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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best leather jackets for women

A leather jacket for women is a wardrobe essential, as it can elevate or dress down any outfit. Depending on the type, it can also be a decent fall and spring jacket. While considered rebellious in the ‘50s and ‘60s, today’s leather jacket-wearing women look chic, confident, and head-turning.

As you consider adding this wardrobe essential to your cart, keep a few factors in mind. If you plan to wear the jacket in cold weather, you might want a faux fur or shearling-lined jacket. Also think about the jacket style you want (there are several), the color, additional embellishments such as zippers and buckles, and prices. Regardless of the features and considerations you care about most, BestReviews is here to help you make an informed purchase.

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All leather jacket wearers should rock the colors that make them feel confident.

How to buy the best leather jacket for women

The history of the women’s leather jacket

Even though leather jackets have been around for over 100 years, for the first few decades they were primarily worn by men. Some of the first sightings of leather jackets were during World War I when aviators wore them in flight. Leather jackets became more popular during the Second World War, then gained further acclaim as 1950s American movie stars like James Dean sported them, playing rebellious, edgy characters.

Women, however, were left out of much of the fun in the early 20th century. The earliest sightings of women in leather jackets were during World War II — the United States instituted a program called Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). In this initiative, women trained as flight pilots so male pilots could engage in combat. In the post-war years, Harley Davidson released the “Ladies Companion Jacket,” a leather jacket with a cropped, fitted design meant to flatter the female figure. Still, leather jackets were largely male-dominated until the ‘60s onward. The punk movement in particular shifted the leather jacket into an androgynous clothing item. Now, leather jackets are worn by everyone. 

Types of leather

Like men’s leather jackets, women’s leather jackets are made from one of two different leather types. Full-grain leather comes from the top layer of animal hide, including the natural grain of the hide. Full-grain leather is tougher and not as likely to develop cracks and marks over time. As one might expect, full-grain leather jackets are more costly than top-grain leather jackets. Top grain leather is similar to full-grain leather. The main difference is that the outer layer of animal hide is removed in the tanning process, leaving a thinner, softer material that’s malleable for leather makers.

Leather source

While cow leather is the most common, leather is made from a number of different animal hides. Cow leather is one of the more water-resistant types and is fairly easy to find. Goat leather is a popular alternative to cow leather. For an ultra-luxurious option, you might opt for deer or lambskin. These are incredibly soft, tender leathers for jackets, gloves, and other accessories. Both types of leather are less common than cow leather and cost more. 

These days there are more vegan leathers available than ever. As the name suggests, these leathers are made from synthetic materials rather than animal hides. Vegan leather can be more affordable, but make sure you find one that’s well-made. 

Styles

When it comes to choosing a jacket style, women have plenty of options. Here are some of the more popular leather jacket styles for women:

Motorcycle: If you’re envisioning the quintessential leather jacket for women, a motorcycle jacket, also known as a moto jacket, may be the first style that comes to mind. Moto jackets are known for their asymmetrical zip-up design, wide lapels, and a buckle strap around the waist. Moto jackets achieve the perfect mix of unbothered and cool. Though you can find moto jackets in multiple colors, go for black to keep your wardrobe timeless. 

Flight: Flight jackets, sometimes known as bomber jackets, are named for the aviators who wore them during World War I and II. Flight jackets are often brown and include a shearling lining. The waistband and wrist cuffs are stretchy and insulated for warmth, and some designs may include a built-in hoodie. If you plan to wear a leather jacket in cooler temps, flight jackets are worth looking into. 

Blazer: If you want to take your leather jacket to the boardroom, consider the leather blazer. Leather blazers can be either single or double-breasted. The design is much more streamlined than that of a moto or flight jacket, with simple outer pockets, structured shoulders, and thin silk or rayon lining. 

Scuba: Maybe you want to do away with extra buttons and zippers altogether. Enter the scuba jacket. Scuba jackets are sleek, mimicking the design of form-fitting scuba wear. A scuba-style leather jacket is typically lapel-free, collarless, and has a single zipper that bisects the jacket from top to bottom. Scuba jackets are perfect for a fun night out on the town or at a sporting event. 

Fur-trimmed: If you’re serious about wintertime wear, you might look into fur-trimmed leather jackets. As the name suggests, fur-trimmed jackets include a fur lining that often extends into a fur collar. Fur-trimmed jackets make the ultimate statement. Depending on how they’re styled, you can achieve a head-turning outfit while staying nice and cozy. 

ST1-leather jacket for women versatility
Staff Tip
The sheer versatility of a leather jacket for women can’t be understated. You can pair it with a pretty dress and heels for an interesting contrast, or jeans and sneakers for a casual look. 
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What features do leather jackets for women have?

Embellishments

Depending on the jacket type, many leather jackets for women are decked out with buckles, zippers, and shiny metals. While a more streamlined leather jacket for women (like a scuba-style one) may not have much in the way of extras, moto jackets and some flight jackets pull out all the stops. Shoulder straps, for example, are helpful for keeping your shoulder bag in one place. 

Color

Leather jackets for women come in a variety of colors. That’s one benefit over leather jackets for men — women often have more options, from bubblegum pink to bright red.

Even so, if you want a leather jacket to be a mainstay in your closet, stick with neutral colors. Black is always a great choice and complements any clothing item. Other colors such as shades of brown, mossy green, and beige can add a touch of warmth to a look.  

Note that extra embellishments can make a bit of noise as you go about your day. It may not be a dealbreaker, but it’s something to consider if you prefer a stealthier fashion choice.

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How much do leather jackets for women cost?

Inexpensive 

A quality leather jacket for women is worth the investment, especially if you plan to make it a wardrobe staple. However, there are leather jackets for women available at all prices. If you’re looking in the under $150 range, expect to find a number of vegan leather jackets. Any cowhide leather in this range will likely consist of top grain leather. 

Mid-range

$150 to $600 opens your options considerably. In this range, most of the leather jackets you come across are genuine animal hide or extremely high-quality synthetic. Here, you’ll find both top-grain and full-grain leathers. You can also find jackets made from goatskin and deerskin, particularly at the higher end of this range.

Expensive 

If you’re up for the splurge, leather jackets for women above $600 include leather made from all animal hides, including lambskin. The leather jackets for women in this range are often manufactured by luxury designers. 

St2-leather jackets women repurpose
Staff Tip
Leather jackets can be repurposed for costumes pretty easily — think Tina Turner or Sandy from “Grease.”
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Tips

  • Maintain your jacket. To ensure longevity, leather jackets for women should be hung up in a cool, dry closet. You can use a leather conditioner if you plan to wear the jacket in wet weather. If it’s truly dirty, it might be worth taking to a professional cleaner, especially if it’s an investment piece. 
  • Go fitted or oversized. If an oversized look is what you’re going for, it may be worth it to peruse men’s leather jackets. 
  • Vegans, check your “leather.” Not all synthetic leather is necessarily vegan, as it may include other materials that are sourced from animals, such as dyes. 
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If you have enough of a budget to buy two leather jackets, get one in black and get one in a different color. Try a bold red or blue for a pop of color.

FAQ

Q. Are leather jackets for women still in style?

A. Yes. Like a good pair of dark wash jeans, leather jackets are timeless and never go out of style. After all, there’s a reason that leather jackets have been around for decades.

Q. Can I get my leather jacket for women wet?

A. Avoid wearing a leather jacket in the rain. Leather is permeable and therefore not waterproof, so when wet leather dries, it becomes brittle and cracks over time. Save your women’s leather jacket for dry temps; otherwise, waterproof it with a quality leather conditioner. 

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