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Leather jackets were first engineered to provide warmth in extreme temperatures during the early 1900s. Sometime between the World Wars and present day, the leather jacket switched from a battleground staple to bar counter staple. Early influencers like John Travolta’s Danny Zuko from Grease (you know he would’ve been posting thirst traps in 2022) made leather jackets the key to popularity—wearing a leather jacket was an easy way to look tough and intimidating. In years following, it became more of a wearable cool-girl staple, able to give any outfit a little added oomph. But are leather jackets still in style?
While the structure of a classic leather moto jacket has remained the same, wearing one today indicates that you’ve either been to the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, have a knack for vintage shopping or are still making the most of your college wardrobe. Now don’t get me wrong, I love shopping at Nordstrom and it’s one of my go-to sites and stores for restocking staples—and of course, leather jackets are always featured in their selection, because they’re a forever wardrobe basic. The problem is, you don’t always want to look basic while wearing one.
In my opinion, there are two main ways to keep a leather jacket looking fresh, but it all starts with getting the right jacket. Look to beloved sites like The Jacket Maker that offer lots of different high-quality leather jacket options to help you find the one that best fits in your wardrobe. Then, your first move is pairing it with all the hottest trends. By pairing a leather jacket with more current pieces (like this season’s It Bag) you’ll ensure that your faithful jacket remains fashionable.
The other way to keep a leather jacket from looking too basic is by following along with the jacket’s evolution. Like an old lover, the leather jacket is promising you that it’s changed—it’s not the same jacket it used to be! Unlike an old lover, it’s telling the truth. Leather jackets are still very much at the height of fashion because the shape of the jacket has evolved to include newer takes, while still retaining its original appeal.
Instead of zippers and studs, think quilted stitching and waist ties. Instead of short and fitted, think dramatic shapes like super-cropped or baggy and oversized. Better yet, consider the leather blazer a whole new iteration of leather jacket, with all of the edge but just a little more put-together flair! Different leather jacket styles will come and go in fashion, just the same as different styles of denim.
So with that said, the answer is yes: Leather jackets are still in style, so long as they’re styled correctly. And to help you out, you can look to street style and the runway for inspiration. Below, read on for the top 10 ways to style a leather jacket in 2022.
With a Girly Midi Skirt
Any edgy leather jacket style pairs well with a femme midi skirt for contrast. Look for a skirt with a ruffle or floral detail to help the more masc details of the jacket pop.
With a Turtleneck
A Moto jacket looks amazing with a turtleneck because it matches the outfit’s simplicity while adding an element of sophistication (and warmth!).
With a pair of Wide-Leg Trousers
The leather blazer came out in full force last year, and the look is still going strong. A leather blazer looks great with wide-leg trousers and will easily upgrade your work attire.
With Even More Leather
When in doubt, double down on your leather! Wearing head-to-toe leather is the equivalent of meeting the Canadian tuxedo’s cooler cousin. In this case, a classic jacket is swapped for a leather shacket and a light-toned bag is incorporated to break up the black.
With a Vest
Vests are one going to be one of the coolest layering pieces in 2022 and are a fun way to add an accent to your outfit. The vest can be leather, silk, beaded, or patterned—the choice is yours.
With Statement Shoes
A leather trench is the ultimate solution for when you can’t figure out what to wear and a leather jacket feels too casual. The outerwear is the outfit. Adding a fun pair of shoes will help you avoid any The Matrix comparisons.
With Printed Pants
If you’re feeling uninspired by your leather jacket, give a pair of printed pants some attention. They can be subtle, like the pinstripe pair above, or bright and bold. You don’t always have to go the denim route with moto jackets!
With a Lace Dress
Opposites attract—and that applies to leather and lace. A quilted leather jacket, shown here via Chanel, already softens the jacket’s structure, so continue to play into hardcore-feminine aesthetics by styling with a lacy shirt or dress.
With a Plaid Mini Skirt
An oversized leather jacket or blazer can be thrown over a plaid mini skirt for a daytime brunch or a night out. Look for a combination that has roughly the same hem length to create a satisfying balance.
With Jeans and a White Tee
Ah, a satisfying classic. The leather jacket, t-shirt and jeans combo will always be timeless (which is different than basic!).