There are some key and important differences between leather jackets that sell for bargain basement prices compared to jackets with a much higher price tag. And the differences go beyond the amount you end up paying at the checkout. After all, there must be something that makes one jacket cost considerably more than another.
Focusing on men’s leather jackets, let’s take a look at some of those differences so you can decide whether a cheaper leather jacket will do, or whether it might be worth handing over some extra dollars for a better quality one.
Let’s Talk About the Jacket Lining
Jackets in the cheaper range – and this isn’t limited just to leather jackets alone, but even suits and blazers – will be lined with a synthetic material of a lower quality than a more expensive jacket. The common problem with these cheaper linings is they tear easily, particularly where any stitching is present, so not really ideal if you want your leather jacket to look good for years.
On the other side of things, the more expensive and higher quality leather jackets will usually contain different linings for the body and the sleeves. Better quality synthetics are used, and sometimes even cotton and a quilted pattern to create a layer of insulation.
Sleeves might even be lined with silk or fabrics that are like silk and very breathable. When you slide yourself into a quality leather jacket you can instantly feel the difference.
The Quality Of the Leather Varies
Leather jackets are primarily all about the leather, and leather definitely comes in different quality grades. The quality of the leather used in the manufacture of the jacket will influence the final price in a big way.
Quality leather feels a lot more supple and natural because less processing is required to finish it. When it comes to the leather of a lower grade – hides that may have lots of scarring, branding marks and so on – a lot more processes take place in order to bring the leather up to a retail standard.
The lower quality leathers will often look extra shiny and almost have a plastic or vinyl feel to them. Some cheaper “leathers” may not even be leather at all, but a faux leather or a hybrid material, such as bonded leather.
It’s quite easy to spot quality leather over a cheaper leather when you compare leather jackets.
While they hide from cows still plays a huge role in the leather jacket market, lambskin is becoming increasingly more popular because of its inherent soft and subtle properties. Lambskin tends to be more expensive than cowhide.
Some other skins used for leather jackets are deerskin, pig hide, kangaroo, crocodile, bison and horse. Cowhide and lambskin are the most common though.
How About the Stitching?
Generally, the internal stitching of cheaper and more expensive leather jackets will often be fairly similar, but it’ll be the quality of the materials that lets down the cheaper model.
On the outside of the jacket is stitching called “topstitching”. This is the stitching that’s visible when you’re wearing the jacket, and this stitching is meant to add to the overall aesthetics of the finished jacket.
This is decorative garment stitching and something that is very prominent on quality leather jackets. The stitching along the edges of the seams and pockets should be quite bold with a thick thread. Lower quality leather jackets will skimp on manufacturing costs by using a much thinner, far less impressive-looking thread.
Cheap Or Expensive – Which Should You Buy?
This might really depend on the kind of budget you have to invest in a leather jacket, and it really is an investment if you can afford to buy a really good one. A quality leather jacket will give you years of wear and wardrobe pleasure.
In the long run, buying a really cheap leather jacket will likely mean you just have to go out and buy another one maybe only 6 months or a year later. You could end up spending more money on a series of cheap jackets than you would spend on a really good one that’s made to last.
The best option is to save your cash for a good one.