Before I start making my case for them being a necessary addition to any outerwear rotation, let's get one thing straight: leather jackets have always been cool. In pretty much every decade since the mid-1900s, the leather jacket has had a pop culture moment that keeps it in the fashion zeitgeist.
The earliest rendition of the jacket was made for the airforce: sheepskin-collared, military patch-sporting, Tom Cruise in Top Gun-types that have remained grails. And from then, you have biker jackets, introduced by Schott as the first modern casual leather jacket, which really started fashion's love affair with the style.
In subcultures, leather jackets have become part of the uniform for everyone from American rockabilly greasers, to punks, to 90s hip-hop culture. In cinema, you had James Dean and Marlon Brando provide an early co-sign in the 50s followed by Grease (1978), The Matrix (1999), and Training Day (2001) — just to mention a few.
And in fashion, it became the off-duty uniform of supermodels in the 90s, a time when you had everything from Posh and Becks in full leathers to Dennis Rodman's sheer vest and leather shirt on The Tonight Show.
Now, in the 21st century, the leather jacket might be having its latest big moment — and all of the styles worn above are on the table.
While the aforementioned history has put leather jackets deep into "classic fashion staple" territory, we haven't seen them this much since the early 2000s (I know, no matter what we do, we can't seem to escape Y2K style).
A flick through the current menswear shows and you'll see everyone from the big fish (Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dior, etc.) to the indie labels (Winnie NY, Marine Serre, and AT.KOLLEKTIVE) showing at the very least a couple of leather jackets on the runway — and it was the same for the SS23 season.
Not to mention streetwear collections from the likes of MENACE, Cole Buxton, and Stüssy or celebrity style moments such as A$AP Rocky's Bottega blazer, Kylie Jenner as a Biker Girl, and Irina Shayk's long trench.
This takes us to the jacket of the moment, Loewe's padded bomber, which as become the most divisive of recent celeb-favorite outerwear styles.
Brought to infamy thanks to co-signs by everyone from Lori Harvey, to Hailey Bieber, to Pusha T (and some classic internet trolling) the puffy outerwear piece is the latest leather jacket to get the internet talking. After Prada's oversized leather bomber became a mainstay in the wardrobes of rappers and high fashion lovers, it's delivered another win for animal skin outerwear by pumping up the proportions.
So, with everything from bombers to biker jackets to Matrix-style trenches doing the rounds, we've picked out some of the best leather jackets on the market right now. Check them out below.
Scroll down to shop our favorite leather jackets
Marni x Carhartt WIP Reversible Shearling Jacket
Constructed from soft lamb shearling on one side and supple leather on the other, this jacket puts a seriously luxurious twist on a classic piece of Carhartt outerwear.
Acne Studios Suede Leather Shearling Overshirt
Made from supple suede leather with a shearling fur trim, this overshirt is an option for those looking for something more fun and colorful than your typical black leather jacket.
Diesel Treat Cracked Leather Coat
Few brands manage to do Y2K better than Glenn Martens' Diesel, and that includes a wide selection of leather outerwear. This one's a full-length Matrix-style jacket with pre-cracked leather.
Blauer Thomas Smooth Leather Jacket
Cut from supple sheepskin, Blauer's Smooth Leather Jacket takes the form of a classic bomber jacket. It's a time-tested style that goes with everything, and when you're investing in a leather jacket, you want versatility and timelessness.
Visvim Elmendorf Distressed Leather Jacket
Amongst the many things it specializes in, Visvim knows how to perfectly distress a garment. This leather jacket from the Japanese label doesn't need wearing in, it's already been done for you.
CELINE HOMME Textured-Leather Biker Jacket
With any label that has Hedi Slimane at the helm, you know you're going to get some rockstar-esque leather biker jackets. It's a style he's been perfecting since the early days at Saint Laurent, and this is his latest rendition.
MM6 Maison Margiela Leather Jacket
One style of jacket that sees an uptick recently is leather racing jackets (cc. Drake, Kylie Jenner, NYVRA etc.) and here Margiela has used their copped shape and large pockets for a more minimal, luxe take on the style.
Loewe Padded Leather Bomber Jacket
The now-famous Loewe bomber. Social media might be full of people comparing the puffy shape to genitalia, but we suggest ignoring them and enjoying the oversized fit.
Khaite The Flinn Jacket
Headed by Catherine Holstein, winner of CFDA’s 2022 Womenswear Designer of the Year award, simple and luxurious designs such as this are what Khaite has built its reputation off.
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