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What Does a Leather Jacket Say About You?

by Samara Morris

Leather jackets became popular in the early 1900s, primarily worn by aviators and military members.

One of the first modern leather jackets, the type A1, was created by Chapel in 1925. The jacket later became known as bomber jackets, heavily insulated and praised for their warmth. For many, the leather jacket is a style symbol, worn between the cold and hot seasons, such as in spring and fall. The 1978 musical "Grease" played a role in solidifying the leather jacket, with main characters sporting this military wear as part of their casual attire.


The song "We Go Together" showcases the men in the movie wearing their versions of the leather jacket, looking quite appealing. When I first saw that movie as an adolescent, I easily associated the leather jacket with being cool, popular, and stylish. As time went on and I went to college, I started shopping for leather jackets and bombers. I never owned a winter coat past the age of 15 until I turned 30. It was always bombers and jackets for me, and yes, it came with consequences.


But, I dealt with it since it meant my outfits were never hidden, and I could rock something cute and hip. In 2024, wearing anything leather is considered expensive, unless it's faux leather. Don't get me wrong; leather has always been a symbol of opulence, but now more than ever, it has become cheapened because celebrities sell fake leather for an obscene amount of money.


Genuine leather is used in multiple industries such as shoes, clothes, garments, furniture, and much more. However, due to its high manufacturing cost, substitutes like PU or PVC are commonly used. PU leather is what cheap clothing stores usually use when making their leather goods. This is fine, but they charge over $200 for the items. Places like Zara and now Khy by Kylie Jenner are infamous for this.


I loved purchasing my leather goods from Zara; I remember getting at least four leather jackets that I knew were fake leather, but I spent over $600 acquiring those items. Fast forward a few years, and now I'm sweeping up pieces of my jacket off the ground or, in another instance, at a restaurant and saw pieces of my jacket falling into the food. Don't get me wrong; I know it's fake, but if I had known then what I know now, I certainly would not have spent so much on them.


PVC has fallen out of fashion for clothing because it's essentially plastic. It's designed to look like real leather, but the surface of the synthetic leather is uniform. It is different from PU leather because some types of faux leather are called bicast, meaning they have actual leather. Since bicast leather is partially made from natural leather, PU leather, though, is only made of artificial materials that do not have any real leather; it is vegan in a sense. So, what does your leather jacket say about you? Well, it depends.

Related articles: Best Winter Clothing

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REAL LEATHER

At its core, real leather comes from an animal hide. Leather can be made from the hides of pigs, sheep, goats, and crocodiles, but the most common is a cow. So, if you're someone who has to have real leather, more times than not, you're not conscious about the planet, and it's safe to say you're not an animal lover.


You like the finer things in life, and it doesn't matter who or what is hurt in the process, as long as your needs are met. You are your priority. Not only that, you have capital to squander, so you contribute to mass consumerism and would probably own a private jet to fly 3 miles to and from destinations emitting higher levels of greenhouse gases, contributing negatively to climate change.


PU LEATHER

This leather can be considered toxic and contains heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. You like the idea of looking stylish and trendy but on a budget and with little to no care about your overall health. These metals can be toxic to both humans and animals. Exposure to high levels can cause serious health issues, including neurological damage, kidney damage, and cancer.


This is mass-produced and affordable leather, but you want to be sure of this before purchasing it. For example, The Faux Leather Strapless Mini Dress from Khy by Kylie Jenner is 100% PU leather with 100% polyester lining and retails for $98/USD. You are being severely ripped off. The cost to manufacture this is anywhere from $6-$8, and a comfortable markup is around $15.99. If you spend money on this, not only are you bad with money, but you don't really care about the environment.


PVC LEATHER

Also known as Polyvinyl Chloride, it is less expensive and more widely available. This is typically what is used to imitate leather furniture and fashion—think of a knock-off LV bag. So, if you're someone who likes to dabble in fake retail for the sake of wearing a designer brand, then this is your ally, and you're not environmentally conscious, nor are you good with money. PVC manufacturing emits hazardous dioxins and employs extremely toxic chlorine, making it a very ecologically destructive material. Additionally, once discarded, the PVC is not biodegradable and will stay in the environment for thousands of years.


If you're going to spend money on genuine leather and a Birkin is out of your price range, you can look into bags from The Row, LUEQ\., and Coach.


ARE LEATHER JACKETS HOT ON GUYS?

Overall, whether you're a man or a woman interested in purchasing a leather jacket, you should always think about the pros and cons. I believe men look way hotter in a trench coat versus a leather jacket now that I'm an adult. In the past, sure, it was a staple among men because movies like 'Grease' made it worth having.


But now, when we think about climate change and the price tags placed on these items that are simply not worth it, it's a good idea to rethink some of your styling choices. Trenches such as The Metropolitan Trench (MSRP: $2,982.00) or Heritage Trench (MSRP: $4,630.00) for men are both items to consider from LUEQ\.

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