The leather jacket is the epitome of tough masculinity. However, why are some leather jackets so costly?
The cost can easily rise into the hundreds of dollars, if not thousands.
Isn’t it just the brand name that you’re paying for? Certainly not.
You don’t always get what you pay for. This is particularly true in the case of leather jackets.
I’ll show you how to tell the difference between cheap and expensive leather jackets in this article.
Let’s start with the leather the jacket is constructed of, which is where you’ll notice the most difference for your money.
Types of Leather
There are two sections that need to be addressed. The first consideration is leather type, followed by leather quality.
Let’s start by discussing the various types of leather.
Lambskin and cowhide are the two most common types you’ll come across.
Lambskin is a lightweight leather that takes minimal time to break in.
It also has a smoother texture, giving it a more streamlined appearance. However, because it is a thin leather with a low tensile strength, it is more susceptible to crack or rip with time.
Cowhide, on the other hand, is thicker and stronger, although it can be stiff. As a result, breaking in a cowhide jacket will take some time.
Cowhide’s grain pattern is significantly more evident on the surface, giving it a more rough appearance.
Calfskin, which is as soft and supple as lambskin yet as durable as cowhide, is an excellent compromise between the two.
However, you’ll have to pay a premium for this. It costs much more than cowhide or lambskin.
Goatskin is another popular leather type. It’s similar to lamb in terms of weight, but it’s more rougher and has a distinct pebble texture.
Goatskin leather will be comparable in price to cowhide or lambskin.
Other leather types available include horse, buffalo, and elk. They’re all robust, beautiful leathers with their own distinct range, but they’ll set you back more than a cowhide or lambskin.
What is the cheapest of all the cheapest? It’s faux leather.
It’s actually a type of plastic, and it’s what most jackets priced under $200 are made of.
I strongly advise you to avoid them. It won’t breathe because you’re practically wearing plastic.
Real leather will age and gain character over time, but faux leather will just crack and flake off. You’d be far better off saving money for the actual thing.
Quality of Leather
Let us now discuss leather quality.
There are three aspects to all leathers that you should be aware of.
Full grain leather refers to the top layer of the hide. The top grain is the layer beneath that. The one below that is suede and is termed genuine leather.
The uppermost layer, full grain, preserves the original grain of the hide and is the most durable.
As a result, it is regarded as the best and most expensive leather type.
Because full grain leather is the thickest, it will take longer to break in.
The top grain is located beneath that. It’s thinner, lighter, smoother, and a little cheaper after the outer layer is removed.
The top grain is frequently imprinted with an imitation grain after it has been sanded, giving it a consistent appearance.
Top grain leather is also not as robust as full grain leather because the top layer is sanded away to remove defects.
Genuine leather, often known as suede, has a unique and lovely aesthetic with its nap surface, but it is not as durable as full or top grain leather.
Suede is soft and doesn’t need to be broken in, but you should be careful because it is stain-prone. As a result, suede is frequently the least expensive of the three leather varieties.
Let’s discuss about the fit next.
The most important aspect of wearing a leather jacket is getting the right fit. Because it’s nearly hard to modify the jacket afterwards, it must fit you right off the rack.
Cheap leather jackets are designed to fit as many different bodies as possible.
As a result, most cheap-cost jackets have a baggy fit in the torso and sleeves.
The higher-priced brand is frequently suited to a specific body shape. You’ll have a jacket that fits you like a glove if you locate the perfect brand.
The hardware is one area where you will see cheap leather jackets skimp.
Your budget leather jackets will default to the cheapest choice when it comes to zippers, snaps, eyelets, and buckles.
YKK is a popular zipper brand seen in budget jackets. If they used a high-end zipper like a Riri or Raccagni, you know you’ve got a quality jacket.
The key differences are that high-end zippers are smoother, made of a heavier metal, and are less prone to fail over the course of a jacket’s lifetime.
The buckles and snaps are in the same boat.
A quality leather jacket will last you a lifetime. You must ensure that the hardware is capable of doing the task.
Let us now discuss construction.
An pricey leather jacket will be made using high-quality, long-lasting thread.
After roughly a year of wear, the cheap faux leather jacket’s stitching broke free in the armpit and had to be repaired.
Let’s talk about lining now.
A cheap leather jacket will cut corners on the liner, just like your clothes.
Cheap polyester, which doesn’t breathe well and is prone to tearing with continuous usage, is usually used in low-cost jackets.
A higher-end jacket will have a higher-quality lining, such as cotton or Bemberg. Both will be significantly more breathable.