I’ve been on a quest for the perfect leather jacket for what seems like eons. Finding “the” one is something like finding a soul mate: it has to feel good on your body, its overall style has to jibe with your lifestyle and, like a soul mate, in an ideal world it wouldn’t have any, but you must be capable of embracing any minor flaws it may have 😉
Last fall, I thought my search had come to a close. I took a trip to Saks to peruse the gentleman’s suit racks looking to help outfit my boyfriend. A chocolate-colored buttery number by Vince popped into sight and I couldn’t help but stop to take a closer look. I even returned to visit it – admittedly a handful of times – to figure out whether I could (or should) afford such a masterpiece. Alas, it wasn’t worth a full month’s rent. Still, I won’t spare you the details: the leather was the color of cocoa beans, it zipped down the front and the length was just right – not too long nor too cropped. When I slipped it on, it’s weight was comforting (like a warm embrace!). I couldn’t find an image of the exact jacket because it’s seasons old, an ancient 214 years old in fashion years, (just kidding!), but this one is close:
Photo Credit: About.com
Since starting the blog a few months ago, I’ve noticed that my usual urges to spend silly amounts of money on single pieces has been suppressed (although my appetite for expensive style has not, as Mr. Williams addresses in his post about SATC2) and this time the leather jacket is no exception. Needless to say, I ditched the Vince “masterpiece” and started thrifting for a wallet-friendly find. Through my research, I learned that vintage is the best option for penny pinchers unless you’re willing to go faux. When shopping online, be sure to check the return policies of your choice vendor because fit is everything when it comes to leather jackets, and it’s quite impossible to tell from an online photo (and still difficult even with measurements) how a jacket will fit and feel.
In addition to fit, below are some key considerations for purchasing a leather jacket, real or not:
Temperature: Will you be able to wear it in the spring and the fall/are you planning to wear it during one season only? Leather aging: These jackets are supposed to look better over time, not worse, so make sure the leather is sturdy and soft; if you’re going vintage, look at as many photos as possible to ensure there are no unforgivable knicks or holes. Care: Be sure to confirm that your jacket can be dry cleaned or treated, especially if you’re buying vintage. Extras: Zippers, studs, buckles, pockets they all can make or break a statement, so be sure your jacket has the right combination of extras.
Through my searching, I’ve found some great styles at price points that I have to share:
Vintage 80s with an amazing silhouette, $60 at rustyzipper.com
A classic vintage motorcycle style, $42 at rustyzipper.com
A frillier version, $225 at modcloth.com
The photo is a little blurry, but don’t let that deter you. This is one of my favorite finds, $40 from Etsy seller VictorySanctifies
A more daring 80s-esque option, $40 from Etsy seller civviesclothing
An unconventional neckline, $325 from trusty Banana Republic
And for our vegetarian/vegan friends, you can go for the look with these faux leather options:
Studded and edgy, $60 from Etsy seller mjnic1029
Vigoss faux bomber, $29 at overstock.com
Unisex faux leather hoodie, $60 at American Apparel
So is a leather jacket kosher for work?
Yes. They are perfectly office appropriate as long as you’re not actually working in it. They’re perfect for those annoyingly chilly weeks in-between seasons and I’ve found that most New Yorkers I know have at least one. The best part? They are durable and they go with everything, from jeans to floral print dresses, which makes for a perfect everyday item.