What are Some Different Styles of Leather Jackets?

A.E. Jaquith

For many years, leather jackets have been a popular choice for men and women alike. The reasons are fairly simple. Leather is extremely durable if properly maintained, it makes you virtually impervious to the wind, and, if insulated, can be very warm in cold weather. Leather jackets come in a variety of styles, making it somewhat difficult to decide which is right for you.

Man in a black leather jacket.
Man in a black leather jacket.

When shopping for leather jackets, you will probably encounter a plethora of different styles. Common types include the hip length jacket, full length jacket, 3/4 length jacket, and the trench coat. There are far too many variations on these styles to mention, however these styles will give you a basic idea of what you're looking at.

Man wearing a hoodie along with a leather jacket.
Man wearing a hoodie along with a leather jacket.

On full length leather jackets, the bottom hem will fall somewhere between your hip and above the halfway mark of your thigh. The 3/4 length jacket hem will usually fall slightly above the knee. Trench coats cover almost the entire body, with the hem usually located slightly above the ankle. If a leather trench coat is properly insulated, it is almost like wearing a suit of armor against cold wind and rain. The hem of hip length leather jackets, obviously, hang at the hip.

Woman in a leather jacket.
Woman in a leather jacket.

The bomber jacket, while closely resembling the hip length jacket, deserves special mention. Bomber jackets have a hem that hangs at the hip, but unlike many hip length jackets it has a very square look. Bomber jackets are commonly insulated with fur, and have two broad pockets on the front, with an elastic waist and cuffs. Many are double breasted, with the fur from the collar continuing down the front of the jacket.

Bonded leather, which is sometimes used to make leather jackets.
Bonded leather, which is sometimes used to make leather jackets.

In a category all its own sits the leather blazer. While not usually accepted as a coat suitable for the professional dress environment, a leather blazer is usually fine for business casual settings. They are a great jacket for a night club or classy bar setting.

Suede is a type of leather that has a smooth, velvet-like surface.
Suede is a type of leather that has a smooth, velvet-like surface.

All leather jackets share some common style variations. Typically, either a zipper or buttons are present. Many jackets also have a belt that will allow the wearer to cinch the jacket around the waist. Hoods, sometimes removable, are also a common trait, and may or may not be insulated.

Leather jackets may be made of traditional leather, or suede. Suede is a smooth, velvety type of leather. Although it looks great, it is not nearly as durable as regular leather, and is especially susceptible to water damage. Pleather, which stands for pretend leather or play leather, is a synthetic material designed to emulate leather. Many consider pleather jackets to be inferior to actual leather, however the material continues to thrive.

Although leather jackets come in many colors, the most common are black and brown. Most men's style leather jackets adhere to black or brown, however women's leather jackets can be found in a variety of different colors, including the eye-catching red.

Bomber jackets have been popular since the 1920s.
Bomber jackets have been popular since the 1920s.

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Discussion Comments

anon1002339

I'm a trench coat man. I Love my wool trench, but I recently purchased a shearling leather bomber jacket & I love it! Now I prefer the bomber jacket style, I'm on the look out for a bomber b3 style trench coat now. I'm in Chicago and I've learned a long coat is worth it's weight in gold! I also get plenty admirers from wearing a nice full length coat.

elizabeth2

Being a motorcyclist, I've had quite a few leather jackets in my life. I've found that I really don't care for suede very much. From my experience it gets scratched up too easy, and doesn't take long to go from looking like a nice leather jacket, to an old worn jacket.

My favorite is a black, biker leather jacket. Now those will last a while.

jlmk

I just love the smell of jackets made of leather. There's just something about it, that makes me feel like my outfit is complete when I put it on -- like I'm ready for a night out on the town. I know it probably sounds kind of silly, but it makes me feel kind of fancy. I especially like a nice black leather blazer, which in my opinion is the best style of leather jackets for women. It looks good and smells good!

rosoph

My husband wears a leather jacket and I love it. It's good for so many different occasions, because it can be worn casually, but it also looks good in a more formal setting.

He has either a hip length or a full length jacket -- it almost seems like it falls somewhere in between. I'm not sure I would like a longer one as much.

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