From biker to business: how to rock a leather jacket

In the years to come, our descendants will exclaim in wonder at the lasting legacy of the cool leather coat. It's the Easy Rider symbol for all rebels, bikers, rock stars, punks, metalheads, modern day warriors and even the police.

In the 20th century the leather jacket achieved iconic status thanks to its presence in popular culture. Remember the Perfecto motorcycle jacket worn by Marlon Brando's Johnny Strabler in The Wild One? Or how about The Fonz's 'greaser' jacket in the television series Happy Days? It's achieved such heights of notoriety that it's housed in the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Then there's Blade. No one yet has carried off the Matrix-length leather jacket as well as Wesley Snipes, not even Steven Seagal in his custom three-quarter length leather trench coat.

Coloured in

When it comes to colour, it doesn't always have to be black. Today's ateliers have put in enormous efforts to bring an attractive and versatile choice of colour to the leather jacket.

The brown leather jacket has also been a de rigueur part of the wardrobe of a Hollywood adventurer, from Gary Cooper in For Whom the Bell Tolls to Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones.

In particular, the tan leather jacket has become popular with images of Brit Pop and indie music and is famously worn by people such as Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics.

The punk subculture also "rocks" the leather jacket with accessories such as chains, studs, cuts, and sketch designs. Many metalheads go with the Judas Priest look (black leather jacket, black leather pants, chains, and tons of studs.)

Skin tight

There is a substantial difference between leather jackets designed for fashion and those worn for protection (a la motorcycle riding). Fashion leather jackets are not likely to be of much use in a motorcycle accident due to their light construction, so be careful when choosing to match your Ducati.

Every man ought to invest in a great leather jacket and while you may not be necessarily be channeling the Black Panthers, the Ramones, the Libertines or trying to masquerade as a member of a heavy metal subcultures. You'll appreciate the cool class that a well fitted, excellently cut leather jacket will add to your physique.


Here's three ways to wear one.

Rebel, rebel

Pull on a pair of skinny jeans, throw a bold graphic tee on top (preferably by Def Leppard) and slip on destroyed Converse, Golden Goose or Superga sneakers; simple, effective and always cool. Many other jackets in this genre feature studs and two-tone leather panels, heavy embellishment and the latest dye-cut leather panels.

Weekend warrior

Start with a checked casual button down shirt. You can choose to open your shirt over a plain tee or keep it buttoned up, both work just as well. Jeans – blue or black to provide a dark contrast for the checked shirt and then the leather jacket thrown over it all. If it's cold, a scarf will add some panache to the finished look.

Slim jeans are a must but they shouldn't be spray-on skinny in this instance. Tuck them into a military boot but want to keep some width in the leg for that military/worker vibe as opposed to rocker.

Dangerously dapper

Start with a great pair of smart slim fitting trousers. Then an antiqued formal shoe followed by a light piece of knitwear or a buttoned up shirt (to the collar) and then the leather jacket over the top. You can layer up the look with knitwear if you want. The options are there for you to play with to create your look finishing with a modern pair of wayfarers.

Scroll through the gallery at the top to see some of the most luxurious men's leather jackets.

Experience within retail trend analysis companies has earned Louise Edmonds cred in the luxury menswear sector. The founder of utilises her passion and understanding of fashion to deliver a fresh, edgy take on men's style.