The 17 Best Leather Jackets for Women in 2023

Will 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 (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 women's leather jackets, both faux and genuine, to buy now.

Why Are Leather Jackets a Great Investment?

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"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.

  • Silhouette

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."

  • 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

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 go over 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.

Sara Holzman
Style Director

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. Over her six years with Marie Claire, Sara has reported on the ever-evolving world of fashion— covering both established and emerging designers within the industry. Sara has held fashion positions at Lucky and SELF Magazine and was a regular contributor to Equinox’s Furthermore website, where she wrote across their style, wellness, and travel verticals. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and currently resides in Manhattan. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork.