Guide to Leather

The biggest factor in the price of the jacket? The quality of the leather.

Cheaper jackets will use leather that is corrected. Animals that have a lot of scarring, branding or knicks from how they are raised.  These skins will be sanded down and sometimes faux leather grains will be pressed into it, as well as extra spraying of dyes and treatments to make them more uniform.

Because of these top coatings, corrected leathers will have an overly smooth, plastic feel, versus the soft, oily, uneven textured nature of uncorrected skins.

TOP STITCHING

10 Topstitching

Heavy duty Gütterman top stitching.

Topstitching, a decorative stitching on garments, is a highly desirable detail on leather jackets. It’s usually done along the edges of seams and pockets, and gives the jacket more visual punch. Think of it like bolding text.

High end jackets will specifically use a thick thread by German company Güttermann.

Designers will cut cost by using regular, thin thread and/or limiting the amount of top stitching on a garment, sometimes taking it out all together.

LININGS

Cheaper jackets (like cheaper blazers and suits) will usually use lower grade synthetic linings in the entire garments.

These linings often shred and tear easily, feel really dry and don’t breathe well. These cheap synthetics are often the first things to fall apart over time.

Pricier jackets will often have two different linings – one for the body and one for the sleeve. Body linings will often be higher quality synthetic, warmer cottons, sometimes insulated and quilted.

Sleeves will usually be lined in a beautiful silk or silk-like fabric, such as cupro (sometimes called Bemberg), an extremely breathable material made from fibers of the cotton plant, and make the jacket feel a lot more luxurious when you put it on.

ARMHOLES/SLEEVES

Cheaper jackets (again, much like cheaper suits) will go for larger, lower armholes to accommodate more body types in order to increase the likelihood of making a sale.

Pricier jackets will have higher set armholes. The advantage of having a higher armhole is better arm movement, making for a better overall fit. When an armhole is too large and low, it will literally pull on the body of the jacket when you move your arms.

DESIGN ELEMENTS

A lower end jacket will often be simpler in design overall, because the less design elements a jacket has, the cheaper and faster it is to make.

Less design details means less pieces to cut, less pieces to line up, less to sew. This means less interesting elements, simpler pockets, and sometimes no inner pockets.

ZIPPERS

The most common zipper is the YKK, which tend to be made of lighter metal. RiRi zippers, my personal favorite, have an overall stronger build, are buttery smooth to zip up, with much shinier finishes that are more visually appealing.

11 YKK VS RIRI

Left to right: YKK Zipper and a RiRi Zipper in equivalent sizes. Notice the thinner flat pull tab and smaller teeth on the YKK zipper.

Higher end jackets will often have RiRi zippers, or custom heavier weight zippers that are less likely to break instead of YKKs. The price difference between using a YKK Zipper vs a RiRi zipper is often 10x per zipper.

High end designers will also often opt for 2-way main zippers, which make jackets more comfortable to wear when you’re sitting, as you can let the jacket out from the bottom.

LEATHER: THE GOOD, THE LUXURIOUS, AND THE UGLY

12 Jude Law

Jude Law wearing a fencing leather jacket by Carol Christian Poell. Photo via Upscale Hype.

Now that you know what goes into a $$$ jacket compared to cheaper jackets, let’s talk about the most important part of a leather jacket: the leather.

When it comes to leather jackets, you have a good handful of animal skin choices, all with pros and cons.

13 Cow and Lamb

Left to right: cow and lambskin.

The two big ones you’ll most often run into are cow leather and lambskin. Cow used to be the king, but you’ll find that lambskin is more common now because it’s extremely soft.

The downside to lambskin though is that it’s generally more expensive because the size of the raw skins are smaller than a cow, meaning designers have to buy more to make one jacket.

The above is a guest article from Peter Nguyen

Terms to Avoid

Some items maybe listed as Leather but they are not. They only look like Leather even better finish then Real Leather.

DONT buy any Leather with words like PU , FAUX , Synthetic Or Rexine . These are not Leather at All.

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