Whether it’s moto-style, a sophisticated suede number, or a classic biker jacket, when you throw on a leather jacket and it’s hard to not feel a bit more confident. That’s because the right leather jacket — that is, the one that not only fits right but feels right for your particular style — is transformative. The best men’s leather jackets have a magic power, adding the right bit of edge to your look without overdoing it.
When it comes to leather jackets, fit is crucial. Look for a leather jacket with a modern, not relaxed fit, the kind that hugs your shoulders and has a slightly higher armhole yet leaves room for light layering. A leather jacket should also be able to be zipped up, unless it’s a moto-style leather jacket, which are often left unzipped. Again, think comfortable and tailored, but not skin-tight. Nail the fit, the care, and the color, and you’re well on your way to finding a reliable jacket you can rock all the time.
And no matter your preference, there are plenty of modern leather jackets to choose from. Now is a great time to search for one, as the leather jacket is a timeless way to bridge the gap between the heat of summer and the chill of fall. The best wear easily with a t-shirt, a henley, or denim shirt in equal measure. Here are some of our favorites, across all prices.
If your mind instantly flashed back to movie star icons wearing this very jacket, then you’re likely not alone. The Schott “Perfecto” is an enduring style classic for many reasons, representing both edgy and timeless style. It’s a bold an investment-worthy choice as far as leather jackets are concerned, but keep the rest of your ensemble simple (black denim and a grey T-shirt), and this jacket will deliver some standout style points.
In the world of leather jackets (and shoes, for that matter), suede is undoubtedly tougher to care for than real or faux leather. That makes the handsome Wyatt Jacket a bit less versatile than its counterparts, but no less impressive and investment-worthy. Taylor Stitch uses bi-swing shoulders and a two-way zipper, just like classic leather jackets of old, to offer up maximum versatility. This jacket is so refined, you could easily wear it with navy chinos and a white Oxford shirt to the office.
Leather jackets come in all sorts of varieties, from the commonly found moto silhouette to the iconic, aviation-approved bomber jacket. The Olive Brown leather is a nice change of pace from deep brown leather or black leather, making this one jacket you can wear with either black or blue denim. When you want a grab-and-go jacket to throw on for beers at your favorite watering hole, go for this casual, dependable number.
How to Care for a Leather Jacket
Caring for a leather jacket isn’t all that different than caring for leather shoes, although you’re not going to be polishing your leather jacket to a gleaming brilliance. However, using leather conditioner in areas of heavy wear, like the sleeves, can add both durability and a rich finish. Light stains can be carefully removed by lightly blotting a damp cloth, but suede and nubuck jackets should be taken to a professional cleaner (and hey, you might even want to take your more expensive, real leather jacket to the cleaners, too).
Leather jackets are designed to mold to your body the more you wear them, so make sure you store your jacket in a cool, dry (not damp place) and hang it on a sturdy, preferably wooden hanger, like the kind you’d use to hang a suit or blazer (yes, you should treat it with that much care). Proper hanging and storage helps the jacket retain its shape, giving you a solid piece of heirloom-worthy outerwear.
Sometimes, it’s best not to overthink it as you select a reliable leather jacket. Here, Nordstrom comes through with a simple, subtle moto jacket in sharp black leather, all the better to wear with your trusty pair of indigo jeans and broken-in moto boots. The sheepskin leather will mold to your body over time, so ensure you take care to get it professionally cleaned when needed.
Leather jackets have been coveted and trusted in the world of open road racing for years, all thanks to their durability. Hence the term racer jacket, which today extends to casually rugged leather outerwear that’s easy to team with slim blue jeans even not on the road. Cole Haan hits all the right details here, including front-zip chest pockets (to store your EDC on the road) and a wear-with-anything shade of deep brown.
Angel Jackets could be just the place to go if you want a leather jacket made with some serious added warmth. In a nod to the jacket worn by a certain actor in a Christopher Nolan war epic, the shearling and the vintage detailing make this jacket remarkably cool and remarkably comfortable when fall turns chilly. Better still is the highly affordable price tag.
The thing with shopping for a real leather jacket is that it often comes down to price. If you can’t exactly spare an arm and a leg at the moment, then this faux leather option is a reliable, sub-$100 move. It’s even cooler that Levi’s saw fit to turn its instantly recognizable trucker jacket design into a leather version that’s about as badass as it gets.
You’ve been wearing Dockers chinos for years, right? What about the brand’s varied selection of outerwear? If you’re new to checking out the San Francisco-based brand’s extra layering options, consider giving this subtly stylish faux leather jacket a try. Especially in rich tan leather, it’s the kind of jacket made to be worn in business casual situations or your commute, preferably alongside tailored navy chinos from Dockers.