by Jennifer Smith July 25, 2019 5 min read

Whether you are finally going on that first date with the girl in the library or hanging out with your bros for drinks on the weekend, there is one fashion item that can keep you looking fresh all day long – the leather jacket. The ultimate high fashion apparel combines fashion and function in a way that few others can hope to match.

Popular amid men and women alike, the versatile outfit can be categorized into three mainstream types – the bomber jackets, the biker jackets, and the racer jackets. However, many other types also exist, and the designs in which this outerwear is available in the modern fashion industry are virtually countless.

Leather jackets – high fashion since a century and not going away anytime soon!

Perfect for any and every occasion, this iconic piece of outerwear has been in fashion for more than a century. Since its conception, the leather jacket quickly climbed up the ranks and made its way into all the fashionistas’ hearts.

Today, we can safely assume that the hottest trend of the century has been adopted at least once by every fashion enthusiast who can afford it. In this article, we will shine some light on the history of leather jackets to better understand how this apparel came to be a permanent staple in every man and woman’s modern-day wardrobe.

Let’s trace it all back to the origin – the 1900s

Before we discuss how leather jackets gained so much popularity and refuse to go away, it is essential to know where our favorite rockabilly outerwear came to be born.

The ultra-stylish fashion item traces its origin back to military wear. It was in the early 1900s during the First World War that the German fighter pilots began wearing the brown leather jacket – that later, in World War II, came to be known as the bomber jacket (something like in the picture above).

Synonymous with the flight jacket and aviator jacket, the warm bomber jacket was a convenient and sensible choice of outerwear for pilots who had to experience extreme cold at high altitudes. A part of military uniform, the aviators of that time could never have guessed how essential the timelessly chic style would become to the fashion-forward just a few years later.

Introduction into the fashion world – late 1920s

In 1928, the leather jacket was first introduced as a fashionable garment by the super talented and an inspiration to many future designers, Irvin Schott. His design (as shown above) was similar to the modern motorcycle leather jacket and was named after his favorite cigar company – The Perfecto.

True to its name, the jacket design was perfect – and is highly coveted by fashionistas even today. This OG jacket very much inspires the modern street style leather jacket.

Instead of using buttons for the front closure as was the norm for leather jackets of the time, Schott opted for a daring zipper closure, accentuating the entire look of the garment. This first fashionable leather jacket sold for a measly $5.50, probably the cheapest such a highly acclaimed design has ever been priced at in the history of leather jackets.

A star is born – the 1950s and 1960

Soon after the first leather jacket was designed and sold as fashionable wear , the fad began to gain popularity. Many fashion enthusiasts began adopting the style into their daily wear, and the leather jacket became a staple for every fashionista’s closet. The trend truly skyrocketed in the 1950s with the Hollywood embracing it in some of the most popular and highly acclaimed movies of the day.

The first time the leather jacket was styled by a Hollywood actor in a famous film was by Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Brando’s character in the movie was a dangerous yet sexy gang member who had a great dressing sense.

This was soon followed by the handsome heartthrob James Dean flaunting the style in Rebel Without A Cause. In this way, Hollywood played a significant part in the history of leather jackets, further encouraging the trend to take hold of the masses. It was because of this adaptation of leather jackets by Hollywood rebels that the jackets began to be associated with a bad boy persona.

As Hollywood realized the potential of the most iconic trends of all times, the leather jacket soon became the next cool thing for fans of the big screen. Rock stars such as Steve McQueen and The Beetles quickly adopted the fashion and leather jackets became synonymous with rock and roll.

Women enter the game in the 1970s and 1980s

As rock and roll flourished in the following years, so did the favorite outfit of our favorite rockers. A style that was once dominated by men became a hit with the ladies as well. Making the trend equally sought after with all genders was especially assisted by some of the most talented and famous ladies in rock and roll.

Female musicians such as Blondie and Joan Jett were among the first women to rock the practical yet stylish trend (pun intended), making it acceptable for women around the world to jump on the bandwagon.These iconic women went a step further and adorned their go to rock and roll outfit with buttons, studs, and pins – making an already tasteful style even chicer. This was around the 1970s and 1980s.

Leather jackets in modern fashion



Since then, the leather jacket has only increased in its acclamation. Becoming more and more popular with every coming year, the trend has aged like fine wine. With fashion icons and supermodels the next group to adopt the trend in their own lives, it became more acceptable for the leather jacket to be seen as a softer, more casual, high fashion clothing item.

The runway was not the only place where these models would be seen flaunting a perfect leather jacket. Celebrities such as the super charismatic Kate Moss started sporting statement leather jackets in their off-duty looks, making it mainstream street style. The widespread fad of wearing leather jackets for casual events reached new heights.

Thanks to that, there are various styles of leather jackets available today from leather skin shop. From grunge and edgy studded leather jackets to some vibrantly colored, bold fashion jackets to contemporary, minimalistic designs – leather jackets of the modern times are fit for every occasion.

The final word

The leather jacket has had an exciting journey – making its way from the blood and gore of the battlefield to the glitz and glamour of the runway. Throughout the ages, the practical yet fashionable outerwear has kept its enthusiasts warm and snazzy.

Many dapper dressers have made the leather jacket their signature look throughout history, while some others avoided it because it became too mainstream. However, one thing is for sure – whether you think of the leather jacket an overdone look or are all about it, this timeless classic trend is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

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