Tips for buying a mens' leather jacket
November 17, 2008 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm wanting to buy a (mens') leather jacket for the first time. What advice can you offer me? Bonus points if you can recommend a particular brand, or a store in NYC.

Hey all.

I don't know anything about fashion or leather, but I want a black leather jacket because I think it would look good on me.

I'd like it to be warm, so that I could wear it through the winter. Ideally, it would also have some sort of removable lining so that I could wear it in the spring and fall. But most importantly, it has to look good.

So what should I know going into this? How do I know if a jacket is good quality? How do I know if I'm getting ripped off? What should I expect to spend on a good-quality mens' leather jacket? Are there any brands that you would recommend? Are there any stores in the NYC area that you would recommend?
posted by Afroblanco to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of style are you interested in? Do you want a sleek modern design or are you looking for a motorcycle jacket?

If you're going for modern (and men's design tends to move slow so a modern leather jacket will last at least 4 or 5 years before it goes out of style), you'll want a sleek and fitted look. Make sure the leather jacket ends no higher then the top of your pants and ends no lower than an inch below that. The sleeves should end at your wrist. Going over your palm is allowed but it has to be less than half an inch. If you are going to wear the jacket over heavy sweaters or layered clothing, bring that with you to the shop. The jacket should sit snug on the shoulders and the shoulder seam should begin at the end of your arm. Too far out, and you'll look like you're playing football. Too far in and it'll look like you're wearing a jacket that is too small. The jacket should be fitted without excess material around the stomach or chest. It shouldn't bubble out if you sit in a chair. And if you bend over and it shows some of your shirt, that's ok. Depending on how tall you are, watch out for the height of the collar. You'll probably be able to pull off a medium or small collar. I would avoid a large collar - it would make you look shorter than you really are.

I would recommend two jackets (for the different seasons) rather than a jacket with a removable lining. A spring/fall leather jacket could be made out of a thinner and softer leather than a heavy duty winter jacket. Go for a dark color (black/dark gray) and play with details if you want to make it interesting. Avoid jackets with seams on the front near where a chest pocket would be (every guy seems to have that leather jacket) and look for details that are interesting. Seam placement, the sheen of the material, the color of the zipper and the cut of the zipper (straight or diagonal) are all things that make a men's jacket worth wearing.

For stores, I'd recommend starting off first at Macy's or Bloomingdales. Find a person to fit the right jacket to you and memorize your size. From there, you'll be able to hit up specific leather boutiques to find a good jacket (if Macy's and Bloomingdale's fails). Avoid Top Gun or other chain leather stores.

There is one good thing right now about being male and in New York City. With the economy nose diving, clothing lines are starting to view men and menswear as the way they'll survive the down turn. Men's wear is still booming right now (it's why our discounts are no where near as good women) because men usually only buy what they need. For a price range, I would think that a low end leather jacket would be in the 300-400 range while a decent non-designer piece would be pushing 500-700. If you went designer, 1200 to 2000 easy. And if you have that money, just go to Bergdorf's and get it over with.
posted by Stynxno at 11:48 AM on November 17, 2008 [5 favorites]

I am on my second Wilsons leather jacket in 30 years; the first one took 20 years to finally wear out due to me almost constantly having a heavy camera bag on my shoulder.

My current one has a zip out Thinsulate lining, but I've never taken it out.

It was made in Indonesia, and was not expensive in the grand scheme of leather jackets.

Remember that if you're like me, it'll take one or two seasons for the jacket to become broken in. Once that happens you'll never want to take it off.
posted by imjustsaying at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2008

I don't know about America, but when I look about me in the UK I never understand why people buy leather jackets new. They seem a classic example of an item whose price-after-use decreases far faster than its quality-after-use, and are also a large and significant purchase which is worth the effort of shopping around second-hand stores.
But maybe that's just me.
posted by Acheman at 3:53 PM on November 17, 2008

I'm saving up for this one.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:39 PM on November 18, 2008

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