clean lines mainly characterize this number, though it’s also worth noting artful details like its slightly oversized cut, four simply constructed flap pockets, and narrow notched collar.

Material: 100% lambskin | Colors: Black | Size Range: DK 34-40

Best Fringe: RE/DONE Suede Fringe Blazer

redone-suede-fringe-jacket

Saks Fifth Avenue

What goes better with fringe than suede? RE/DONE's leather jacket emits a free-spirited, retro vibe but is still sophisticated. It’s cut from genuine leather suede and offers stylish details like a notched collar, blazer-like structure, and fringing on the front, back, and sleeves. Pair effortlessly with the brand's 70s classic clog.

Material: 100% pig leather | Colors: Black, Brown | Size Range: XS-L

Best Long: Nour Hammour Bombshell

nour-hammour-bombshell-leather-coat

The Yes

Clean, long lines and impeccable tailoring make Paris-based Nour Hammour’s ‘Bombshell’ style a top pick in this category, which best suits wearers in cool weather where a layer of shearling isn’t paramount. We love its simple and effortlessly cool style that’s vaguely 1990s, à la Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and that can tastefully top off any ensemble.

Material: 100% lambskin leather; 100% rayon lining | Colors: Black, Acai | Size Range: FR 34-44

Best Fur-Lined: Halfboy Leather-Trimmed Shearling Jacket

halfboy-leather-trimmed-shearling-jacket

NET-A-PORTER

Halfboy took a classic leather biker jacket and optimized it for crisp winter weather and steady warmth with shearling and sheepskin. We love the crinkled leather look, a departure from the smooth skins on so many other options out there, and the cozy appearance of the shearling.

Material: Black shearling and sheep leather | Colors: Black | Size Range: XS-XL

Best Cropped: LAMARQUE Dylan Leather Biker Jacket

lamarque-dylan-jacket

Saks Fifth Avenue

For a dose of the 1980s, look to LAMARQUE. This coat is a cropped biker style made from supple black leather and bold design choices reminiscent of the period, from wide shoulders to a tapered hemline.

Material: 100% leather; 97% polyester, 3% spandex lining | Colors: Black, Tan, Red, White | Size Range: XS-XL

Best Statement: Simone Rocha Cropped Ruffled Leather Biker Jacket

Simone Rocha Cropped Ruffled Leather Biker Jacket

Shopbop

Irish designer Simone Rocha pumped up the romantic appeal, and the sleeve volume, with this number, making it perfect for someone who’s looking for a statement leather jacket. Like the classic bike jacket, this one offers a snap-down collar, an asymmetrical zip placket, and a set of zip front pockets that sit just above a belted hem. However, the puffy, ruffled sleeves and ultra-cropped shape make for an avant-garde piece that Carrie Bradshaw would have coveted.

Material: 100% cowhide shell; 100% acetate shell | Colors: Black | Size Range: UK 6-24

What to Look for in a Leather Jacket

Silhouette and Fit

"I think the most important thing is fit," says Schijman. "You want the jacket to fit your shoulders as it will wrinkle and stretch in time, but also enough to have room to flex your back (and biceps) and accommodate a sweater—even in Los Angeles, think cashmere." An oversized fit is best for layering, while a relaxed piece works well for someone who would like a bit of breathing room in an otherwise close fit. Tight-fitting is the most classic silhouette, reminiscent of the early 1970s à la Jane Birkin, though it sometimes requires careful attention to determine the best size.

Details and Utility

Naturally, you’ll match the level of detail to your taste, but of course, any detail should be thoughtful and purposeful, be it in the spirit of utilitarianism or simply the most flattering silhouette. Functional pockets with button or zip closures make for a useful travel piece, while silk lining is great for layering over thick knits or sweatshirts. Seaming can be especially important in minimalist styles, where lines are the focal point, so pay special attention to the placement, direction, and workmanship.

FAQ
  • How do you style leather jackets?

    Schijman says leather jackets can be "paired with everything from a sundress to an evening gown" year-round. While working on set, she styles her leather jacket with a light puffer from Zara or Uniqlo or wears it over a shearling or Mongolian vest for a more "boho" vibe.

    Frankel agrees with the leather jacket-puffer pairing. "Contrasting a puffy, sporty vest over a leather jacket is a cool combination," she says. "It gives you that extra warmth, but still shows a cool sleeve and/or collar peeking out from your leather jacket—same goes for oversized coats," she says. "Once we start heading into spring, I also like layering underneath a leather jacket with a colorful sweater and white tee. Choosing a leather in other shades like cognac or sage green are also nice ways to wear a leather jacket in an updated form."

    On the other hand, Volpe prefers a more retro look when it comes to leather jackets. "I love to style a leather jacket on top of a vintage metal tee or underneath an oversized vintage men's jacket," she says. "It creates dimension in texture and aesthetic."

  • What are tips on how to clean a leather jacket?

    If your leather jacket has been properly treated and protected by the manufacturer, you should be able to buff away light coats of soil with a clean, damp cloth or sponge and a leather-cleaning solution, such as Absorbine Horseman’s One Step. (This specific solution also rates well for color restoration and leather hydration.) However, if the exterior needs attention on a larger scale or if it’s the interior that requires some refreshing, send the garment to a professional leather cleaning expert, like LeatherCareUSA, which provides services through the mail. This could be your dry cleaner, but to be certain, verify their credentials, as it’s not safe to assume that every dry cleaning business is adept at handling leather goods. If the inner lining is made from a washable fabric, like viscose, you can technically hand-wash your garment at home, though this is a somewhat tedious process that involves specific detergent and techniques.

  • Can leather jackets get wet?

    While it’s not ideal, it’s unrealistic to think that your leather jacket will never get wet. If this happens, you needn’t worry; leather can sustain such conditions. If it becomes soaked by heavy rain or snow, let it air dry, then treat it with a leather conditioner. (Generally speaking, using a leather conditioner like mink oil every so often is good practice, as it keeps leather from drying out, looking ashy, or becoming subject to severe damage from the natural elements, experts say. As with moisturizer on human skin, conditioner on leather nourishes and hydrates for a smoother appearance.)

  • What is vegan leather made from?

    Vegan leather is generally made from polyester and polyurethane. The combination pretty effectively mimics the appearance of real leather and is lauded for its cruelty-free credentials. It’s also dubbed a sustainable fashion choice; however, given that neither polyester nor polyurethane is known for its biodegradability, the point is heavily debated in the fashion community.


How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie

This shopping guide was written by Byrdie contributor Hayley Prokos. A seasoned commerce writer and editor, she’s constantly on the hunt for the best wardrobe essentials to update your collections. Her work has appeared in SELF Magazine, Newsweek, and the daily Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, and she holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Northwestern University. For this roundup, she spent days combing through current offerings and researching the best leather care.

Erika Reals, Byrdie's Associate Fashion Editor, updated this piece. She interviewed three fashion stylists for their recommendations and styling expertise regarding leather jackets.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. 17 classic leather jackets to shop now—and wear forever. Vogue. https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/best-leather-jackets-women

  2. 21 black leather jackets to wear from now until forever. Elle. https://www.elle.com/fashion/shopping/g32389641/best-leather-jackets

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