The 18 Best Leather Jackets for Women, According to Stylists and Fashion Editors

I'll take them all, thanks.

woman wearing a leather jacket
(Image credit: Ester Grass Vergara)

Ask any designer, stylist, or tastemaker about their favorite cold-weather piece, and they'll undoubtedly share their secret weapon: The best coat they've ever owned. From classically outfitted trench coats to functional rain jackets to puffers that can keep you snug in Arctic temps to a take-it-everywhere denim jacket, there is a time and a place for almost every outerwear style. But with the best leather jackets, you don't have to wait for rain or snow to wear them. Their trans-seasonality has given them a widespread appeal, making them an undeniable all-year-round wardrobe staple.

And in 2023, designers are resisting the style and taking creative liberties with special hardware and soft silhouettes—lessening their association with just motorcyclists and the punk-rock scene. Ahead, leather jacket-loving stylist Shea Daspin guides us through one of fashion's most versatile essentials and gives her approval on the best women's leather jackets in 2023, both faux and genuine, to buy now.

What to Look For in a Leather Jacket

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  • Silhouette

"Personal style plays a huge factor in finding your best leather jacket," Daspin explains. She suggests an oversized fit for those who prefer a carefree vintage look. For a more modern and androgynous silhouette, look for long lines and unpadded shoulders. But, Daspin says, if you're after a more feminine shape, seek out softer leathers that will allow the fabric to hug your frame resulting in a more body-conscious fit.

  • Hardware

"Excellent zippers, reinforced snaps or buttons, and buckles that have a nice weight are all details to look for," says Daspin. Not only does hardware lend a unique aesthetic, but high-quality hardware will also last longer, look more elevated, and ultimately be worth the luxury investment.

  • Fabric

"Leather is an inherently durable fabric that wears better with age," Daspin says. However, not all leathers are made equal. Before you take the plunge into buying an authentic leather jacket, you must consider leather sourcing and what went into the production process. "Be wary of brands that don't provide transparency," says Daspin. Instead, look for designers that are forthcoming about their supply chain and manufacturing processes. These details will ultimately result in a better quality fabrication.

And when it comes to faux leather, it's worth taking a few minutes to review the product's material breakdown and details. Some brands that offer vegan leather options tout their sustainable alternatives as being better for the earth but, oftentimes, craft their textiles from an amalgamation of plastics like plastic-based PVC, polyester, or polyurethane. So, on the sustainability front, the best faux leather jackets are those crafted from recycled-plastic materials or bio-natural options made from cacti or mushrooms.

How To Style a Leather Jacket

"First worn by motorcycle gangs and later popularized by '50s male movie stars, women only began wearing leather jackets circa the 1970s as they quietly became popularized amongst mainstream musicians like Joan Jett and Blondie," explains Daspin. "Leather jackets are unique in their ability to challenge gender norms," she describes. If you resonate with the style's binary-shirking nature, the stylist invites you to celebrate how leather jackets "exude a toughness while they can still embrace femininity" by pairing one with a flowy summer dress or flirty mini skirt.

"Leather jackets can also give any look an unexpected edgy twist," the fashion connoisseur states. As such, they're an ideal layer to pair with casual, understated looks—jeans and a baggy white button-down shirt or flowy linen pants teamed with a graphic tee shirt.

"The classic biker style isn't for everyone, but there are a ton of great modern silhouettes on the market now," the stylist explains. "In 2023, leather jackets are widely available in blazers, trenches, and cropped styles that offer fun alternatives to more traditional leather jacket varieties."