A leather jacket is an important addition to any guy’s wardrobe. It adds just a little bit of ruggedness and flair to the look and takes things from being just a little wimpy. Talk about real toughness.  And Just like Asian women, a good quality leather jacket will age beautifully.

When it comes to a leather jacket, you want to look for a classic motorcycle jacket – think James Dean, not Fonzie – a leather pea coat, or a three-quarter-length car coat. Just avoid the bomber jacket at all costs. Top Gun had its moment, and it’s over. So let’s let it rest peacefully.

Look for good quality leather. It’s like the quality of booze, which some of the more-phobic among you can probably relate to. You can buy really cheap house brands, or you can invest in the top shelf. A good leather jacket really IS an investment, because if it is high quality and of the classic silhouette, you will have it for many years.

Here is my quick lesson in leather. (Oooo, I’ve always wanted to say that!) Before you do anything else, first check the tag and make sure the jacket is real leather. Leather is a very generic term for anything made from the hide of an animal; there are tons of variables. It could be goat leather, cowhide, pigskin, or even horsehide. So first and foremost, make sure it is natural. Good leather should be soft and supple, which means when you bend it, it should flex and not crack.

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Just like other garments, the lining of the leather jacket will also tell a story. The quality of the lining, as for how good a job they did stitching it in, will tell you a lot about the overall quality because the lining is one place where inferior manufacturers think they can cut corners.

As for distressed leather, I think it is super if the jacket is naturally distressed from wear or you are buying a vintage piece. Generally, any kind of leather treatment is going to be the wrong answer

Keep in mind, though, that if you live somewhere with really brutal winters, a leather jacket is probably not going to be your best bet for a primary winter coat. Because leather is skin, it conducts temperature rather than truly insulates. It will never be as warm as wool or cashmere, which can actually trap air in between the weave of the fibers. The weather doesn’t care about your badass leather jacket look!

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