Stylists on Why Leather Jackets Are a Great Investment

Experts also weigh in on how to buy and style them.

Woman wearing white tank, leather jacket, and denim
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ask any designer, stylist, or tastemaker about which outerwear pieces deserve a prime spot in your capsule wardrobe aside from trench coats, down jackets, and faux fur coats, and they’ll likely mention leather jackets. “They have peak moments but rarely dip out of fashion,” says stylist and jacket-lover Emily Evans. So, what makes them such a timeless closet mainstay?

Well, for starters, leather jackets are trans-seasonal. Although commonly associated with fall and winter, these trusty essentials can also be worn during the warmer months “as a fairly light jacket for chilly [spring and] summer evenings,” Evans notes.

Aside from their sense of practicality, leather jackets also boast an undeniably cool feel that can amp up any outfit. Fashion journalist and stylist Corina Gaffey tells Marie Claire that this is likely due to their storied connection to motorcycle culture. However, Gaffey mentions that these days, designers are putting a softer spin on the historically edgy outerwear staple.

“While biker jackets will always be an enduring classic, there's a move towards more sleek, clean-bonded styles without a lot of buckles and zippers,” says Gaffey, who says that high-street brands have created their own minimalist designs.

Ahead, Evans and Gaffey guide us through one of fashion's most cherished classics, sharing everything you’ll need to know about the best leather jackets of 2024—from how to style them to what silhouettes are trending for spring.

The Best Leather Jackets for Women

More Leather Jackets That We Love

Key Features of the Best Leather Jackets

  • Silhouette

Gaffey says that both oversized and fitted leather jacket styles are in for 2024, meaning there’s truly no such thing as picking the right or wrong silhouette. The fashion expert noticed a full range of styles on the Spring 2024 Fashion Week circuit—from structured body-hugging designs at Acne, Chloé, Courreges, and Fendi to inherently easy, oversized fits at Burberry Celine and Coach. She also notes their ability to pair alongside almost every kind of garment.

  • Hardware

"I like good quality leather, but also good quality hardware—these small details can make a massive difference while elevating the overall look of a jacket,” says stylist, Evans. Not only do subtle buckles and zippers lend a unique aesthetic, but top-notch hardware will also last longer, look more elevated, and ultimately be worth the luxury investment.

  • Fabric

Not all leathers are made equal. Before you buy an authentic leather jacket, you might want to consider leather sourcing and what went into the production process. Look for designers who are forthcoming about their supply chain and manufacturing processes, as these details will ultimately result in better-quality fabrication.

When it comes to faux leather, it's worth taking a few minutes to review the product's material breakdown and details. On the sustainability front, the best faux leather jackets are those crafted from recycled plastic or bio-natural options made from cacti or mushrooms.

  • Comfort

“It goes without saying, but as a reminder, leather jackets should be comfortable,” says Gaffey. Although leather tends to soften over time, you should avoid designs that feel too stiff or tight. On the other hand, overly loose and baggy designs run the risk of overpowering you. As a rule of thumb, "An oversized style should still fit nicely on the shoulders and have room to accommodate one or two layers,” Gaffey says.

How to Style a Leather Jacket

Woman wearing a brown leather jacket, black top, and shorts.

Shake things up with shades of brown.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're the type to refrain from wearing black during the warmer months, try dabbling in shades of brown. "Brown can make a leather jacket feel more seasonally appropriate for spring," Gaffey says. The stylist also mentions choosing a pop of color like red or a softer spring color on the rise.

Woman wearing leather jacket, white tank top, and jeans.

If you're on the go and need a straightforward outfit formula, pair your leather jacket with a tank top and wide-leg jeans.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gaffey says to try out a leather jacket alongside a wide-leg pair of jeans if you need an easy outfit formula to wear around the clock. For spring, go for a white denim pairing. "I love the contrast between a black leather jacket and fresh white jeans," she says.

Woman wearing leather jacket, white slip dress, and boots.

For those chilly summertime evenings, you'll want to throw a leather jacket over your shoulders.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although the summer season is filled with balmy, sweat-inducing days, there are moments when temperatures can drop (particularly in the evening). In this case, a lightweight leather jacket is great to have on hand. Evans recommends elevating your look with a summertime staple, like a silky slip dress or skirt.

Meet The Experts

Emily Evans
Emily Evans

Emily Evans is a celebrity fashion stylist who has an impressive roster of clients including Ashley Graham, Bebe Rexha, and Katie Piper.

Corina Gaffey
Corina Gaffey

Corina Gaffey is a fashion journalist and stylist with over a decade of experience in the media industry. She is also the writer of her own self-published blog on Substack, where she shares endless styling tips.

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, who writes everything from trend reports to fashion featurettes and long-form profiles. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, writing shopping e-commerce guides, assisting with market for fashion photo shoots, and assigning and editing fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking in her tiny NYC kitchen.