Tips for Buying a Leather Jacket

Oct 28, 2010

I love the look of a leather jacket.  It looks fabulous with pants for the office, or over a ball gown for a formal event.  But most Hill Staffers can’t afford the $500+ cost of a real leather jacket. 

I know it’s an investment piece, but sometimes, you just don’t have the money to make the investment. 

When buying a less expensive leather jacket you need to consider four things: length, feel, shine and hardware.  Because nothing is worse than an inexpensive leather jacket, that looks like a cheap leather jacket.

Length. One sign of a cheap leather jacket is length.  Less expensive jackets are often cut short to save money.  The jacket above is $150 and looks it because it’s barely waist length.

A good quality leather jacket should hit at mid hip.  A bomber jacket can be a little shorter, but if the jacket is barely covering your navel, it’s too short.

Feel.  Another sign of cheap leather is the feel.  Even an inexpensive jacket should feel soft, not plasticky, scratchy or stiff.  So before you buy a jacket make sure that the piece and the cuffs, plackets, and collar feel soft to the touch.

Shine.  While most leather jackets have a bit of a sheen to them, they should not reflect light.  Many less expensive leather jackets have an otherworldly glow to them that just magnifies their cheapness.  So it’s best to stick to something matte.

Hardware.  Like an inexpensive handbag, nothing gives away a bargain leather jacket like cheap hardware.  Poor quality zippers, buttons, snaps, etc. expose the jacket’s true origins like little else can.  And if you get a cheap zipper that breaks or a button that snaps off, then you’re really in trouble.

Should you find a jacket that you love, you can have the hardware replaced with some better quality adornments if you want.  But since this can be costly, you better really love that jacket.

Tips and Tricks

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  1. annalou says:

    Do you have any places in particular that you've found good, reasonably priced leather jackets?

    Thanks!

  2. Kelsey says:

    I got mine at nordstomes during the semi annual sale this summer. It was 178. I have gotten so many compliments on it. The brand is Bernardo.

  3. EE says:

    This is a super helpful post!! More like this would be awesome 🙂

  4. Jill says:

    I like the brown one you've featured. Is it currently available?

  5. Holly says:

    I think the smell of the leather is important too!

  6. […] I got pretty recently, and mine is slightly different.  Belle from Capitol Hill Style has some good tips on how to select a leather jacket.  I love how the ruffle makes it a little more feminine.  I also got mine tailored – […]

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