June 30th, 2009
What types of leather jackets are light enough to wear anytime during the year, yet warm enough to wear in winter? Better yet, how much should I be looking to spend and who makes good jackets?
Ohh, tough question. Let me start from the top.
Most leather jackets are going to be fairly hot regardless of style. Obviously, if you are looking for something versatile, I’d avoid any kind of super-heavy leather jacket- generally, ones with sheepskin insides/collars are the worst. I’ve found that motorcycle jackets are generally the coolest, but even they are pretty warm. So far as what you are willing to spend, leather jackets are damn expensive- expect to pay a couple hundred for a really, really good jacket. I’ve personally found that good quality leather jackets range from $250 to $800. Remember to shop for real leather- don’t get duped into super-cheap synthetic leather crap.
Now for the brand. So long as you aren’t buying off eBay or anything, honestly, you’ll find that even some of the smallest places have pretty high quality leatherware. Of course, groups like Schott NYC have absolutely great leather goods, and even more “designer” brands like Zegna are reputed to have decent jackets. Realistically, I’d advise you just go jacket hunting everywhere. Try everyone- leather stores, big department stores like Nordstroms, even places like Kenneth Cole joints. Ideally, go there physically, don’t shop online- not only can you try on the leather (which is important- tailoring leather is hard to do) AND check the quality. Look for a jacket with real leather, firm stitching, high quality zippers/snaps/whatever, and a good return/repair policy- treat the jacket like a major investment, much as you would a small car.
In any case, I’m sorry I can’t provide a single “go buy this” sort of answer- much like jeans, leather jackets are the kind of thing you have to go hunting for and try on. Good luck!