Many people consider a leather jacket a staple for every wardrobe.
They go with just about anything and work in a variety of different weather conditions and occasions.
However, other staples, such as a good pair of jeans or a black tee-shirt, don’t cost nearly as much.
Even a thick winter jacket usually doesn’t cost quite as much as a leather jacket.
How much should a real leather jacket cost?
How Much Should A Real Leather Jacket Cost?
A real leather jacket can cost anywhere from $250 to upwards of $2000 or more.
Leather jackets usually come with a pretty hefty price tag, especially when they are made from high-quality and thick leather.
High-quality hardware and designer labels bring the price up even more.
Check the thickness of the leather and the texture of the material to determine if a jacket is a high-quality material.
High-quality leather jackets will be thick.
Also, high-quality leather jackets will have a rough texture to them as opposed to synthetic leather which can be unnaturally smooth.
Factors That Affect Leather Jacket Price
1. Leather Material
First and foremost, leather jackets cost so much thanks to the material used in the jacket.
All leather jackets are made from the tanned hide of different animals.
Lambskin is especially thin.
Sheepskin is the most commonly used material in leather jackets.
Nappa leather is a more expensive material.
Crocodile leather is the most expensive material available as well as the most distinctive material.
The quality of the leather depends on how much of the hide is used in the leather as well as the type of animal.
Most people prefer natural leather for its durability, but rough leather may also show imperfections.
The hide is made up of several layers: the grain, the grain and corium junction, the corium, and the flesh.
The five leather quality grades include:
- Full-grain leather: natural leather texture with no buffing.
- Top-grain leather: top layer of the grain is buffed to remove imperfections.
- Genuine leather: treated leather.
- Split-grain leather: leather made from a lower layer of hide.
- Bonded leather: leather from all different layers of hide mixed together.
For the most authentic texture, you want full-grain leather. It’s like the steak of leather.
Keep in mind that “genuine leather” doesn’t necessarily mean that the leather is as natural as full-grain leather.
However, someone who doesn’t know the difference may assume its high in quality based on the description.
While fine for children and costumes, bonded leather is the hot dog of leather.
Faux leather refers to manmade synthetic material designed to look like leather, but since it’s made from cheaper material, it’s usually sold at a cheaper price.
Many people prefer faux leather to show their disapproval of the use of leather and animal products in the fashion industry.
However, pleather or faux leather rarely looks like the original thing.
Even faux leather can get really expensive, especially if it’s good quality that mimics real leather.
2. Jacket Thickness
Leather jackets not only look great, but they are also rather practical.
Leather makes for a very warm jacket during winter weather.
It’s just important to remember that you don’t want to get the leather wet if it’s snowing.
Naturally, the thicker the jacket, the warmer it is.
Lambskin leather is usually thinner than other leather materials, so it will be the least appropriate jacket when winter comes.
Leather aviator jackets, usually insulated with fur or other warm material, are usually the warmest type of leather jacket available.
The thickness of the jacket also helps protect the wearer.
That’s one of the reasons leather jackets became so popular with motorcycle clubs.
If the rider falls off their bike, the jacket can potentially protect them during their fall.
Naturally, motorcycle riders risk substantial injury during a fall since there’s no machine around them protecting them as with a car.
Since leather jackets are so thick, this increases the weight of the item.
Most leather jackets weigh three pounds, but it varies based on the material used.
Since jackets are so thick and heavy, they take up substantial storage space in a retail space or warehouse.
The price of large leather jackets goes up automatically simply because of the space required to transport them and store them.
3. Handmade Jackets
Naturally, things cost significantly more when they are handmade.
The best leather jackets are handmade, and the time and effort that goes into the jacket increase its value.
Leather tends to get caught in machines thanks to its thickness, making it less desirable for large-scale manufacturing.
There’s less risk of error when someone makes the jacket by hand as opposed to letting a machine handle the process.
Process Of Making A Leather Jacket
It starts with cleaning the skins.
All hair must be removed from the skins.
They also must be sorted if there are different types of hides or hides of varying thickness.
The skin must then go through the tanning process, in which the skins soak in a solution (usually made from acid or oil) for hours or sometimes even days.
After tanning, the hides will be dried.
Mass-produced jackets will go through a conveyor belt.
However, when handmade, someone will wring the hide out by hand and stretch it on a frame to prevent shrinkage and wait for it to dry thoroughly before proceeding.
As you can see, the extent of the leather preparation is what makes the handmade jacket so expensive.
Not only do the makers need to soak the hides, but they must also dry the hides.
The creator will then create a design and use that to assemble the jacket from the hide.
Generally speaking, leather jackets are put together in the following steps:
- Sides connected to back portion
- Sleeve under seams attached
- Sleeves attached to armholes
- Collar attached
- Cuffs, pockets, zippers, and buttons attached
After the jacket is finished, it will be inspected to ensure that it fits right and all of the buttons and zippers work properly.
If the jacket passes inspection, it will be stored appropriately until sold.
All jackets have hardware, such as buttons and zippers.
Some leather jackets even have studs and other decorative features.
Hardware made from expensive materials, such as silver or gold, increases the cost of the jacket.
The hardware is also part of the design of the jacket.
The right zipper or studs on the shoulder can elevate the appearance of the jacket (and its worth).
If hardware falls off, most manufacturers make it easy to replace the missing hardware directly through them.
You can also adjust the hardware on your leather jacket to update its appearance if you feel the current hardware doesn’t look great.
Changing out cheap plastic buttons for silver or metal buttons can make a big difference.
Some materials appear to tear like paper, or you may notice the material starting to unravel.
Leather, on the other hand, holds up extremely well.
The fibers in the leather will never unravel since the fibers are fused.
The strong material means you can get a lot of use out of it for a long time before anything happens to it.
More often than not, the material will get punctured before it deteriorates.
Luckily, the fibers can still be repaired, even if they’ve been punctured.
However, you’ll likely need to go to a professional leather restoration service to get the job done properly.
The strength of leather jackets means that high-quality ones can last significantly longer than most other jackets.
You may even get to enjoy the jacket for your entire life.
Even the thinner leather jackets last well over 20 years.
6. Deterioration Of Leather Material
Leather doesn’t hold up forever. In fact, while most leather jackets last over 20 years if not a lifetime, they will likely deteriorate more quickly than synthetic materials.
If you let your leather deteriorate, you will have to buy a new one.
In order to protect your leather jacket, you need to know proper leather jacket maintenance.
First, understand that sunlight will fade the color of the leather over time and even make the leather brittle.
For this reason, it’s best to limit wearing your leather jacket on sunny days.
While it’s ridiculous to pass on a motorcycle trip down country roads on a summer day to avoid ruining your leather jacket, you can take the proper precautions to minimize the damage.
UV rays don’t only occur in summer.
They also come out during the winter, when more people wear leather jackets.
In order to protect the leather, you can find coating products specifically designed to protect the leather from the sun.
You’ll also find products and services for leather restoration if the damage is already done.
You also want to keep your leather jacket out of the rain and snow when possible.
The material won’t resist the water. Instead, it will absorb the water.
When it dries, the material will become stiff.
When not in use, you will want to store the jacket in your closet on a wooden hanger in a breathable nylon bag.
Don’t leave the jacket in the bag for too long, though.
You don’t want the jacket to get stiff due to a lack of use.
7. Style Options
When you put on a leather jacket, you tell a story.
The story usually involves a vintage and edgy aesthetic, but you can apply that story to wherever your leather jacket takes you.
Since your leather jacket is so versatile, it’s something you’ll wear quite a bit.
Luckily, they’re also versatile stylistically.
There are numerous different types of leather jackets and ways to wear them.
You can style your leather jacket the traditional way with jeans and boots, or you can use a leather jacket to add an edge to a sundress.
You can also pick an untraditional color, such as red, to really make a statement.
The options are endless!
You can wear your leather jacket at numerous different times throughout the year, such as in the fall and winter.
Luckily, they go well with winter hats and snow boots.
Some people will even wear their leather jackets in the summer with a bandana and jeans and riding boots or cowboy boots.
Finally, a leather jacket can contribute to either a formal outfit or a casual outfit.
Don’t assume that a leather jacket can only go with a casual look.
Some women will wear a leather jacket over their formal dress or professional attire.
The leather jacket also helps take the outfit from day to night once the workday is over.
Types Of Leather Jackets
When buying a leather jacket, you need to get the right type of jacket for the occasion.
The different types of leather jackets include:
The standard biker jacket is cut relatively short in length at the hips with a straight cut and a large collar. The jacket was originally designed to offer some protection for motorcyclists in the case of a fall.
A racer jacket is a modern take on a biker jacket but made more for style than function so it can use thinner leather than most other options. The lines are straight, and the collar is straight.
A bomber jacket has a full body shape with a tapered waist. Many times, a bomber jacket will have additional fabric inside of it to increase the warmth of the jacket.
A flight jacket is similar to a bomber jacket but without the tapered waist.
A moto jacket is fitted and adds some stylistic features, such as additional buttons and folds, to the traditional biker jacket to increase its cool factor while maintaining the functionality.
As the name suggests, a leather blazer is a leather jacket designed in the shape and design of a blazer, made to add an element of cool to business casual attire.
Full-length leather coat
A full-length leather coat will go down to your knees and offer full coverage while simultaneously making a real statement.
8. Popular Culture
Leather has been used since ancient times, but it didn’t really become super popular until the 1900s.
Leather jackets jumped onto the scene in the early 18th century as a common part of the military uniform for aviators in WWI and WWII.
The soldiers donned their jackets proudly when they returned from service.
Young ladies swooned over the tough veterans and youngsters wanted to look like them, too.
Soon, young boys started to ask for leather jackets as birthday and Christmas presents.
Some lucky young men would even get an authentic army-issued jacket from a family member or an army surplus store.
In the 50s, leather jackets became a symbol of rebellion and antiestablishment views instead of military garb.
When Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper donned their leather jackets in Easy Rider and John Travolta sported his leather jacket in Grease, people started associating leather jackets with bad boys and motorcycles.
Today, it’s practically law that anyone who buys a motorcycle must also buy a leather jacket.
Not to be outdone by the boys, women started wearing leather jackets, too.
It started with girls taking their boyfriends’ leather jackets until designers started making jackets specifically designed to flatter women’s shapes.
Soon, women in rock and roll, such as Joan Jett, made them a staple for all of the bad girls out there.
When a piece of clothing becomes so popular, everyone starts to want one, too.
Young people have made leather jackets a staple in most adolescent closets to this day.
Designers start making them and styling them in new and exciting ways, appealing to high fashion and big money.
9. Designer Brands
A lot of famous brands sell leather jackets, and a designer label attached to a leather jacket adds to the cost even more.
Just some of the brands that sell designer leather jackets include:
Designer brands can charge thousands of dollars for a single jacket.
You’re paying for the leather and the design, but you’re also paying for the label.
Everyone automatically loves a leather jacket when they see the Alexander McQueen label on it.
You can wear it with confidence over just about anything.
How can anyone argue with one of the most brilliant minds in fashion today?
10. Fashion Industry Taboo
More and more people want to live a cruelty-free lifestyle.
Leather, unfortunately, doesn’t coincide with a cruelty-free lifestyle since it’s made from animal hides.
PETA and other animal rights organizations have rather effectively showcased the process of leather creation, and it may tug at the heartstrings a bit if you let it.
However, despite PETA’s efforts, the attention they bring to leather may have the opposite of the intended effect by encouraging more people to want leather as opposed to causing outrage about the leather industry.
The idea of a handbag or a jacket being taboo because PETA hates it may only increase its value to some of the rebellious fashionistas out there, especially ones who want to make a name for themselves and get a piece of the spotlight.
They can accomplish their goal by wearing a controversial leather piece at a public event.
The more people who hate the outfit, the better.