Leather was all over the Fall 2020 runways, turning this perennial cold weather fabric into a seriously hot trend. There were leather coats, jackets, blazers, pants and whatever else you could think of parading down the catwalk at the Prada, Acne Studios, Vetements, Fendi, A Cold Wall, Dolce & Gabbana, and Nicholas Daley shows (probably more, but who’s counting?). The best leather jackets for men ranged from boxy styles with huge shoulder pads — another 80s throwback — to leather blazers, to leather jackets, to leather bombers, to leather belted jackets. Honestly, if there was a leather outwear style that you’ve always worn, like the classic motorcycle jacket, chances are it was updated for Fall 2020. (Except for the motorcycle jacket; that style’s pretty much perfect already.)
Designers like Dunhill layered leather on leather, and if one is apt to copy architect Peter Marino’s style, be prepared to be slightly sweaty and have a hefty dry cleaning bill all season long. Circling back to leather jackets, and specifically the best leather jackets for men, they’re a style investment that once bought, becomes an integral part of your closet for a long time to come. That’s because the best leather jackets for men are the ones that last for many years and never go out of style. No matter what you wear them with, they always complete the look.
Now, designer leather jackets for men, like the ones from Fendi, can go up to $10,900, but you can find high quality, well-crafted leather jackets for much, much less. And yes, it’s a bit hot outside, so think of stomping through falling leaves while scrolling through to find the best leather jacket that fits your style this fall.
1. Schott NYC Leather Moto Jacket
Marlon Brando wore a Schott biker jacket in The Wild One in 1953, starting a 70-year craze for this specific jacket. For the fashion purist, this is a grail piece that you can wear every day and still give to your kids. It’s slightly more expensive at $900, but for a famously bad-to-the-bone leather jacket, that’s actually a good deal.
2. Mr P. Melton Wool and Leather Jacket
Mr P., the in-house design team from retailer Mr. Porter, always does a really great job of creating elevated and elegant upgrades from most of your standard basics. Case and point, this elegant and elevated take on a varsity-style jacket; the rich midnight blue wool is matched by equally luxe leather sleeves. The overall look evokes long days past on the campus quad, without ever making it look like you’re trying too hard to wind back the clock.
3. Polo Ralph Lauren Hensen Nubuck Leather Hoodie
BEST ATYPICAL OPTION
Why would one spend that much on a hoodie? Because it’s so much more than that. This is a leather jacket that one could live in. You can always count on Polo Ralph Lauren on taking a classic item and giving it a fresh new twist. This jacket has all the hoodie details from the drawstring hood to the kangaroo pockets, to the ribbed cuffs and waist. The nubuck leather elevates the hoodie and makes it into a leather jacket that’s covetable. Each time it’s worn it gets softer and more supple. It’s easy to layer it over a tee (short or long sleeve), and as the weather gets cooler, pop it on under a denim jacket of over a thick sweater. It’s one the best leather jackets for men because it works for every season.
4. John Varvatos Star U.S.A Classic Leather Jacket
Detroit-born John Varvatos’ clothing’s infused with a rock n’ roll edge. That probably explains why Jack White, Bruce Springsteen, The Kings of Leon and Ringo Starr own his stuff. This jacket (and it’s on sale!) is a great example of his designs. The jacket’s clean lines and sleek tailoring means that it’s easy to integrate into your closet and your own personal style. Be prepared to get compliments on how cool you look, as the jacket quietly lets you shine.
5. Alpha Industries B-3 Sherpa Leather Bomber Jacket
BEST FLIGHT JACKET
Alpha Industries has created outerwear for the military since the 50s, and their civilian jackets, like this B-3 sherpa bomber jacket is based on what pilots wore in combat. The original B-3 bomber was the official cold weather jacket during WWII and kept aircrews warm in unpressurized cabins. This jacket’s an investment that’ll keep you toasty warm for years. Lined in Sherpa wool, the leather jacket has adjustable buckles at the collar and hem to keep the cold out.
6. Reiss Diablo Snake-Print Panel Leather Jacket
BEST FOR YOUR INNER ROCK STAR
Style, personal style should be a reflection of one’s personality. If one’s going to invest in a leather jacket, and they are one of the priciest items in menswear, it might be a good idea to choose an item that is timeless and iconic. It’s definitely okay, heck, it’s better than okay to own clothing that fits in in any situation, but with outerwear, it’s fine to show some flair. Reiss mines the Western trend that’s been in resurgence these past few seasons and adds a touch of, shall we say “Bowie-esque” style to the classic shirt jacket silhouette.
7. John Elliott Leather Rider’s Jacket
BEST DESIGNER LEATHER JACKET
Los Angeles-based designer John Elliott makes a black leather jacket that’s absolutely one of the best in the business. Crafted entirely in LA, its Italian leather construction is tough, yet elegant, and will last for decades if you take care of it properly. Oh, and if you’re not convinced, Elliott’s leather jackets are the go-to leather pieces for one LeBron James — which is one hell of a compelling celebrity endorsement, as game quite literally recognizes game.
8. Sandro Aviator Leather Jacket
BEST BOMBER WITH A TWIST
Brown is a hue that always looks lustrous and takes on a rich patina in leather. It’s a shade that, like black, works season after season. So when purchasing an item that will be worn for a few years, opting for a brown leather jacket is as wise a choice as picking a black one. Sandro’s aviator jacket has a bomber silhouette with ribbed cuffs and waist, However, it’s not blousy or full like a classic bomber, and the pointed spread collar and two oversized front pockets add effortless cool to it. It’s been reduced by 50%, so that definitely sweetens the deal.
9. Saint Laurent Black Leather Classic Biker Jacket
When Hedi Slimane took the reins as creative director for Saint Laurent in 2012, he infused the menswear line with a mix of gritty streetwear style with a touch of minimalism. The streamlined designs were unfussy and modern. the new creative director Anthony Vaccarello is continuing in Slimane’s steps and this polished biker jacket has edge. The thing about a designer item, especially from a top designer, is that as it ages, its value, like a good watch, goes up. Whether one has money to burn, or one wants to shop smart, purchasing anything from Saint Laurent is never a bad move. The items look on-trend and timeless at the same time. Using black lambskin that’s been buffed to a high shine, this biker jacket has shoulder epaulets, a back reverse yoke and multiple flap and zippered pockets.
10. Levi’s Leather Trucker Jacket
Levi’s been making the best men’s jeans for well over 100 years, give or take a few years. The brand completely gets the fact that style should not only meet comfort, but that fashion and comfort should be inherently entwined. Take their classic denim trucker jacket, re-imagined here in black leather. While a leather jacket is an investment, as it will be worn for years to come, nothing says it can’t be fun, too. And this snap front jacket with its two front pockets is as weekend-ready as its good for going to work.