Leather jackets are a must in every person’s wardrobe, especially as we are in the heart of autumn – the perfect season for leather jackets. If you want to stay warm while looking cool then women’s leather jackets do the trick perfectly. These jackets are timeless, durable, and they go with nearly everything.
Some people depend on the reputation of animal skin, but we don’t discriminate: we think that some of the best leather jackets out there are actually vegan and made of faux leather. We also know that the same fashion principles apply to buying genuine leather and faux leather jackets, so even if you have moral compunctions about supporting the meat industry, feel free to read on.
In this article, we’ve listed the 17 best leather jackets for women to buy, with some vegan options included! We give a rundown of the history of the leather jacket, and what makes it the coolest clothing item around. We have a comprehensive buying guide for leather jackets, so you can find the perfect one for you, and we’ve capped things off with some fashion advice so that you can style your leather jackets for every occasion.
Leather Jackets for Women: Contents
From high-end designer leather jackets to faux leather designs, here we bring you the coolest options available on the market now.
1. Gucci Magic Mushroom Leather Jacket
You’ll feel endlessly stylish wearing Gucci leather jackets, like this cowskin number. This is one of the best leather jackets for women wanting an androgynous look, as the fit is roomy and comfortable. The jacket comes with plenty of pockets, an adjustable belt at the hip, and a sideways zipper. It is embellished with the Gucci brand name and some adorable mushrooms on the back, for a playful touch. You can buy it directly from Gucci.
2. Burgundy Leather Bomber Jacket
The unique burgundy shade makes this one of the nicest women’s leather jackets, despite its loose, unisex fit. This soft and comfortable lambskin jacket still has structure thanks to an elasticated waist and cuffs, while a clean design looks effortlessly streamlined. Order it online though Net-a-Porter!
3. Delicate Azure Blue Leather Jacket
Who said leather jackets have to be black or brown? Especially when it comes to leather jackets for women, we should be allowed to play with color! This lovely baby blue IRO jacket is still as sleek and cool as they come, despite its light color, and is super soft since it is made of lambskin. Find it at Forward!
4. Americana Leather Jacket
This is one of the best leather jackets for women wanting to take on the world and show off their strong, edgy side. It has large, padded shoulders – a trend we’ve been seeing a lot on the runways lately, along with a cinched waist that will keep you looking trim. It is available for sale through Shopbop.
5. Double-Breasted Chocolate Leather Jacket
This is an elegant take on women’s leather jackets, with a double-breasted design, small collar, and a classy double set of buttons. It pairs well with earth and jewel-tone ensembles, and gives that perfect edge when paired with more feminine styles. This Chloe leather jacket is sold online at Net-a-Porter.
6. Moto Leather Jacket
You are sure to stand out in any of the leather jackets on this list, but in this one you will also shine. It is made of black faux leather, so it is actually totally vegan, and has a clean and cool design. You can try it on at Nordstrom.
7. Rhinehart Chocolate Brown Leather Jacket
This is one of the best leather jackets for women who favor elegant warmth and comfort. The chocolate brown shade is soft and flattering, while the elasticated waistband adds shape. This Ganni design can be purchased through Farfetch.
8. Mint Green Mock Leather Jacket
We’re really loving mint green for women’s leather jackets, as it gives a softer take on the cool style and fits into the trend of pastel colors. This Acne Studios leather jacket has an edgy silhoutte with a belted hem and cool side zipper. Buy it from Forward!
9. Pink Lady Vegan Leather Jacket
Join the coolest girl gang around with this sleek vegan take on leather jackets for women. The fit is tight and the design is flattering, while the pink shade will attract all of the attention. Wear it casually, or for a loud night out. Order it for yourself though ASOS!
10. Puffy Vegan Leather Jacket
This is one of the best leather jackets for winter, as it has a puffy design that is ultra-warm. It is made of animal-friendly faux leather, and fits to look slightly oversized. You can find this Nanushka piece in four different colors at Net-a-Porter.
11. Party Girl Leather Jacket
This burgundy offering is one of the best leather jackets for women who like to have fun. It has an ultra-flattering silhouette, with some ruffled details at the back and shoulders for added femininity. It is perfect to pair with dresses. Pick it up from Shopbop!
12. Pearl Detail Leather Jacket
Pearls are a great way of injecting a feminine touch to leather jackets for women. This jacket is cruelty-free and made of faux leather, so you can feel cute and guilt-free when wearing it. It is available for purchase through ASOS.
13. Slim Biker Leather Jacket
Sleek, simple, and elegant – this is one of those women’s leather jackets that fit just right and can work with any kind of outfit. It has that classic Perfecto-inspired design, embellished with some green details at the bottom. Buy this Maje number online from Net-a-Porter!
14. Drape Front Leather Jacket
If you are looking for leather jackets for women that are still fairly androgynous but also unique, then this is the one. The draped collar is sophisticated yet simple, and the fit itself is ultra-flattering. Get it from Nordstrom!
15. Vintage Leather Jacket
Embrace that vintage look that’s been so popular since the ‘50s, with this simple yet edgy Anine Bing black leather biker jacket. Golden zipper details add a touch of glamour to the sleek design. It is made of calfskin so it is super durable yet also extremely supple. You can purchase it directly from Anine Bing.
16. Embroidered Shearling Collar Leather Jacket
There are two things that really stand out on this comfort-fit Red Valentino jacket: a shearling collar that will keep your neck warm on cold days, and a gorgeous bird embroidery that makes this one of the best leather jackets as far as small details are concerned. You can by it at Farfetch.
17. Blingy Bomber Leather Jacket
This collared bomber jacket is all blinged-out with studs in a spiral and diamond pattern, perfect for those who find the average leather jacket a little boring. This jacket is made of faux leather, but who can tell the difference? Order it online from ASOS!
It is hard to imagine a clothing item that has been such an inseparable part of fashion for so many decades in a row, beyond the leather jackets. Perhaps a comparison could be made between jeans and leather jackets, but the difference is that where jeans became a staple for nearly all people, leather jackets only became a staple for the coolest of the cool.
The first time leather jackets went into regular use was during the first world war, when they were issued to German pilots as a way to keep warm while up in the sky. Leather was the perfect material, as it was extremely durable and warm. They quickly became a staple for aviation enthusiasts the world over, even once the war was over.
Famously, when Amelia Earhart first began her flying lessons in 1921, she purchased a brown leather jacket and slept in it for three days, so it would look used and slightly worn down. She did this in order to appear more experienced and to avoid the judgement of other aviators. In this way, the masculine object retroactively became a symbol of female empowerment and rebellion.
It was in 1928 when the first leather jacket for motorcyclists was introduced. It was designed by Irving Schott and named the “Perfecto” after his favorite cigar. It was crafted specifically in order to not allow any air to cut through while one was riding their motorcycle. For many many years it wasn’t just any leather jacket representing coolness – it was specifically the Schott leather jacket, which was first sold at Harley Davidson stores.
In the 1940s, leather jackets continued to be the staples of aviators and motorcyclists, especially during World War II when it was still the garment of choice for military pilots. The brown leather jackets were instantly associated with some of the most well respected and admired fighters in the war.
1953 marks the point when leather jackets moved beyond the niche and became true staples, thanks to the film The Wild One. In the film, Marlon Brando portrays the leader of a biker gang wearing Schott’s 618 leather jacket, riding a motorcycle, and sporting side burns. Brando’s look in the film became iconic, with many young men adopting his style as well as a hankering for a motorcycle.
The first leather jackets for women were marketed in the 1954 Harley Davidson catalog. They had a feminine silhouette and were called the “Lady’s Companion Jacket.”
Bikers were still seen as cool in the 1960s, but with British mod culture, androgyny became cool as well, so we started seeing more young women wearing leather jackets, along with close-cropped hair. In the 1970s, female rock stars like Joan Jett and Blondie’s Debbie Harry cemented the bad girl vibe of a leather jacket.
In the 1980s, the leather jacket didn’t lose any of its cool and tough factor, as studded versions of it were extremely popular with edgy punk kids, but it certainly became more mainstream, as it was also favored by less subversive figures including pop and R&B singers. Little has changed since then – leather jackets for women are mainstream and timelessly cool, showing up on the runways year after year.
We’ve got some of the best leather jackets listed, and you probably cannot go wrong with any one of them, but if you think you’ll venture out into the stores instead, it’s important we arm you with some knowledge about how to choose the perfect leather jacket for you.
Because leather jackets are so darn long-lasting and durable, don’t feel obligated to buy them first hand! You can find the perfect leather jackets at the thrift store – they might even be softer and nicer than the ones you can buy first hand!
Pay Attention to the Quality
No matter what kind of leather jackets you are looking at, you want to find a quality leather jacket that is made of great material and is well crafted. After all, leather jackets are the items that are meant to last for decades!
• The quality of the leather is extremely important, when it comes to the quality of the best leather jackets. You want leather that feels soft and natural, which also means that it will be slightly uneven in texture. If the texture is too smooth or plasticy, it’s a sign that the leather is of a poorer quality, and that it had to be sanded down and then corrected with spray treatments.
• When it comes to faux leather jackets, unfortunately they will not last as long as genuine leather. You can identify great faux leather jackets, as they will feel thicker to the touch and will have a more supple, flexible feel.
• Good stitching is the surest sign that leather jackets have been well crafted. Look for thick, even stitches at the hems, without any thin areas or unraveled thread.
• Often the zippers are the first thing to break on leather jackets, so look for more durable or heavier zippers, like RiRi zippers. Also look at the way the zipper has been stitched into the jacket – even stitching is important, so make sure that no part of the lining will come too close and get caught in the zipper.
• A breathable lining is also a sign of a high-quality leather jacket. The lining doesn’t have to be natural to be great, as silk, cotton, and polyester linings are all acceptable.
• Silk or silk-like fabrics as lining for the sleeves are the sign of a more expensive leather jacket.
• If you’re looking at more expensive leather jackets for women, look for a more precise fit as well. This means that the jacket will sit perfectly at your shoulders, and the armholes will be a little higher and smaller, but perfectly suited to your size.
Style Matters Too
Let’s get personal. Your personal style should have the biggest impact on what kind of leather jackets you end up buying.
• The biker jacket, which is based off of the original Perfecto, is the classic choice that you cannot go wrong with. Biker jackets usually zip up along the side, with one panel sitting over another, which prevents wind getting in, and they have a collar. You can find all kinds of embellishments on biker leather jackets, with ruffles or jewels to make them look more feminine, or studs and iron-on patches to make them look edgier.
• Choose a sleeker biker jacket with a tighter fit, especially around the waist, if you prefer a slimmer, more feminine silhouette.
• For that old-school, androgynous look, opt for a loose-fitting biker jacket instead.
• A bomber jacket is also a classy choice. It zips up in the center, and usually does not have a collar or too many embellishments. On women, bomber jackets tend to look a little more sporty.
• The flight jacket should be your go-to if you want added warmth, especially around the neck, or if you love that durable and practical Amelia Earhart look. Flight leather jackets usually have a warm, fur or wool-lined collar, they zip up in the middle, and might have a couple pockets at the front. They’re great for winter, although overall they tend to have a more masculine or unisex look.
As Far As Materials Go
You cannot go wrong with the various materials for leather jackets. Simply choose the material that you like best!
• Cowskin is extremely common. It is extremely durable, but that also means that it is a little tougher and can be rough to the touch. Cow leather becomes softer over time, so you know it’ll get nicer the more you wear it.
• Lambskin is increasably becoming even more popular than cowskin, with most of the best leather jackets on our list being made of lambskin. It is soft and supple right off the bat, but it also tends to be a little less durable.
• Calf kin is as durable as cowskin, but it has the same softness of lamb leather.
• Suede is that slightly fuzzy leather you see sometimes. It is usually made of lamb, although occasionally of goat. The fuzziness is a result of the leather being split and then sanded down. Suede tends to be very soft, but also less durable in water.
• Goatskin, like lamb, tends to be quite soft, although it has a more textured feel and a more visible, tight grain.
• Horseskin is very rare, and it tends to look the most “cowboy” like when used in leather jackets. It makes for a very stiff and durable leather that has a very smooth and shiny finish.
• Occasionally you might see pigskin leather, which is quite similar to cowskin.
• Even more rarely you might find bison leather, which has a thick and tough feel with a very deep grain pattern.
• Polyurethane is the material you will most frequently see used for faux leather jackets. It is a synthetically created polymer that can mimic the look of all kinds of leather extremely well. It is not as durable as real leather so it is less expensive, and is preferred by vegans and vegetarians.
Leather jacket is that versatile style staple you can pair with almost any outfit and wear to any place. Below we discuss all the peculiarities of different leather jacket outfits perfect for different occasions.
Casual Leather Jacket Outfits
• The simplest outfit you can wear with a leather jacket might also be the most chic: a pair of vintage jeans and a white T-shirt, just like Marlon Brando in The Wild One.
• To echo a different yet equally iconic film character, wear your black leather jacket with a pair of black skinny jeans or leggings, a low-cut black top, and some red pumps, and embody Sandy at the end of Grease.
• In fact, all kinds of jeans go well with leather jackets, including boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans, and even flared jeans if they ever come back in style.
• Since leather jackets can be a little bulky, pairing them with shorts requires a bit more thought. Shorts that have a bit more bulk to them and are made of a nice fabric will work well with leather jackets, especially if worn over tights or pantyhose.
• Leather jackets work well with both oversized and fitted tops.
• A tunic and leggings can be instantly made a little trendier with the addition of a leather jacket.
• Don’t forget about colors! You can absolutely play around with color blocking schemes, especially if you are a fan of colorful leather jackets.
• If your go-to style is more bohemian, with flower fabrics in greens and earth tones dominating your closet, then you are better off opting for a brown, tan, chocolate, or burgundy leather jacket in a looser-fit. It will work harmoniously with your style, and suit everything from lounge pants to flowy dresses and skirts.
• The accessories are what makes an outfit! Bracelets are not always convenient with a leather jacket, but a hat, scarf, big necklace, large earrings or a statement designer bag will all go a long way to making you stand out and look more unique.
• If you prefer the punk rock styling of leather jackets, opt for heavier combat boots or Doc Martens style boots.
Night Out Leather Jacket Outfits
• We believe that there should be fewer rules when it comes to going out, since your focus should be on having fun! This means that whatever leather jackets you feel great in are exactly the kind you should wear when going out.
• The obvious choice would be to wear a cute party dress with a more fitted leather jacket, although even a slouchier one could work.
• If you love contrasts wear a lace dress or a dress that has more volume at the skirt with tulle and ruffles.
• If you prefer a more harmonious look opt for a tight bodycon dress and some dark-colored stockings, which will work effortlessly with your leather jacket.
• Shorts or skinny jeans and a nice blouse are also a great combination with a leather jacket, especially if worn with a great pair of pumps.
• If you’re feeling outrageous, why not wear a pair of tight leather pants to match your leather jacket?
• For a more upscale club, it’d be better to wear a pair of pumps with your leather jacket ensemble, while for the average bar a pair of boots could totally work.
• Chunky high-heeled boots, especially ones embellished with studs, chains, or belts, do a great job of bridging the punky edge that leather jackets have with some night out glamour.
Office-Ready Leather Jacket Outfits
• Don’t listen to the naysayers! Leather jackets are perfectly acceptable to wear with work outfits, even if you work in a classy office.
• Look for leather jackets that don’t have too many embellishments. Opt for more streamlined and sleek leather jacket designs instead.
• Unless you wear a lot of earth tones to the office, it is better to stick to black, burgundy, cream, or white for the color of your jacket, and to avoid brown or chocolate colored leather jackets.
• Leather jackets look great when worn over a button-up shirt, as well as over solid or patterned blouses.
• Make sure to wear tops that are made of nicer fabrics like silk, as pairing a leather jacket with a cotton top might look too casual for office wear.
• Leather jackets can be worn over both A-line office skirts and smart trousers.
• When leather jackets are worn over dresses, it is important that the dress be on the more modest side of things, with a length that goes a little past mid-thigh at the shortest and without too much cleavage showing. Otherwise the look might be a little too clubby.
Dressy Leather Jacket Outfits
• Sleek leather jackets might not be appropriate at the event itself, but they are perfectly serviceable when worn to and from dressier occasions.
• A leather jacket pairs surprisingly well with solid-colored, full skirts.
• Leather jackets tend to work better with dressy outfits that consist of a separate top and bottom half.
• Accessories are the most important, with a nice bag, a great pair of heels, and statement jewelry making all the difference between looking glam and not.
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