Should A Leather Jacket Be Tight Or Loose?

How does one wear a leather jacket? Is it too tight, too loose, or just right? From aviators in the 1920s to celebrities today, leather jackets have graced the backs of many for nearly a century. You can wear them, too! We've looked into the topic and found some helpful tips.

When rocking a leather jacket, one should pay attention to certain features, such as:

  • Length - It should rest below the chest or at the waist.
  • Size - You should probably go down a size.
  • Degree of Stretch - Form-fitted is best.

Despite the worn history of leather jackets, their style is still going strong. In 2021, a model may strut down the runway in an airy, chic leather jacket that transforms the style for an entire year. However, you don't have to be a model to enjoy the same look. Just follow these suggestions below!

A woman wearing a leather jacket and scarf in the cold New York weather, Should A Leather Jacket Be Tight Or Loose?

This article may include affiliate links and elements that were carefully created by our team using advanced ai to help you envision the best style advice.

How short should a leather jacket be?

Floor-length leather jackets like Neo in The Matrix should probably only be used in the movies. Typically, the length of a leather jacket should land at the waist and the ends of the wrists, as seen below. This individual chose a sturdy leather jacket with gold zippers. The zippers are meant to loosen or tighter the jacket as needed or to create airflow on a hot day.

Depending on the occasion, some people may prefer a cropped leather jacket look. This is acceptable as well! For instance, a night out on the town wearing a cropped leather jacket and blue jeans, like shown below, sounds perfect.

A true cropped (or short) leather jacket will hit just below the chest. 

This jacket is made of Lambskin Nappa leather and offers several flattering buttons and zippers.

Click here to see this jacket on Amazon. 

Many buyers are choosing to shop online nowadays. Of course, this makes accurate size measurements to be that much more important. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s sizing guide and take a few measurements, such as the chest, waist, and shoulders.

Specifically for leather jackets, it is important to measure the desired jacket length and sleeve length. Recall that the jacket may be cropped at the chest or extend to the natural waist (above the hips). Regardless of the jacket length, the sleeve length should stop at least to the wrist (not the palm).

Should you size up in leather jackets?

Most of the time, leather jackets are long-term investments. They’re not cheap. So, you don’t want to get the wrong size.

On the higher end, genuine leather jackets may cost $300 to $1,000 or more. Some people might own 1 or 2 of them. Is this too expensive though?

In contrast, faux leather jackets are much more affordable. The prices are variable, but you can find them on Amazon for less than 50 dollars.

Click here to see this budget-friendly jacket on Amazon. This one is available in 4 colors -- black, cognac, navy, and olive.

Generally, it’s not advised to size up in leather jackets. Over time, leather stretches with use. So, it might be better to buy a tighter version of what you might normally wear.

This is especially true for motorcyclists. Like the 1920s, today's motorcyclist requires a sturdy, insulated jacket to protect his or her skin while gliding across the interstate at 75 mph. For protection and safety, they require the jacket to be wind-resistant and to stay close to the body.

There are many road-ready leather jackets available.

For women, click here to see a stylish leather jacket on Amazon. It’s made of genuine leather.

For men, click here to see a casual yet protective leather jacket on Amazon. More affordable, it’s made of PU faux leather.

How do you know if a leather jacket is too big?

Perhaps you're trying on leather jackets. Or, if the dressing rooms are closed, maybe you've already purchased it. We've found a few signs that the jacket might be too big.

1. Bagginess

A beautiful woman wearing a leather jacket

If the leather jacket is overly loose under the arms and around the middle, then it is likely too large. One way to determine this is to stand in front of a mirror with your arms stretched out to either side. If the jacket is too loose, then there will be small bunches of material hanging from under your arms. Try another size!

Sometimes you want the jacket to feel roomy without appearing baggy.

Click here to see a comfortable jacket on Amazon. You have 3 great colors to choose from--black, brown, and grey.

2. Too-long of Length

In the above image, both the jacket length and sleeve length are too long. If that oversized jacket is your dad’s old jacket, then that is awesome, and you should totally wear it! But if you’re trying to find one that’s in style, then aim for the appropriate jacket and sleeve length.

Remember, you want the leather jacket to hit no further than the waist and the wrists.

Click here to see an excellent choice on Amazon. It's made of cowhide leather.

3. Outpouching at the Back

If you turn around in the mirror, and you see too much material bunched up behind you, then it might indicate a poor fit. The jacket might be too large.

The leather jacket should fit closer to the back of the body. You should have a free range of motion while still maintaining a close fit.

Will a tight leather jacket stretch?

An up close photo of a leather jacket zipper

If it is made of genuine leather, then yes, a tight leather jacket will stretch over time with continued use. The more it is worn, the more it will stretch. Be aware of this before you buy!

Click here to see a loose-appearing genuine leather jacket on Amazon. It will stretch, so you don’t want to size up.

Regardless of how often you use a genuine leather jacket, it will undoubtedly stretch a little. Simply wearing the jacket for 2 or more hours a day will stretch the leather material.

If you only casually wear your leather jacket, then the stretch might take longer. For example, the young lady below might only sport her cute leather jacket once or twice a year when she goes to the occasional dinner party. In this case, the leather might not stretch that much.

A woman showing her cool leather jacket

However, if you wear your jacket daily on your Harley-Davidson bike for a few hours at a time, like the gentleman below, then it will stretch quickly. The constant movement and weather elements also factor into how quickly it will stretch.

An old man riding his chopper wearing his leather jacket

In contrast, synthetic leathers likely will not stretch. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s product information, but don’t expect it to loosen up over time like genuine leather.

How do you break in a stiff leather jacket?

If the leather jacket is too snug, then you might want to expedite the stretching process. Don’t worry; you don’t have to visit your local farm to gather the materials to help you out.

One household item that you probably have in the bathroom is your hairdryer. In a way, this simulates you wearing the jacket and exposing it to your body heat. On the lowest setting, gently heat the material all over and slowly tug on the edges to help loosen it.

Another great way to loosen the leather material is to use a leather conditioner.

You can use it for multiple materials. And, best of all, you don’t need a lot of it!

Check out this conditioner on Amazon. 

Although this might feel a little uncomfortable, another option is to wear the leather jacket while it’s soaked in water. After it's soaked, put on the jacket and go about your normal activities. Wear it for as long as you are comfortable enough for at least an hour.

Follow the above tricks, and your leather jacket will become as comfy as this woman's -

In Summary

Okay, that was a lot of information. There are several factors to consider when wearing a leather jacket, including the length, size, and stretch. Take what you will from these suggestions, and just make them your own! We wish you the best of luck with whatever event you're dressing for.

Before you go, check out these helpful links for how to wash your faux leather jacket and how long your shirt underneath should be!


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