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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"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.
"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.
"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.
Trending Leather Jackets in 2023
"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."
Quince 100% Leather Motorcycle Jacket
The Best Overall Leather Jacket
This leather moto jacket isn't too formfitting or too oversized—it's just right. Plus, it's a cult-favorite amongst Quince's shoppers, too, with an average four-point-nine out of five rating as proof." I absolutely love everything about this jacket," one reviewer writes. "The quality of the leather is beautiful, and the fit is perfect. The sleeve length and jacket details are something you would expect on a $500 jacket." Daspin suggests pairing this moto style with a silk slip dress and kitten heels or with light-washed mom jeans and a tucked-in, crisp white t-shirt.
Allsaints Dalby Leather Biker Jacket
The Classic Leather Biker Jacket
Ah, the leather biker jacket. With its rocker-chic look, soft exterior, and slanted-zip pockets, many people would classify this as the leather jacket to end all leather jackets. Go full-tilt biker chic and team this jacket with leather trousers, too—a motorcycle is not required.
Gap Puff Sleeve Faux-Leather Jacket
The Best Puff-Sleeve Leather Jacket
"With princess puff sleeves and corset-like boning, this faux leather option is feminine but with functional, utilitarian touches like chest pockets and convertible button cuffs," Daspin explains. One Gap reviewer perfectly synthesizes the stylist's point: "This puff sleeve leather jacket exceeded my expectations. It's polished but edgy at the same time [and I'm] looking forward to all the ways I'll style it."
MICHAEL Michael Kors Cropped Leather Jacket
The Best Cropped Leather Jacket
If you're looking for a cropped leather jacket, look no further. This style is a winner with its baggy, above-the-hip fit and belted waist. Take it from this one satisfied Saks Fifth Avenue shopper: "This hits at a perfect spot: not too short, not too long. Perfect price and the quality of the leather feels and looks amazing. [I] can’t wait to break it in!"
Elodie Faux Leather Moto Jacket
The Best Affordable Faux Leather Jacket
At only $46, this faux leather jacket essentially sells itself. The moto silhouette exudes the effortless sophistication of an off-duty supermodel (think Cindy Crawford running Saturday errands). Plus, it's chock-full of subtle yet intriguing details—peep the all-black zippers and waist belt. "The hardware is classy and it’s a perfect moto jacket," confirms a Nordstrom Rack reviewer. "This looks like real leather to me. and [you] can’t beat the price either."
Good American Better Than Leather Faux Leather Blazer
The White Leather Blazer
Meet the leather jacket's professional older sister: The leather blazer. Not all work environments encourage the personal style you deserve to show off, but you can still get your leather fix with this sleek ivory pick. "This blazer's relaxed fit, soft faux leather, and flat front pockets keep the simple silhouette feeling like a rare vintage gem," says Daspin.
Banana Republic Vegan Suede Jacket
The Vegan Leather Suede Jacket
Cut from a buttery black faux suede that's begging to be touched, this textured jacket from Banana Republic is the epitome of luxe on a budget. Consider styling this cropped, button-down style with a pleated mini skirt or slim-fitting capris for a look that feels like what Sandy from Grease would wear in 2023.
Deadwood Brooke Leather Blazer
Best Black Leather Blazer
"This leather jacket is a '90s throwback. You'll feel like you're traveling through the matrix in this sustainably-produced upcycled leather piece," says Daspin.
Levi's Women's Faux Leather Moto Jacket
The Best Colored Leather Jacket
If you're after a bold spring look and like your outerwear to boast a slim and tapered fit, add this eclectic cherry red motorcycle jacket by Levi's to your wardrobe. The exact style comes in extended sizes, too, for plus-size shoppers, ranging from 1X to 3X.
BLANKNYC Fresh Start Moto Jacket
The Best White Leather Jacket
Already have a black moto in your closet? Consider picking up this versatile white style to brighten up your outfits and give them a fresh, clean look.
Gucci Leather Zip Jacket
The Best Designer Leather Jacket
"A cinched waist, zig-zag stitching, and an exaggerated collar make this black leather jacket a subtle and unexpected conversation piece," Daspin says. It is indeed, by all definitions, an investment purchase (no, your eyeballs don't deceive you—it's just under $5,000), but it's a piece that will last you for years and years ... and years.
We The Free Fast Lane Moto Jacket
The Best Moto Jacket
Tap into motomami vibe (a moto-inspired fashion aesthetic, as seen on Spanish singer Rosalía) with this racing-ready style from Free People's We the Free. "Love everything about this jacket," writes one over-the-moon shopper. "Some leather jackets can be stiff and unforgiving but this piece is ridiculously soft/comfortable! Seriously, I feel like I could do cartwheels wearing this thing! If you’re waffling [between] whether or not to get this jacket, it is absolutely worth the splurge"
Bardot Faux Leather Shirt
The Best Faux Leather Shacket
Well, how about a leather shacket (a.k.a. shirt and jacket hybrid piece)? This Mango option offers a grunge-y yet effortless vibe to any outfit. Pair it with black baggy jeans, a roomy white tee, and leather boots, of course, to tie the entire look together.
Maeve Patent Faux Leather Trench Coat
The Best Faux Leather Trench Coat
Trench coats don't have to be exclusively gabardine, suede, or wool. This long leather jacket will give any outfit a bit of classic effortlessness (as all trenches do) but also a bit of contemporary pizzaz due to its trendy digital lavender color.
Banana Republic Leather Bomber Jacket
The Best Leather Bomber Jacket
"This is the perfect oversized bomber jacket with banding at the hem and cuffs to give it that classic silhouette," says Daspin. If you're not feeling the classic black option, the espresso brown color option is also a chic leather jacket alternative.
ABLE Maha Leather Jacket
The Best Leather Jacket for a Feel-Good Purchase
The best part about Nashville-based brand ABLE isn't just its timeless leather jackets—the brand aims to end generational poverty by providing women with working opportunities at the company. But speaking of its leather outerwear, its Maha Jacket is a particular standout offering. "This is truly my favorite leather jacket I’ve ever owned. The quality is just unmatched," writes one overjoyed reviewer. "The fit of this jacket is really great. And as far as length goes, I love that it’s a little shorter in the back—it gives the jacket an extra edge. I purchased black, but I plan on buying it in brown soon. It’s that good."
Nanushka Hide Quilted Padded Vegan Leather Jacket
Best Leather Puffer Jacket