From Bomber to Biker: The Ultimate Guide to Leather Jackets

A leather jacket is one of the coolest and most ubiquitous fashion icons of our time. Popularized by fighter pilots in World War II, the “Bomber” jacket was designed to be warm and convenient, and evolved into a stylish cut that is worn by millions of people today. James Dean and Marlon Brando took the leather jacket to the next level in the 50s, perpetually cementing its place in the cultural milieu and creating an aesthetic that people still seek to emulate today.

A leather jacket is a piece of your wardrobe that will last just about forever, and matches with almost anything. The durability and versatility of the leather jacket provides a strong return on an investment, but it’s still best to do your research and make sure that you find the perfect one for you. 

Leather Without a Cause

When James Dean starred in Rebel WIthout a Cause in the 50s, it set off a revolution in American culture. Motorcycles, cigarettes, and youthful abandon spoke to a disaffected culture, which was seeking a crack in the homogenous and tightly-laced society of America after World War II. The leather jacket is more than just a jacket, and is more than the sum of its parts - it’s a statement. 

That statement is the reason for the astounding success and longevity of the leather jacket. Few items of clothing have remained in style as long, weathering the fickle trends of what’s in and what’s out. Then again, few items of clothing have the power to make a statement about who you are the way a leather jacket does.

Types of Leather Jackets

Biker Jacket

Let’s start with maybe the most famous style of leather jacket, which many people associate with Marlon Brando and the biker gangs of the 50s. The “biker jacket”, also known as a “rider”, or “double rider” jacket, has the power to immediately change the way you feel and carry yourself. 

The zippers and cut of this jacket project an image of cool confidence and masculinity. Usually featuring a double-breasted collar, this motorcycle classic is an excellent choice for a starter leather jacket. If you’re looking for the classic aesthetic, you can’t beat this one.

Riding Jacket

The “racing” or “riding” jacket can be understood as a modern, streamlined version of the biker jacket. Usually minimalist and featuring a small or no collar, and few zippers or ornamentation, this jacket is designed to look fast, sleek, and reduce aerodynamic drag. To picture this jacket, think of what type of jacket a modern street racer would wear on a bike.

This style is sometimes called a “European Cut”, as opposed to the “American Cut” of the biker jacket. The cut of a racing jacket is usually tighter, and it will cling to your body a little more than the American cut style of jackets. This can be excellent if you want to show off your body shape or lean figure, and is a style choice that never disappoints.

Bomber Jacket

Usually featuring a collar made of faux-fur or other material and extra insulation, this jacket was designed to keep pilots warm at extremely high altitudes. The effortlessly cool appearance this gave the pilots stuck in the mind of culture, as the “bomber” jacket became a staple of men’s fashion. 

Some distinct features of this type of leather jacket are a brown coloring, ribbed cuffs and hems, larger front pockets, and a flap over the zipper for extra protection from the wind. This choice will be flattering and stylish with almost any outfit, especially something like a white T-shirt and jeans in the fall. 

Fencing Jacket 

The fencing jacket is adapted from the protective gear that fencers use while practicing their sport and features prominent zippers, usually placed at asymmetrical angles. This type of leather jacket has a more unique and different profile and look than the other types of leather jackets, and is favored by higher-end, boutique leather brands. 

You might see this type of leather jacket on the runway more, but if you’re looking for a traditional leather jacket cut, the other types might be more what you are looking for. 

Why Leather?

Whichever cut works best for you, one thing is certain: a leather jacket is a strong investment that will provide lasting value as well as improving your quality of life. While you can find them on the cheap, these are one item where the quality of the cut, stitching, and materials makes a huge difference in the final product. 

For this reason, a leather jacket is one of those items that it’s ok to splurge a little on. It will last a lifetime, and provide you with an easy and extremely stylish choice when going out. Leather jackets won’t be going out of style anytime soon, so go ahead and start shopping today to find the perfect one for you. 

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