Are you a leather jacket kind of guy or a jean jacket kind of guy?
Sure, there are other styles of men’s jackets out there – but these two have been in direct competition with one another for nearly 100 years.
They both have their pros and cons, and they both look great when styled with a variety of different outfits.
But the question is: which jacket style is right for you? Leather or denim?
In today’s article, I’m breaking out everything you need to know about leather jackets and jean jackets so you can make a final decision once and for all.
- Which Is More Versatile – A Leather Jacket Or A Denim Jacket?
- Denim Jacket Vs. Leather Jacket Pricing
- Are Denim Jackets Easier To Care For Than Leather Jackets?
- Can You Alter Men's Leather And Jean Jackets?
- Leather Jackets Vs. Jean Jackets – Which Do Women Prefer?
Today's article is sponsored by my friends over at JL Rocha – craftsmen of A1 leather and suede products.
The first time I met the owners, Jose Luis and Jose Noel (a father & son business combo), I realized I loved their jackets not only because of the quality build but also because of the deep-rooted family values their business represented.
JL Rocha's heavy-duty leather is built to last a lifetime. 30 years from now, you could still be rocking the same jacket you bought today (provided it hasn't been stolen by your son!)
Click here to discover JL Rocha's Icon Collection and use code RMRS to get 40% off at checkout. Hurry, this promo runs for a limited time or until supplies last!
Which Is More Versatile – A Leather Jacket Or A Denim Jacket?
Some jackets are certainly more formal than others. In the case of leather jackets and jean jackets, there are a few key points you need to consider before deciding which is right for you.
Leather Jacket Vs. Jean Jacket: Formality
Both leather jackets and jean jackets work well with a button-down shirt, dress boots, and a stylish watch. Alternatively, for a more casual look, pair with sneakers and a t-shirt (make sure it’s a plain, well-fitted t-shirt though – you’re not 12.)
Sure, leather jackets appear more formal than jean jackets. We tend to associate leather with high-end fashion brands and designers, whereas denim is more common in casual or streetwear styles.
Typically, leather jackets are also more expensive than jean jackets, which can make them seem more formal. However, there are plenty of affordable leather jackets on the market that are just as stylish as their pricier counterparts.
It really just comes down to personal preference in terms of which jacket style you prefer. Do you want something that's classic and timeless? Or something that's a little edgier? There's no wrong answer – it all depends on your own personal style.
Leather Jacket Vs. Jean Jacket: Wearability
When talking about wearability, we’re discussing how easy it is to wear each of these jacket styles with other clothes – be it different pants, shirts, shoes, or boots.
Leather jackets look great with any kind of jeans. However, a blue jean jacket and matching blue jeans is not a great look. It’s known as the ‘Canadian tuxedo’ or double denim – and it isn’t something that most men can pull off.
Instead, opt for contrasting colors. For instance, a jean jacket can look pretty good with black jeans or gray jeans. In fact, any color of denim jacket looks fine with any contrasting color of jeans – charcoal, brown, dark green – just as long as they’re very different from each other.
Of course, leather jackets come in all kinds of different leather jacket styles – the motorcycle jacket and flight jacket, fatigue, and trench. Some are definitely less versatile and wearable than others, like the leather blazer.
However, in general, you can wear a leather jacket with anything from casual weekend wear to a shirt and chinos on the way to the office. Just make sure you take it off when at your desk – leather jackets are very wearable, but don't really suit a professional working environment.
In contrast, jean jackets are simpler. They don’t come in too many different styles and are almost always exclusive to casual wear – meaning that they’re less wearable in a broad sense, but easier to understand WHEN and HOW to wear.
Denim Jacket Vs. Leather Jacket Pricing
You can spend as much as you want on clothing.
A leather jacket from a budget clothing store might set you back $150 – whereas a Tom Ford leather jacket could cost 10x that amount.
However, speaking generally, leather tends to be more expensive than denim. So how does this affect the pricing system of jean jackets and leather jackets?
Leather Jacket Vs. Jean Jacket: Raw Material Cost
There is no denying that leather jackets are more expensive than jean jackets. A high-quality leather jacket can cost upwards of $500, whereas a decent jean jacket will only set you back around $100.
The reason for this is all in the material. Good quality leather is simply more expensive than denim.
Top-grade leather costs a lot of cash. When crafted into a luxurious leather garment, you can expect to pay into the thousands for one item of leather clothing. In fact, many top designers use leather for this very reason – it's something that conveys quality and luxury.
So, if you're looking for a jacket that will last you a lifetime and won't break the bank, then a leather jacket is probably not the right choice. However, if you're willing to spend a little extra for a high-quality piece that will only get better with age, leather is the way to go.
If you're after something more budget-friendly that doesn't convey a sense of luxury and wealth, then opt for a jean jacket. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the blue-collar look of a jean jacket – in fact, many celebrities try to recreate it using denim!
Sure, jean jackets might not look like a million bucks, but anyone who knows anything about denim understands that's not the aim!
Leather Jacket Vs. Jean Jacket: Price & Durability
Which jacket style is more durable? Leather or denim?
To answer that, we need to break out each one and look at its pros and cons. Durability is a pretty broad term, and these two jacket styles are both pretty durable in their own way.
Leather jackets are known for their durability. They are made from thick, tough leather that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Plus, leather is naturally resistant to water and wind, which means your jacket will stay looking good even in bad weather.
Think about it – guys have been wearing leather as a protective garment for years. From military gear to motorcycle jackets, it's clear that leather can take a beating and act as a second skin when things get a bit rough.
However, it's important to note that fashion leather jackets aren't made in the same way as motorcycle leather. Typically, fashion houses design their leather jackets for everyday use and make them from thinner, more supple leather. This leather is still durable – but it's not as tough as the leather you'll find in a motorcycle jacket.
Jean jackets are also pretty durable. Anyone who's worn jeans knows that thick denim fabric can withstand a lot of wear and tear. And, like leather jackets, denim is also naturally resistant to wind.
However, one thing to keep in mind with jean jackets is that they will fade over time – especially if you wear them often in the sun. The good news is that this fading can actually add character to your look.
However, you should be mindful when wearing a jean jacket in wet conditions. Despite its rugged appearance, denim isn't waterproof – so avoid wearing a jean jacket if you know it's about to rain.
So, which jacket style is more durable? It really depends on what you're looking for. If you need a jacket that can withstand a lot of wear and tear as well as keep you dry in bad weather, leather is the way to go. If it's sunny outside and you want a hard-wearing jacket that won't make you sweat buckets, then a jean jacket might be a better option.
Are Denim Jackets Easier To Care For Than Leather Jackets?
This is a tough one – again, both garments have their merits and setbacks and should be addressed separately to help you make the most informed decision.
There are a few key things you need to do in order to keep your jean and leather jackets looking good and lasting long:
Cleaning Your Leather Jacket
It's important to clean you leather jacket regularly in order to remove dirt, dust, and other debris that can accumulate on the surface over time. This can be done by using a damp cloth and some mild soap or detergent. Be sure to wring out the cloth well before cleaning the leather – you don't want any excess water getting inside the jacket and causing damage.
If there are any tough stains or marks on the leather, you can use a slightly dampened toothbrush to scrub at them gently until they disappear. Make sure to dry the leather off completely afterward with a soft cloth – leaving it wet could cause damage.
Conditioning Your Leather Jacket
You should also condition your leather jacket on a regular basis in order to keep it looking good and prevent it from drying out and cracking over time. You can buy special leather conditioners from stores or online, or you can make your own at home using olive oil or beeswax.
To condition your leather jacket, simply apply a small amount of the conditioner to a clean cloth and rub it into the leather in circular motions. Once you've covered the entire surface, buff it off with a dry cloth to remove any excess and leave the leather looking shiny and healthy.
Storing Your Leather Jacket
When you're not wearing your leather jacket, it's important to store it properly in order to keep it in good condition. The best way to do this is to hang it up on a sturdy coat hanger in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
You can also put your leather jacket in a garment bag if you need to store it in a closet or other small space. Just be sure to remove it from the bag every so often to allow it to air out and prevent mildew from forming.
Cleaning Your Jean Jacket
Sure, denim is a tough material. However, you should still clean it if you want it to last a lifetime. When it comes to cleaning your jean jacket, it's important to avoid using harsh chemicals.
The best way to clean your jean jacket is to spot-clean it with a damp cloth and some mild soap. If you need to, you can also put it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle – but make sure you hang it up to dry after. Wash it on a low heat with only a small amount of mild detergent.
If you do put your jean jacket in the washing machine, make sure to avoid using fabric softener. This can actually break down the denim fibers and make your jacket less durable over time.
Storing Your Jean Jacket
When it comes to storing your jean jacket, you want to make sure that you hang it up. Don't fold it and put it away in a drawer – this will cause the fabric to wrinkle.
If you're going to be storing your jean jacket for an extended period of time (for example, over the summer), you should consider wrapping it in acid-free tissue paper. This will help to protect the fabric and keep it from fading.
Thankfully, jean jackets are easier to store than leather jackets. However, it's important to remember to ensure that your garment is completely dry before packing it away or hanging it in a cupboard. Trust me, you don't want that moisture to linger and start to cause mold!
Can You Alter Men's Leather And Jean Jackets?
I'm always talking about the importance of getting your clothing correctly tailored. But things can get a bit tricky when it comes to different materials like leather.
Why Are Leather Jackets Hard To Alter?
Leather jackets are harder to make alterations to because they are not as workable as jean jackets. This means that it is more difficult to make changes to the leather jacket, such as changing fit and customizing the jacket's features.
Leather is an interesting material. While it's quite stretchy and hard-wearing, it falls short when it comes to alteration. Stitching can cause tears and holes in the fabric that could result in a damaged-looking leather jacket.
In worst-case scenarios, the integrity of the leather could be so damaged by alterations that it loses its waterproofing and begins to fall apart. To be safe, you should always do your research and find someone who knows what they're doing!
In short – unless you visit a specialist tailor who is well-trained in working with leather garments, you could very well end up with a ruined jacket if you insist that your regular tailor tries to make leather alterations.
Are Jean Jackets Easier To Alter Than Leather Jackers?
While a jean jacket is not as strong as a leather one, it is much more workable. This means that you can take your jean jacket to any tailor and they will be able to make the necessary adjustments without any problems. You can also easily customize your jean jacket with different stitching, washes, and measurements.
Jean jackets are more versatile in this sense, as they can be easily customized to the wearer’s preference. Often, men take their jean jackets to the tailor to get sleeves shorted and shoulders brought in – much like they would with a regular dress shirt.
The reason that we are able to do this with jean jackets is because of the workable fabric. It can be unpicked, resewn, and reworked to achieve the perfect fit with relatively simple alterations.
Leather Jackets Vs Jean Jackets – Which Do Women Prefer?
I'll get straight to the point – most women LOVE leather jackets. For the last 70 years, some of the most attractive men in TV, Film, and the music industry have worn leather jackets.
The reason is quite simple: leather jackets portray the perfect combination of primal ruggedness and a tactile, touchable surface. They're dark, mysterious, and bad-ass – meaning women want to be near them, love whoever is in them and touch them whenever they can.
What more could a guy want?
However, that's not to say that jean jackets aren't loved by the fairer sex.
When paired with a well-fitted white t-shirt underneath, a jean jacket can make you look like James Dean. We all know how attractive he was in his prime.
To be honest, denim is actually easier to pull off. They're oftentimes baggier than leather jackets meaning that a larger guy can wear them with confidence.
To be frank, a man in a leather jacket that doesn’t fit his body (or his personality) looks anything but attractive. No woman wants a guy who looks awkward and poorly dressed – no matter what he's wearing.
In short, leather has ‘bad boy’ appeal, but that doesn’t suit every man – denim has more of a ‘good boy’ appeal while still looking cool and masculine, which some women actually prefer.