When should you wear a leather jacket?

Man wearing leather jacket

There are certain situations that favor wearing leather jackets over others, however, we’ll show you the best jackets most versatile to handle every occasion imaginable.

A leather jacket is a versatile piece of clothing, one that can be worn in winter, in summer, casually, during the workplace, at formal events, at parties, college, when in a hurry, and of course, on a bike.

Below are our top picks on what style of leather jackets to wear for EVERY occasion imaginable.

Occasions to wear your leather jacket

Riding a bike

This one is obvious, but not just for style, for actual protection too. Because while a jacket can’t protect you completley, it offers miles better protection than not wearing one at all, whilst simulatenosly presents a classic rogue look, such the like that of the 50-60’s era Hollywood “bad boys.”

Riding a motorbike is the perfect time to wear a leather jacket as it was initially used for such things decades prior, providing a functional look that not only looked good, but that actually served a multitude of other functions for its wearer.

Other functions such as hosting ornamental displays of significant or important emblems or club colors, military patches, and even for storing valuables, as many leather jackets out there have inbuilt durable pockets, designed to keep your items fastened amidst the rocky riding.

So while there are many other occasions deemed acceptable for wearing leather jackets, wearing one atop a two-wheel beast could not be more perfect.

What to wear when riding a bike – Leather jacket recommendations

Brown leather moto jacket with removable hood by FLAVOR (link will take you to Amazon): Under $200

If you’re new to the moto scene, then this jacket will suit you fine with it’s functional design and modest price tag. Love the neat little detachable hood feature and it’s hip-length design that prevents it from riding up the torso.

Genuine bufalo leather jacket by Diamond Plate (link will take you to Amazon): Under $80

You’re in for a treat with this jacket – genuine solid imported leather with a gorgeous nylon lining and a neat Nehru collar design, it even has embroidered patches included in the case. How thoughtful of them!

Wearing a leather jacket in winter

While many automatically flock to thicker insulating coats and “Canada Goose” jackets, wearing a leather jacket in winter is certainly a favorable option for most, as leather naturally is a good heat barrier and provides excellent heat insulation.

Vaguely reminiscent of Merino wool and it’s multi-seasonal applications, the thermostatic properties of leather make it suitable to wear in various seasons, but especially in winter, where it’s abilities to hold large quantities of water vapor and trap heat will allow you to stay warm and dry, but also stylish in winter.

What to wear during winter – Leather jacket recommendations

Allaric Alley Distressed Black Leather Biker Jacket (link will take you to thejacketmaker.com): Under $260

Winter is a cold time, bois. And so, this gorgeous leather biker jacket will not only keep you warm thanks to its viscose lining but will also keep you subtlety stylish, in part due to its lack of embellishments and distressed sheepskin leather (so less glossy/ less attention-seeking.)

Steven Hybrid Zip Soft Grey Through Jacket by Reiss (link will take you to reiss.com): Under £160 ($220)

For when you want a little bit of a different look than the usual leather jacket get-up, try on The Steven jacket. A true amalgamate hybrid of a jumper and jacket all-in-one, featuring a suede shell front panel and jersey in the back. Best for winters, or any casual calling that befalls on your calendar, really.

The “casual” leather jacket look

Sporting a leather jacket is an “evergreen” look and one that will never go out of style. Outings with friends, dates, or simple strolls through your local neighborhood – all perfect occasions to don something of a more casual nature.

Now while you can wear whatever you want, a leather jacket specific for its casual nature will mean less over-the-top statement pieces, opting for subtler more simple designs that will accentuate and elevate your casual look ever so sligthly.

What you don’t want in your casual leather jacket look

You don’t want pieces that will make your leather jacket stand out to the point where it’s your only defining feature either due to its sheer overbearing length or design (unless of course, that is what you really want, we’re talking about casual jackets here, fellas.)

I have another article on how to find the perfect length for your leather jacket (in fit and style) which you can check out here.

What to look out for

For the casual look, it’s best to avoid such bulkier and longer pieces like Aviator and/or moto head jackets, and the same goes for overly sized lapels, and/or fringe tassels. Not all of these types, mind you, but a good rule of thumb to note if you have no clue about any of this stuff.

Opt for more plain options like bomber jackets (also more compact in its design cinching at the waist and wrists) and racer jackets – another perfect minimalist piece, known for its bare look and body-flattering design.

Bare look and body-flattering design – essentially the takeaway home message to pull off the casual look most effectively.

What to wear for the casual look – Leather jacket recommendations

 Men’s Leather Baseball Bomber Jacket Vintage Suede Pigskin by FLAVOR (link will take you to Amazon.com): Under $100

This one embodies all that I was saying about the bare and body-flattering look, at a very modest price point. This jacket changes it up with its implementation and preference over pigskin leather and a gorgeous suede look with an elegant inner rib stand collar feature, for a more classy (low-key) high-brow look.

Ernest Men’s Dark Brown Bomber Leather Jacket by Angel Jackets (link will take you to angeljackets.com): Under $240

An new school homage twist on an old style bomber jacket, however with some subtle tweaks to make this a hit with old and modern style enthusiast alike. My favorite part is the “crooked” snap collar button, making this style playfully stand out just a tad.

MA-1 Skymaster bomber jacket by Alpha Industries (link will take you to alphaindustries.com): Under $160

Okay this one isn’t technically leather, but I thought it looked too cool to not include (don’t tell anyone.)

Budget-friendly and will actually last you a lifetime thanks to its nylon fabric, meaning it’ll handle whatever “beer & tumble” stains and abrasions you fall into after a few cold ones come Friday night, looks damn cool too.

Alpha Industries are one of those brands that sell American militrary style apparel, but that do it with…style, and at prices that don’t make me wanna unhinge my jaw to try and recreate the “jaw dropping to the floor” look – which is always much appreciated.

The 9-5 workplace leather jacket

Many wish they could add more fashionable clothing combinations to work, and a leather jacket is the perfect “wild card” to subtly make you stand out, yet stand in, still.

While many designs may be too ostentatious for the conservative workplace, there are some that will add a sense of adventure and refinement, provided they follow some semblance of the guidelines mentioned below.

Some settings may require more/less formality, but it is generally better to stick to lightweight jackets with clean lines that can be worn indoors, in place of that office blazer.

Keep it crisp, and keep it “tight”, in all senses of the word. That means no “spilled over” overzealous designs, heavy-distressed materials, standard moto jackets, or too many zippers…generally speaking.

The 9-5 workplace look – Leather jacket recommendations

Vintage Snuff Brown and Black by Decrum (link will take you to Amazon.com): Under $180

As stated previously, a cafe racer jacket is one of the best leather jackets to rock within more conservative environments like the office. This lambskin leather jacket is a solid budget-friendly price to raise some eyebrows at the office, made of real lambskin leather! Also, you can’t help but admire the matt black texture and plain design.

Perforated lambskin leather motorcycle jacket by Fjackets (link to Amazon.com): Under $200

Perfect for putting a twist on an otherwise bland uniform look when it’s that type of “office casual” day. Clean lines, yet subtle beauty in the small details of this pure lambskin leather jacket. From the designed sleeves to the perforated leather – made for the road, and for style (as actually stated by the company Fjackets.)

Pair with a white dress shirt and a tie, or switch the color to a brown shade for some diversity in your dress shirt pairings.

What to wear during formal appearances

A leather jacket is one of the few looks that can instantly make you look better with little effort, and so your options are plentiful for creating that eye rolling look needed during those “more than average” types of days, like special meetings, events ,or anything else.

Quilted leather jackets (puffy but synched in the right places), 80-90’s popularized Utility jackets, or a shirt collar jacket (good for your dress shirt and tie to peek out from near you neck, working in tandem with your leather jacket.)

For a little bit more added “machismo”, you could also try the leather blazer (a 90’s bad guy’s favorite blazer), or more preferably, a Cafe Racer leather jacket.

With the Cafe Racer jacket giving you more options in my opinion, allowing you to pair it with jeans and sneakers (adding a professional look to that of a casual one), or pleated pants and a tie (to add some roughness to an otherwise regal look.)

Formal appearances – Leather jacket recommendations

Cafe Racer & Vintage Style lambskin Jacket by Fjackets (link will take you to Amazon.com): Under $185

Anoteher iteration by Fjackets, however this one brings out more – the devilish debonair rascal look akin to that of “bad boy leather jacket look of the ’90s”, however with a more modern updated look.

With a natural shine and minimal detailing, along with 100% ligthweight lambskin detailing – all this to ensure you’re kept on your toes the whole event feeling nimble, comfy, and stylish still.

Black Lightweight Lamskin Leather Jacket (link will take you to Amazon): Under $110

Real lambskin leather crafted with the care and suave threadding needed to captivate the select few “fashion-forward” individuals, who’ll no doubt notice the quilted sleeves and signature Café Racer collar – quite thje image you’ll give off with this leather jacket.

When you’re in a hurry

Another time to grab a leather jacket is when you’re in a hurry and in need of a final clothing piece to expediently up your fashion “look” (when there is literally no time left to primp) – this is where a leather jacket will come in handy, but what type?

Much like how a leather jacket can be used to take a casual outfit to the next level – when in a hurry – there is no better choice, and you have a range of models to choose from depending on the look you’re going for.

For simple “wear and dare” then a biker leather jacket will be an apt fit, for more portability and perhaps storage space (if you plan on taking off your jacket or storing it) then something like a lightweight nylon bomber jacket will be better.

If you’re more prone to dressing up, more so than the average man, than a café racer jacket will be better, as it does lend itself a more streamlined look – which means it can be dressed up, more so than the rest.

For more info on bomber jackets specifically, check out this article by Baubax.com.

Just make sure you outfit is not too “loud” or extravagant before you put on any type of leather jacket. It is already known as a statement piece, so by making sure your under-clothes are not too bright or texture heavy, then the jacket should provide a nice contrast.

When you’re in a hurry – Leather jacket recommendations

Light Leather Bomber Jacket by Superdry (link will take you to Amazon): Under $260

Lambskin lighteight leather designed to cope with you on the move, with rave reviews to backup it’s rather modest price point, considering it’s 100% genuine leather.

Swamp green Leather Jacket by Leather Jacket Shop (link to leatherjacketshop.com): Under AUS $280 (U.S. $218)

Differ than the rest as this Aussie brand attempts to cater to your upper echelon tastes in sartorial elegance, this time coming in genuine leather cowhide. Sleek yet stylish, especially with the unique color design and minor “armor-like” shoulder padding.

Leather jackets for a party

A party is a perfect time to be a little more experimental with your leather jacket style choices, opting for something a little more, or a little less, different than how you normally dress.

There’s no right or wrong answer, espcially at an event as casual as that of a party, howerver it would probably be best to keep in tandem with some guidelines, even if you want to try and experiment.

  • Try to avoid incredibly bright colors (neutral ones are still your best bet)

That burgundy red leather jacket would probably look amazing on you, but that is probably to the extent of where you you’ll want to go with your color options. Anything brighter than that (where leather jackets are concerned) will probably stand out for wrong reasons.

  • Opt for subtle embilishments that don’t pry too much attention from the jacket itself.

You want your leather jacket and its features to work in conjunction with one another, to formulate an overall flattering look.

You can still experiment, but heeding some note to these guidelines will help give your wandering mind some structure, as while style is subjective, something’s just work, while others don’t.

Partywear – Leather jacket recommendations

“Party-time” requires something a little more “crisp”, a little more “out there”, because why not, it’s a party! Dare to be bold, at least a little…

Men’s Classic Perfecto Lambskin Leather Casual Jacket by Ruja (link to amazon.com): Under $100

Go classy with some rich exuberance, with this natural lambskin Rockstar leather jacket. YKK Original Zippers layout with some old-school brass buttons!

Flight Satin Ma-1 Bomber jacket by Levi’s (link will take you to Amazon.com): Under $70 (I know, right!)

Once again, sneaking in another non-leather option. This is the last time I swear! Simple but eye-catching – the bomber jacket by Levi’s. Dual entry snap pocket flaps that are placed lower than many other jackets (in an actual position where your hands would naturally wanna go into.)

Reminiscent to the USAF pattern L-2B summer flight jacket from the ’50s, this too sports a high-tech nylon makeup. So worry little about rain, spills, molds, and fungi, as you knock the jaws off their human hinges when you roll up in style in your new Levi’s bomber jacket (I recommend the red option.)

For college or uni

Leather jackets work everywhere else, so why wouldn’t it work in college? The trick is finding one within a reasonable budget, that also is of quality (as most college kids are strapped for cash.) So if this sounds like you then while there are some limitations, we still got you covered.

If budget is your main concern, then perhaps you could try optning for Faux leather, over real leather. However, don’t expect them to last as long, or to formulate that lovely patina tarnish over time – and please, stay away from retail prices too suspiciously low priced, or “too good to be true”, because they most likely will break on you, fast.

College or Uni – Leather jacket recommendations

Faux leather biker jacket by H&M (link will take you to the official H&M website): Under $60

This jacket is made with inexpensive faux leather hence it’s low priced tag. Low in breathing but high in retaining heat (due to it’s polester make-up), so it’ll keep you warm.

Always see if they have a “Find in-store” option, this way you can see the style you like online, before going in person to check it out (which I recommended.)

Faux suede quilted bomber jacket by Zara (link will take you to the official Zara website): Under $100

The upside of faux suede in this case, is it’s higher durability than natural suede, and it’s stain repellant qualities (compared to natural suede.)

Perfect for college pizza stains and beer spills (though please do wash it if this happens, suede leather is not invincible.)

“Treating you mean & keeping you keen.”


Disregard all sense of civility and mannered decorum when you boastfully bust out one of the many leathered looks we got for you up above.

And be a lil bit of a big ol “meanie”, and show the public what there’re missing…

Stay Rogue.

Dom Jeswal

Im a mixed third culture kid (with even more mixed tastes in fashion, food, manners & ideals) living in Asia. Currently exploring what it means to be a man a "spiced" value in the modern age - and all the interests and skills that come with the territory. Like your average men's lifestyle blog - only with more spice & more focus on info not exclusive to the West.

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