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Ask any designer, stylist, or tastemaker about their favorite cold weather piece, and they'll undoubtedly share their secret weapon: the best coat (opens in new tab) they've ever owned. From classically outfitted trench coats (opens in new tab) to functional-leaning rain jackets (opens in new tab) to puffers (opens in new tab) that can keep you snug down to the Arctic temps to that take-it-everywhere denim jacket (opens in new tab), there is a time and a place for almost every outerwear style. Finding the right one will ensure you have them at the ready season after season.
Like trenches or puffers, a great leather jacket is an undeniable wardrobe staple—but you don't have to wait for rain or snow to wear them. Their trans-seasonality has given them widespread appeal— designers have taken 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 the season's most versatile staples and gives her approval on the best leather jackets to buy now.
Why Are Leather Jackets a Great Investment?
"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 celebrity stylist Shea Daspin (opens in new tab). "Leather jackets are unique in their ability to challenge gender norms," she says. "They exude a toughness, while they can still embrace femininity."
Alongside their ability to empower, leather jackets are also an excellent four-season investment. "Leather is an inherently durable fabric that gets wear better with age," Daspin says. "Plus, they can give any look an unexpected edgy twist."
How Should a Leather Jacket Fit?
"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 silhouette, look for long lines and unpadded shoulders. For a more feminine shape, seek out softer leathers that will allow the fabric to hug your frame resulting in a more body-conscious fit.
What To Consider Before Buying a Leather Jacket
"There are three important factors to consider when buying a leather jacket," says Daspin.
First, find your ideal style. "The classic "perfecto" or biker style isn't for everyone, but there are a ton of great modern silhouettes on the market now," Daspin explains. "Leather jackets are widely available in blazers, trenches, and cropped styles that offer fun alternatives to more traditional leather jacket varieties."
"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.
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.
Universal Standard Leeron Moto Jacket
The Best Leather Jacket for a Boxy Fit
Universal Standard's leather moto jacket isn't silhouette-hugging or oversized—it's just right. Daspin suggests pairing your leather jacket with a silk slip dress alongside kitten heels or a light-washed mom jean and a tucked-in crisp white tee.
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.
Ksubi Vivian Leather Blazer Off White
The Best Relaxed Fit Leather Blazer
"This blazer's relaxed fit, soft lamb leather, and flat front pockets keep the simple silhouette feeling like a rare vintage gem," says Daspin.
Jonathan Simkhai Eco Vegan Leather Jacket
The Best Vegan Leather Jacket
"With princess puff sleeves and a pointed hem, this light blue vegan leather option is feminine, but with functional, utilitarian touches like chest pockets and convertible sleeve buttons," Daspin explains.
Balmain Double-Breasted Leather Blazer
The Best Leather Investment 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 pick.
Gucci Leather Zip Jacket
The Best Investment 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.
ALLSAINTS Dalby Leather Biker Jacket
The Classic Leather Jacket
Ah, the leather biker jacket. With its rocker-chic look, soft exterior, and pockets, many people would classify this as the leather jacket of all leather jackets.
BB Dakota by Steve Madden Just Ride Vegan Leather Jacket
The Best Night Out Leather Jacket
You will wear the moto jacket to the bar every time. We promise.
MICHAEL Michael Kors Patent-Leather Trench Coat
The Best Statement Trench
Trench coats don't have to be exclusively suede or wool. This Michael by Michael Kors patent leather coat (opens in new tab) will make any outfit look effortlessly chic.
Veda x Ref Crosby 90s Longline Leather Blazer
The Best Long Leather Jacket
"This leather jacket is a 90's throwback. You'll feel like you're traveling through the matrix in this sustainably produced upcycled piece," says Daspin.
LAMARQUE Dylan Jacket
The Best Cropped Jacket
If you're looking for a cropped jacket, look no further. This style is a winner with its oversized fit and belted waist.
Anthropologie Vegan Cropped Leather Jacket
The Best Button-Front Leather Jacket
This polished jacket will pull any outfit together. The vegan leather style is available in petite, standard, and plus sizing.
Schott Cropped Perfecto® in Lambskin Leather Jacket
The Best Colored Leather Jacket
Schott's "Perfecto" style is a staple leather jacket available in several shades. "It's the blueprint for motorcycle jackets," says Daspin.
Rag & Bone Mack Leather Jacket
The Best Slim Fit Leather Jacket
Add this classic black leather motorcycle jacket to your wardrobe if you're after a style with a slim fit.
Blank Denim 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 outfits and give them a fresh look.
Khaite Cici Jacket in Silver Leather
The Best Metallic Leather Jacket
"This is the perfect bomber jacket with banding at the hem and cuffs to give it that classic silhouette," says Daspin. If you're not feeling the silver, the khaki brown color option is also a chic leather jacket alternative.
Themoirè Faux Leather Trench Coat
The Best Faux Leather Trench
"I love this brightly green-hued vegan leather trench," says Daspin. "Made from a soft polyurethane fabric—this jacket is the ecological alternative to PVC that requires less toxic chemical plasticizers. Glossy and waterproof, it also comes with a recycled interior lining!"
Marina Rinaldi Eleganza Leather Trench Coat
The Best All-Season Leather Trench
"Nothing screams luxe like a shiny gold trench," says Daspin. Plus, the lightweight material gives it seasonal longevity. "The price may be a splurge, but when you buy from OLIVELA, twenty-percent of the proceeds goes towards non-profit partners," Daspin explains.
Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to.
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