What to Look For When Buying a Leather Jacket

bright red is the color of the season!

A black leather jacket is one of my most worn jackets during the fall, winter, and spring. If you’re on the hunt for a leather jacket, here are a few tips to help you find the right one.

outfit details:

My leather jacket is a hand me down from a friend and many years old
Red Jumpsuit was from New York Fashion Week 3 years ago


Do you have a leather jacket in your closet? You should.

A leather jacket is a must have in my closet. It’s one of my most worn pieces, and I love how it can make an outfit feel chic, or edgy, or pulled together all in one moment.

BUT great leather jackets can be tricky to find…

So I want to share a few tips when buying a leather jacket to help you find the perfect one.


Try these tips when buying a leather jacket:


  • SHOULDERS. It’s super important for your leather jacket (or al jackets for that matter) to fit you in your shoulder. Unless you’re going for the oversized borrowed-from-your-boyfriend look (which is trendy right now), make sure the shoulder seam sits right at the top of your shoulder. You should have good mobility of your arms still, but it should be fitted.
  • SLEEVES. All jacket sleeves should hit you right below your wrist bone. If the sleeve of your jacket is shorter than your wrist bone, it’s too short. If it touches your hand at all, it’s too long. Remember, if you find the perfect jacket that fits everywhere else, a tailor can definitely fix the sleeves for a really small price.
  • BODICE. The most flattering cut is going to be a little bit tailored to your body with curved princess seams down the front and back. Not all jackets are going to have this kind of seam, but the ones with some seaming will be the most flattering and classic shape.
  • LENGTH. You want to find a jacket that hits you right at about your natural hip bone. Not your hips, but your hip bone. That’s going to be a couple of inches below your belly button. For most women, the widest part of their body is their hips, so a longer jacket is going to create a harsh line right at that widest part. BAD. A cropped jacket can look cute sometimes, but it can create weird proportions with certain outfits. A hip bone length is short enough to wear with a dress and long enough to wear with jeans without any weird proportions.



  • Whether you go with real leather or faux leather is up to you. But if you decide on faux leather, find one that looks as real as possible.
  • You want a smooth, buttery material that isn’t too shiny or plastic-y looking. These will immediately give it a cheap look and they’ll look dated really quickly.


  • There are a lot of gorgeous leather and faux leather jackets out there with detailing, like zippers or stitching. I think they all have their place. But if you’re going to invest in a leather jacket (whether faux or not), spend your money on a jacket that isn’t too trendy. The more embellishments or detailing, the faster it will look outdated. So stick with a more classic style.


  • Collar or no collar? I have one leather jacket with a small stand up collar, and one with a full fold down collar. I like both, but I prefer the stand up collar. The full fold down collar adds more bulk and looks more chunky to me, where the stand up collar feels more sleek.  I find myself wearing the stand up collar jacket much more. You do what’s best for your style, but remember that there are both options!


I’ve rounded up some black leather jackets in the widget below to help you on your hunt!

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  1. Anne says:

    I AM ALWAYS ASO CONFUSED ABOUT THIS ONE. I have a buttery black leather jacket very similar to the Cole Haan one you posted. Can I wear that indoors as part of an outfit as i would a blazer or knit moto jacket? or are jackets like these meant for outdoors only?

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