Since the G-1 flight jacket has been regulation issue gear to pilots of the United States Navy.
The advantage of having a higher armhole is better arm movement, making for a better overall fit. When an armhole is too large and low, it will literally pull on the body of the jacket when you move your arms.
A lower end jacket will often be simpler in design overall, because the less design elements a jacket has, the cheaper and faster it is to make. Less design details means less pieces to cut, less pieces to line up, less to sew. This means less interesting elements, simpler pockets, and sometimes no inner pockets. The most common zipper is the YKK, which tend to be made of lighter metal.
Notice the thinner flat pull tab and smaller teeth on the YKK zipper. Higher end jackets will often have RiRi zippers, or custom heavier weight zippers that are less likely to break instead of YKKs. Jude Law wearing a fencing leather jacket by Carol Christian Poell. Photo via Upscale Hype. When it comes to leather jackets, you have a good handful of animal skin choices, all with pros and cons. My personal favorite variety is calfskin, basically a young cow. To make suede, the top portion of leather is separated from the bottom, rougher layer, known as the corium.
These are split further depending on their thickness, and then shaved and sanded smooth to give it its signature soft, fuzzy texture. Suede is typically made from goat or lamb. Lamb suede is softer than goat, but goat is more durable.
The big downside of suede is that it absolutely cannot get wet , as it will dry and get extremely hard. Luckily, there are a handful of suede protectors you can purchase to make your jacket water repellent without changing the softness. Similar to lambskin, but not as smooth or buttery soft and has a tight pebbly texture.
Slightly stiffer than cow, extremely durable, generally smoother grain and high shine, needs a good amount of breaking in. Similar looking to cow leather, but thinner and much tougher. Fairly uncommon now, so brands tend to charge a premium for it. Very similar looking, with large square and rectangular shaped tile patterns. Crocodile skins will have visible hair follicles small dots on each tile, while alligators will not.
Photo via Saddleback Leather. These leathers are desirable because of the natural pores, which make it more breathable, along with the natural oils, which make the leather feel really soft.
The downside to some is that these leathers will have natural scuffs, scars and blemishes from animals just being animals. The bottom split layer corium is what they make suede out of. Splitting the top grain from the corium layer makes the leather thinner, creating more comfortable jackets. Corrected Leather is leather that is sanded down to remove the imperfections, thus removing the original grain, then given a faux animal skin grain via mechanical pressing.
Corrected leathers are coated with topical treatments, oils and dye, to make them more appealing. Corrected leather is always made from top grain leather, but not all top grain leather is corrected.
Sometimes high quality top grain leathers will be coated with a finish to give it a unique property. One of my personal favorites are waxed lambskins, which make the leather less shiny and give it this smooth, waxy touch. A naked top grain leather can be just as nice as a naked full grain.
A full grain leather jacket can be uncomfortable compared to a top grain leather jacket because of its thickness. How does it fit? All of these things should be considered when buying a jacket. Feel the leather by scrunching and squeezing the sleeve it in your hand. Rub your fingers on it.
Is it soft, grainy, a little oily feeling? When it comes to determining the overall quality of the jacket, checking out the other parts of the jacket helps a lot. A trick of mine is to pay more attention to the details, as the quality of the leather can be very subtle once you get away from over corrected leathers.
Check the zipper, the lining, the stitching. The zipper is usually the first thing to go when trying to make a design cheaper. Sometimes expensive brands will use a YKK, but there are other details you can look at. Are there two separate linings for the body and sleeve? Is the synthetic or silk lining smooth or is it relatively rough? As the saying goes, it should fit like a glove.
With your jacket, you want to be able to bend your arms comfortably. Whether you should be able to zip it up or not is a matter of preference. I almost never wear my jackets zipped up, so sometimes I lean towards the tighter side. In general, jackets with higher armholes will fit better. The lower the armhole, the more it will pull on the body of the garment when you move your arms. Higher armholes will give you better movement in your arms. For versatility, black and brown are king.
The style of your jacket depends heavily on where you plan to wear it the most. If your job is full business formal, that is, a suit jacket is required , then a leather jacket is not appropriate. Leather jackets work best in smart casual and casual work environments.
If your work allows for more casual looks, the best styles to get are bombers and racer style jackets. For the diehards that must have a constructed lapel, narrow and understated is better. Big flaring lapels on a leather jacket makes you look like a low-level Las Vegas mob enforcer or a s superhero. Most leather jackets are black or brown. Black works well if your wardrobe has lots of solids and sharp contrasts, while brown works well with a more muted wardrobe that uses lots of earth tones and textured fabrics.
Other, brighter colors are available but less versatile. Not all leather is the same leather, or even from the same animal. Different hides with different treatments create a number of different surfaces for jackets:. As a general rule cowhide is going to be the cheapest, but a fancy, upmarket cowhide jacket could easily cost more than a very plain, utilitarian bison jacket. Quality varies widely with all, and a poorly-tanned hide will have a fraction of the longevity that top-notch leather has.
Most leather jackets fall into one of a few common families. These common styles all have their own niche — wearing a duster to a suit-and-tie meeting will look just as odd as wearing a Prada fatigue jacket to chop wood. The front zips up all the way and the waist is usually elastic. The moto family of jackets goes well beyond gear for actual motocross riders. The tight fit and slim lines make this a good jacket for people with a slender or athletic build.
A leather fatigue jacket looks pretty much like a cloth one, except in leather. It has a soft collar that can be turned down or flipped up, horizontally-opening pockets with flaps covering them, and sometimes though not always details like a built-in D-ring belt or epaulets. The fit tends to be looser than a moto jacket: Fatigue jackets are practical, utilitarian, and good with just about any day-to-day outfit.
Bigger men look good in a fatigue jacket. The looseness around the waist helps it drape over any thickness in the stomach, and the soft shoulders keep you from looking overstuffed. A favorite of vintage junkies and college kids for years, the bomber tends to get sneered at by high fashion types. A bomber has a soft, turn-down collar with a cloth or fleece lining.
The interior is lined as well, usually in a heavy, warm fabric they were made for guys in high-altitude bombers, hence all the warming details. The waist and sleeves cinch tight, usually with elastic and cloth cuffs or with buckles. Bombers are decidedly more casual than their moto cousins. They share the snug waist and the close fit in the arms a bomber should never wrinkle as it drapes , but the overall style tends to be much more utilitarian, and the fit because of the thick lining less shapely.
Thin guys can add quite a bit of bulk with a bomber jacket. It has to fit well, though — a loose bomber will just swallow you right up. Heavyset guys would do better in a looser style like a fatigue jacket. And as a purely practical note they should mostly be reserved for fall and winter wear, to avoid overheating, making them a bit less versatile than other styles.
The classic Western style has seen a lot of adaptation to urban wear lately. This makes it long enough to protect the weak spot where the shirt meets the trouser from weather, but short enough to wear in the saddle without a pile of leather bunched up around your crotch and butt.
Cattleman coats rarely use any detailing around the edges. The collar is usually a short turndown that can button up against the wind, and the cuffs and waist tend to be plain stitched leather without a hem. More traditional versions made from thick cowhide, deerskin, or bison remain on the racks anywhere that sells farm equipment side-by-side with clothing.
A duster is a full-length coat that falls below the knees. Most historic dusters were actually canvas or linen, but leather versions have become popular since the advent of Hollywood Westerns. Dusters are and should remain the uniform of men who spend a great deal of their time in the saddle: Like the duster, historic trench coats were usually made from waterproofed cloth rather than leather — it was lighter, more breathable, and cheaper to mass-produce for soldiers.
They fall to around the knees, feature a built-in belt at the waist, and usually have wide, soft turndown collar that can fasten against the rain. Trench coats are a classic overcoat for men, but a leather one takes some attitude to pull off.
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