Fashion Clothing Outerwear The 17 Best Leather Jackets of 2023 for Every Occasion Whether it's real or vegan, we found the coolest options out there right now. By Mischa Anouk Smith Mischa Anouk Smith Mischa Anouk Smith is a freelance Commerce Writer for InStyle, drawing on 10 years' experience working for titles including Refinery29 and Dazed Digital and luxury retailers including Net-a-Porter and Harvey Nichols. Enthralled with the transformative power of clothes, she has delivered lectures on fashion history at University of the Creative Arts and London College of Communication. InStyle's editorial guidelines and Bianca Kratky Bianca Kratky Bianca Kratky is a fashion & beauty commerce writer at InStyle. InStyle's editorial guidelines Published on March 1, 2023 @ 09:00AM Pin Share Tweet Email In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews What to Keep in Mind Your Questions, Answered Why Trust InStyle We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. InStyle / Alli Waataja Leather jackets have never really left the limelight — it’s part of their timeless appeal — but whether it’s fashion’s penchant for the 90s’ (here’s looking at you, Kate Moss) or the Kardashian-Barker effect, the wardrobe staple is more prolific than ever. No longer restricted to grunge biker styles or trench coats, today, you can get a leather jacket in pretty much every shape and color — real or faux. So, whether you’re looking to channel Blondie and Joan Jett (bust out the badges and get customizing, if so) or girlier leather looks as seen on Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens, there’s a leather jacket for every outfit and occasion. To help you find your perfect style, we sought the advice of experts and scrolled countless retailers, read the reviews, and finally, landed on our favorites, which you can read more about below. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Levi's Vegan Leather Moto Jacket at Nordstrom Jump to Review Best Budget: Zara Faux Leather Biker Jacket at Zara.com Jump to Review Best Splurge: Acne Studios Leather Biker Jacket at Acnestudios.com Jump to Review Best Plus-Size: Noisy May Curve Zip Up PU jacket at Asos Jump to Review Best Blazer: Aritzia New Agency Blazer at Aritzia.com Jump to Review Best Colored: Blank NYC Faux Leather Moto Jacket at Nordstrom Jump to Review Best Suede: Doen Arizona Jacket at Shopdoen.com Jump to Review Best Motorcycle: Madewell Washed Leather Motorcycle Jacket at Madewell.com Jump to Review Best Bomber: Banana Republic Leather Bomber Jacket at Gapfactory.com Jump to Review Abercrombie & Fitch Vegan Leather Trench Coat at Abercrombie.com Jump to Review Best Overall Levi's Vegan Leather Moto Jacket Levi's View On Nordstrom View On Levi.com View On Macy's What We Love: It has all the features of a classic leather jacket, with no extra frills or detailing.What We Don’t Love: This is not the jacket to layer a bunch of sweaters underneath, as the rather classic fit will sit close to your body. When you think “leather jacket”, this style is probably the first thing that pops to mind. Add in a cruelty-free factor and you’ve got a vegan leather moto jacket from Levi’s. The minimalist, sleek jacket has all the classic features of a biker jacket: a spread collar, snap-down lapels, asymmetrical zip, and half zips up the sleeves. The leather itself has a lightly roughed-up texture to it, which gives it a more realistic appeal. Aside from that, there are no extra frills, details, or embroideries that would make it appeal to only a certain group of people. It’s a universal leather jacket if you will. It does sit close to your body, so it may be difficult to fit in thick layers underneath. But feel free to grab this jacket whenever you’re running out of the house in your dress, jeans, or skirt. Price at time of publish: $77 Size: XS-XXL | Color: 1 | Material: Polyurethane | Fit: Regular Fit Best Budget Zara Faux Leather Biker Jacket View On Zara.com What We Love: It’s part of The Green to Wear 2.0 standard, which aims to minimize the environmental impact of textile manufacturing.What We Don’t Love: The sleeves come up quite small, so tall girls might want to push them up to make them look purposefully cropped. “I love a biker jacket as it's a perennial piece that always looks cool, and they were heavily featured during the FW22 shows,” says Bellot. You can always count on Zara for well-crafted wardrobe classics, and this faux leather biker jacket is no exception — ditto their real leather version. It features all the classic details but at a snip of the price. This one runs a little on the small side, so if you can get to the store, we’d recommend trying on different sizes, especially if you want to echo the louche ‘borrowed-from-the-boys’ look that was seen on the FW22 runways. “I tend to size up at least by two sizes, to get a slouchy, oversized fit,” says Hughes. “Zara's faux leather jackets are great – in classic black or in pastel shades,” she adds. Price at time of publish: $69 Size: XS-XXL | Color: Black | Material: Polyester | Fit: Regular Fit Best Splurge Acne Studios Leather Biker Jacket 4.6 Acne Studios View On Acnestudios.com View On Net-a-Porter What We Love: Like a fine wine, it’ll get better with age.What We Don’t Love: The price isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it’s an investment piece and if you look after it well, it should last a lifetime. “If you're splurging, you can't go wrong with Acne Studios – their jackets just get better and better with age.” says writer and vintage fashion fanatic Natalie Hughes. Her hot tip is to always check eBay. “If you look hard enough you can find vintage leather jackets that look like Acne at a snip of the price tag,” she explains. If you’re ready for the real deal, it doesn’t get better than the Scandi label’s cult classic. Replete with signature details — zippered pockets, a notched collar, and buckled belt at the hem — this timeless style is structured from buttery Nappa leather that’ll become unique to you with wear. “Acne Studios are renowned for their leather jackets, and their reign won't be coming to an end anytime soon – their classic designs and perfect fit make them a reliable choice,” adds Bellot. Price at time of publish: $1,650 Size: XS-XXL | Color: Black | Material: Leather, viscose | Fit: Regular Fit Best Plus-Size Noisy May Curve Zip Up PU jacket View On Asos What We Love: It’ll go with pretty much everything in your wardrobe.What We Don’t Love: The cracked patent-leather finish might peel off after multiple wears. Offering a more polished take on the trend, this motto-inspired leather jacket is cut to a relaxed silhouette — we love it worn slightly oversized — with a point collar and padded shoulder details that give it a vintage flair. For an on-point 80s look, unbutton the cuffs and roll the sleeves up. As plus-size model Kenna Sharp notes, “a leather jacket totally elevates an outfit.” Her favorite way to style hers is by layering it with a T-shirt or bodysuit. Choosing to avoid real leather, Sharp opts for vegan alternatives (more on those later) and keeps it casual with sneakers, or adds heels for “more of a night out moment.” In a rich coffee hue, this slick style is great for balancing figure-skimming outfits and is less severe than black. Price at time of publish: $58 Size: 14-24 | Color: Black | Material: Polyester | Fit: Regular Fit Best Blazer Aritzia New Agency Blazer Aritzia View On Aritzia.com What We Love: The vegan leather feels extremely luxurious.What We Don’t Love: It’s not going to keep you particularly warm. If you told me this was real leather, you would have fooled me. Nothing in its sleek feel would have given away that it is actually faux. Blazers took over our wardrobes in the last years as the number one preferred outerwear, so it only makes sense to include a leather option as well. It comes with all the blazer essentials — a breast pocket, a notched lapel, shoulder pads, and two hand pockets. There’s a fourth pocket in the interior lining, reserved for your essentials as well. Four buttons can be found on the cuffs as well, giving it an overall sophisticated feel. It’s tailored to fall straight down, ending just past your hips, without being too boxy or too form-fitting. You’ll find a single slit up the back of the blazer for easy movement as well. While it might not keep you safe from any winter blizzard, it sure looks good during the in-between seasons. Pair with matching suit pants, or wear with a slip dress or black jeans. Price at time of publish: $228 Size: 2XS-XL | Color: 2 | Material: Polyurethane, polyester, cupro | Fit: Regular Fit Best Colored Blank NYC Faux Leather Moto Jacket Nordstrom View On Nordstrom What We Love: The soft colors combined with the rigid moto aesthetic make for an eye-catching statement.What We Don’t Love: Some reviews complain that the sleeves are too long. Here’s a combination you don’t typically see: baby blue on a motorcycle jacket. And that’s precisely why it stands out. Something about adding a soft touch to an otherwise edgy piece thrills my little heart. The vegan leather, made of polyurethane and viscose, is described as “buttery soft”. Half zips can be found on both sleeves (be warned: some think they're a bit too long), while the classic biker collars cross over to an overlapping front zip. Blank NYC, which excels in making modern wardrobe staples, has perfected making faux leather over the years. This piece is a great example of their craftsmanship and would make for great accent outerwear. Price at time of publish: $98 Size: XS-XL | Color: 3 | Material: Polyurethane, viscose | Fit: Regular Fit Best Suede Doen Arizona Jacket Doen View On Shopdoen.com What We Love: Their size guide gives you exact details of this specific jacket, rather than a sitewide general measurement.What We Don’t Love: They don’t specify what their return policy is. Hands down, this is the most luxurious faux suede on the market right now. This up-and-coming brand prides itself on crafting quality pieces with ethical business practices, providing fair wages, and minimizing its carbon footprint. (This specific piece was made in Romania in a solar-powered facility.) Made by women for women, the Arizona jacket has subtle tailoring that adds a gentle feminine touch to their leather jackets. The collar gently frames the face, while four round buttons endearingly hold the jacket together. The same buttons can be found on the cuffs of the sleeves as well, and two front pockets allow you to rest your hands in them. Without being too boxy, the jacket has a straight-cut appeal, inspired by a 70s heritage style. Flared jeans would pair well with this jacket. Unfortunately, it’s unclear what their return policy is. You will have to contact the brand directly to find out. Price at time of publish: $498 Size: XS-XL | Color: 1 | Material: Polyurethane faux suede, polyester | Fit: Regular Fit Best Motorcycle Madewell Washed Leather Motorcycle Jacket Madewell View On Madewell.com What We Love: Rather than a smooth leather, it has a mild roughness to it that feels lived in and natural.What We Don’t Love: It runs a little small, so if you hope to wear chunky knits underneath, size up. Made of real leather, this Madewell motorcycle jacket has a lived-in texture that almost looks vintage, especially when you add on the classic silver zips on the front and sleeves and extended collar. Yes, it’s on the pricier side, but that’s expected when you’re working with animal products. On the other hand, you are gaining a piece that will last you a lifetime. It will only gain value as you live through this piece, never having to worry about it breaking down. The reviews quite literally rave about how incredible this looks and feels, vouching that no other motorcycle jacket compares. Due to the fact that it doesn’t look too glossy or polished, you can easily wear it as an everyday piece, too. Throw it on no matter what the occasion, and watch as you slowly neglect every other jacket in your closet. Some comments do point out that it runs a little small, so size up if you hope to layer sweaters underneath. Price at time of publish: $525 Size: XXS-XXL, petit, standard, plus | Color: 5 | Material: Leather | Fit: Regular Fit Best Bomber Banana Republic Leather Bomber Jacket Banana Republic View On Gapfactory.com What We Love: The sherpa collar adds a unique and feminine touch to the bomber jacket.What We Don’t Love: It’s a slim fit, so for a true “bomber” aesthetic you will need to size up. Another fantastic 100 percent leather option, this bomber jacket from Banana Republic has that old-school aesthetic. But rather than being oversized, which tends to be the default for brands creating vintage-like pieces, it sits close to your body with sleeves that crop just at your wrists. Both the cuffs and hem end in a ribbed knit, too, for an athletic touch. Big minimalist pockets are found at the front as well, which feed into the bomber aesthetic. But perhaps the winning point lies in the sherpa collar — it’s that one feminine touch that really brings this piece together and makes it stand out. Naturally, if you wish for a looser, oversized fit, we recommend sizing up. If biker jackets aren’t really your style, but you still want something leather, this is a fantastic alternative. Price at time of publish: $555 Size: XXS-XL | Color: 1 | Material: Leather, polyester sherpa collar | Fit: Slim Fit Abercrombie & Fitch Vegan Leather Trench Coat View On Abercrombie.com What We Love: It’s long enough to cover those long sweaters that go past your hips.What We Don’t Love: It runs big. This trench made from vegan leather looks as tailored as a typical trench is, but it also features additional, subtle details, like matte stitching and buttons, that give this trench an upscale feel. But aside from being attractive, the material is also water-resistant to keep you dry in any weather. It does have a belt to cinch in the waist as most trenches do, but it still runs a bit large, especially in the shoulders, prompting a lot of reviewers to size down. However, the roominess will make it easy to layer any knits underneath. We suggest wearing this with a turtleneck and dark-wash jeans to keep with the sleek look. Price at time of publish: $200 Size: XXS-XL | Color: 3 | Material: Polyurethane, polyester, | Fit: Slim Fit Best Cropped AllSaints Elora Leather Biker Jacket AllSaints View On Allsaints.com What We Love: There’s an endearing little ticket pocket on the right side of the jacket.What We Don’t Love: It’s a slim fit and won’t allow you to layer chunky knits underneath. You can add a little edge to your closet by opting for a cropped biker jacket. Made of lamb leather, this is another piece that will stand the test of time. This one comes with gold zips, rather than the classic silver, and has a little ticket pocket on the right side of the jacket. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of space to rest your hands in the two full-sized pockets on each side. The sleeves are also cut short, ending just around your wrists. Overall, it has a slim fit and is intended to sit close to your body. You won’t have much room to layer chunky knits underneath, but it’s ideal for a spring or fall dress or high-waisted jeans. Price at time of publish: $499 Size: 0-12 | Color: 1 | Material: Lamb leather, recycled polyester| Fit: Slim Fit Best Embroidered Free People Christy Moto Jacket Free People View On Freepeople.com What We Love: It has a lower price point for something that is real lambskin leather.What We Don’t Love: It runs extremely small, so size up for a better fit. Are you ready for the rodeo? Because this jacket sure is. The classic moto silhouette features 11 stars embroidered on the back in various sizes (and that come in seven different colors), giving it an unmistakable western and Americana appeal that has us even considering swapping our polished loafers for some cowboy boots. Even though it’s made of real lambskin, compared to other options on this list, it comes at a lower price point, allowing more people to get in on the trend. Aside from the embroidery, though, the jacket features other various eye-catching accents, like a red fabric lining inside the pockets, zipped cuffs, and two buckle belts. We wouldn’t be surprised if we caught Lana Del Rey wearing this exact jacket. Just know that it runs quite small, with almost all the reviews pointing out that they’ve needed to size up. Make sure to get a larger size from the get-go to avoid any returns and exchanges. Price at time of publish: $298 Size: S-XL | Color: 5 | Material: Lambskin, recycled polyester | Fit: Slim Fit Best Fringe Free People Understated Leather Mustang Jacket Free People View On Freepeople.com What We Love: The suede finish looks and feels luxurious.What We Don’t Love: There is a lot of fringe, which may not be to everyone’s liking. Okay, say, the cowboy boots have been purchased, and we have added a cowboy hat to the shopping cart as well. The only thing left to do is snag this fringed leather mustang jacket and go bull riding. Made of 100 percent real leather, this fringed jacket has a suede finish, mildly cropped hem, and slim sleeves. You can button it all the way up — although the boxy cut will leave some room for air to seep in from under. Throughout the front, back, and sleeves, fringe details are sewn all around. Yes, for some that can feel like too much, but you know what you sign up for when you purchase this coat. And Free People has plenty other leather jacket options with less fringe, such as just on the sleeves or only around your chest and back, if you prefer something a little more toned down. Although we think, if you’re going to get fringed, why not go all in? Price at time of publish: $493 Size: XS-XL | Color: 2 | Material: Leather | Fit: Regular Fit Best Fur-Trimmed Mongolian Fur Trim Faux Leather Jacket Nasty Gal View On Nastygal.com What We Love: It’s made for party girls.What We Don’t Love: The fuzzy cuffs can be difficult to keep clean. First popularized by Scandi label Saks Potts — and worn by everyone from Cardi B to Copenhagen’s Emili Sindlev — this saccharine style is an antidote to rough ’n’ ready biker styles. The boxy silhouette and utilitarian patch pockets balance the fluffy trim and Parma Violet hue. Perfect for the party season (which will come around quicker than you think), this bank-friendly vegan doppelganger to the Danish staple is just so joyful. “I wear my leather jackets with everything and I mean everything but my favorite way is to wear an oversized leather jacket with a mini skirt and knee-high boots,” says Langas — we can't think of a better jacket for date-night dressing. Price at time of publish: $101 Size: US 0-14 | Color: Lilac | Material: Faux Leather | Fit: Regular Fit Best Belted Nanushka Belted OKOBOR Alt-Leather Padded Jacket Nanushka View On Nanushka.com What We Love: It’s the best vegan alternative on the market. What We Don’t Love: We’d love to see this style in black as well. Padded jackets have been trending for a couple of years, which proves they have staying power. Plus, they’re perfect for cooler months and occasions when you don’t want to get bundled up in layers. Nanushka has been the editor’s go-to for years, and thanks to the label's pioneering approach to cruelty-free fabrics, they’ve gained a loyal following amongst stylish circles. “I love Nanushka for their vegan leather styles. I bought a vegan leather puffer in their sale a few months ago, and I know I'll wear it for years to come,” says Hughes. Crafted from pillowy OKOBOR — a fabric exclusive to the brand — this relaxed jacket hits just above the knees and fastens with a D-ring waist belt that interrupts the otherwise streamlined silhouette. “Nanushka shows that faux material can be just like the real thing,” adds Bellot. Price at time of publish: $540 Size: XXS-XL | Color: Cream, Brown | Material: OKOBOR | Fit: Relaxed Fit Best Puffer S.E.B. by SEBBY Vegan Faux Leather Puffer Jacket Target View On Target What We Love: You can machine wash it.What We Don’t Love: The pockets aren’t very deep, so you’ll want to take a bag for your phone and keys. “I always opt for a padded leather jacket to keep me cozy in cold temperatures,” says Bellot, speaking to the enduring puffy outerwear trend. With an elasticated hem to enhance the snug shape, this version is taffeta lined for comfort and padded with faux down to counter cooling temperatures. You can balance the oversized proportions with a pair of slim pants or, for a retro mood, layer yours over a pair of jeans and a nice top. “In LA, it can get chilly at night so in the summer I'd pair my leather jacket with a white tube top, cut-off denim shorts, and black strappy heels if I'm going to go out at night,” says model and body positive influencer Raenn Langas. Make like Rae and add a pair of black shades to dial up the rock’n’roll attitude. Price at time of publish: $60 Size: XS-XXL | Color: Black, Dark Brown | Material: Polyester | Fit: Contemporary Fit Best Vintage Urban Renewal Vintage Leather Trench Jacket Urban Outfitters View On Urban Outfitters What We Love: It’s authentically vintage.What We Don’t Love: The sizing is limited. “Oversized, slightly distressed styles give the 'stolen from my partner' effect, a look that will never lose its appeal as trends come and go,” says fashion editor Carmen Bellot, and Urban Outfitters' one-of-a-kind style exudes low-key cool. Part of the brand’s Urban Renewal range, each piece is hand sourced by a dedicated team across the globe, meaning every style in the limited supply is unique - plus you're helping to prevent clothes from ending up in landfills. Hitting mid-calf, this longline silhouette suits most body types and can be dressed up or down depending on your mood. Bellot suggests layering chunky knits underneath when winter comes around. Price at time of publish: $159 Size: S, M, L | Color: Black | Material: Leather | Fit: Each piece is unique and the one you receive will vary from what you see on the website What to Keep in Mind Price “My first faux leather jacket was a super affordable option from PrettyLittleThing,” recalls model Kenna Sharp, and while the online retailer isn’t always synonymous with quality, there’s a lot to be said for ‘trying before you buy’ — well, kind of. No one wants to drop top dollar on a style they don’t know if they’ll still love in a year, so opting for wallet-friendly versions first is a handy way of testing out whether a style has staying power in your wardrobe. Then, if you do decide to invest, you’ll have another iteration that you can fall back on for occasions when you might not want to risk losing that $1800 Acne version in the cloakroom. (Readers, beware: this is a true story). With all things, you get what you pay for especially when it comes to real leather. A leather jacket isn’t going to go out of style but that doesn’t mean that all jackets will stand the test of time. For affordable options, Sharp recommends Wild Fable at Target and ASOS while Acne is unbeatable when it comes to quality. "AllSaints also have this cult status, but their price points are more accessible and produce their styles in a range of colors every season," adds Bellot. Color ‘Black’ and ‘leather’ go together like ‘90s Kate Moss and a leather jacket. It’s a true wardrobe failsafe that you can return to again and again as your style evolves. That’s not to say you should ignore the other options on offer — colored leather jackets are a great way of injecting fun into your wardrobe while still being versatile. To get the most wear out of yours, look at what’s already in your wardrobe. The aim is to hit the sweet spot between being different enough from your existing outerwear as to warrant a new addition while not being so far removed from your usual styles that it’ll be destined to see out its days at the back of the closet before being shuttled off to Goodwill. Clothes are quite literally made to be worn! Design “I will never tire of a classic, slightly boxy biker jacket. In black. It's a staple! Even better if it has lots of pockets, hidden and otherwise, which vintage styles often do,” says writer and retro fashion fan Natalie Hughes. While it’s easy to get swept away with the dizzying array of styles on offer, you want to look beyond what’s trending today. One of the best things about classic leather jackets is that they’re always in style, the same can’t be said for that acid-green snakeskin version — unless that’s part of your regular rotation. For true wardrobe versatility, you can’t go wrong with a trench jacket, biker, or bomber. Your Questions, Answered What is faux leather typically made of? “As technologies develop, faux leather is becoming an increasingly popular option if you're ethically opposed to the real iteration, some great brands are dominating the market,” advises Bellot, who lists fashion-favorites Nanushka and Stand Studio. The former formulate their own trademarked vegan alternatives blending polyurethane with recycled polyester. Polyester is the most common leather alternative but rarely in recycled form. The chemicals used to create faux versions can have a detrimental environmental impact so keep an eye out for certified iterations, like Zara’s The Green to Wear 2.0 standard or forest-friendly viscose. How do you style a leather jacket? “When I'm unsure on how to spice up a seemingly plain outfit, I always throw on a leather jacket. It instantly gives your look a bit of edge with minimal effort,” says Bellot, who layers hers over feminine dresses with sandals or pumps on summer evenings; “pairing traditionally masculine pieces with feminine ones is a great ensemble.” Thanks to their timelessness, leather jackets have almost become neutral, meaning you can dress them up or down depending on your mood. Hughes agrees; “I think a leather jacket goes with virtually every outfit. But my favorite way to style mine is with a simple white tee, tailored trousers and dad sandals, or thrown over a vintage floral dress.” What’s the best way to care for a leather jacket, real or faux? “I don't do anything special, other than keep them safely stowed away on hangers in my wardrobe when not in use — never on a hook, which can pull them out of shape,” says Hughes, who, as a vintage aficionado, likes that worn-in look. “I like it when they get worn in and scuffed – I think it only adds to their charm,” she notes. Ultimately, every leather jacket is different and it’ll depend on their fabrication, construction, and age, especially if you’re buying vintage or second hand from sites like Vestiaire or Vinted. Follow the care instructions, especially when cleaning — real versions will benefit from a specialized leather cleaner — and invest in some garment bags to separate your leather jacket from other items. Colored versions can rub off if they’re pressed up against other garments, so it’s best practice to store things separately. Why Trust InStyle Mischa Smith is a freelance Commerce Writer for InStyle, where she covers fashion, drawing on her experience as a Womenswear Editor at luxury retailer Harvey Nichols. Here she covered trends and global fashion weeks. Mischa owned her first leather jacket at age one and has since amassed an ever-growing selection, including a questionable paisley-lined fringed motorcycle jacket bought on London’s Camden Market.