Leather is a durable, flexible, and luxurious material used for many applications, from accessories to upholstery. The most varied use for leather is in clothing, which is not only warm and sumptuous but fashionable as well. I will take on a journey into the world of leather clothing.
Leather clothing is a garment worn on the body and made out of natural and synthetic leather material. Often created from animal hides, leather has been used for making clothing to protect the body from harsh climates since the Ice Ages and is still popular today for fashion and functionality.
Have you ever wondered what types of leather clothing exist besides jackets? Are you looking for just the right leather clothing for work, home, or play? Leather clothing can provide your wardrobe with a durable yet comfortable style.
What is Leather Clothing
Leather clothing is anything worn on the body made from natural or synthetic leather material. This can range from hats and jackets to skirts and shoes. Leather clothing is often made from cowhide but can also come from sheep, lamb, pigs, and even more exotic species like stingrays.
History of Leather Clothing
Leather clothing has been around for several centuries and has seen many improvements in processing, tanning, and production by machines. There is evidence that leather was used as protection for the body and feet during the Ice Age; however, there were no preservation processes then.
Starting around 5,000 BC, animal skins were dried in the sun, pounded in fats to soften, and salted and smoked to preserve the leather. The vegetable tanning process started in Egypt around 400 BC, contributing to the tanning process used today. However, it was not until the mid-1800s that leather processing machines were created to begin automating leather accessory and clothing making.
Although leather clothing history dates back a long time, according to researcher Islam of the Bangladesh technical education board, there is room for improvement in market exploration, certification, workforce engagement, and waste management in leather technology.
Leather clothing is very durable, ages well, is easy to repair if damage occurs, and is comfortable.
Types and Styles of Leather Clothing
Crafter's Notes - Free
Receive my periodic Crafter’s Notes with tools and tips. Download these free leather guides with signup.
There are many different leather clothing types and styles — far too many to include in this article alone! So let’s look at a few more common leather clothing items to give you an idea of what’s out there.
Anyone who works in a formal office will have a collection of ties, but one that stands out from the rest is the leather tie. It’s tied in the same manner as a fabric tie and is available in many colors, patterns, hides, and sizes. A leather tie will last much longer than your standard business tie.
For the person looking for a different type of tie, there’s the leather bolo tie. Also called a shoestring necktie, this leather cord or braid has aiguillettes (metal tips) and a fancy clasp. Bolo ties are popular in Western wear; in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, it is the official neckwear.
A blazer is a casual suit jacket often worn in business offices and other work settings: however, the leather blazer is a bold statement in any environment. It can turn any conservative outfit into an exciting and edgy ensemble. And for a bonus — it lasts a long time and will never go out of style!
Leather Jacket Patches
Whether made of embroidered fabric or leather, jacket patches add a personal touch to any jacket or vest. There are leather jacket patches for every enthusiast, including:
- Freedom lovers
- Armed force members
- Fans of bands
- Other group members
Leather Trench Coat
Leather trench coats are a classic look to keep you warm and fashionable simultaneously. These come in many different colors and finishes, all with the same benefits. A leather trench coat is considered a grown-up biker jacket and a bold fashion statement.
Leather buttons are a great way to amp up the style of any jacket, shirt, coat, suit, and more. Leather is highly durable, making them a great addition to clothing. These come in several different styles, finishes, and patterns for anyone who desires that creative leather touch.
Leather pants or trousers are another classic look for work, a night out on the town, or a fancy dinner party. These are available at several different prices, making them a fashionable choice on almost any budget. Leather pants should be snug yet comfortable and are easy to dress up or down.
Leather kilts are worn by artisans, Scottish men, cosplayers, and more. This is a fashionable and functional piece of leather clothing worn by men and women year-round in some areas of the world. Leather kilts are a bold look for anyone — casual or on the job.
Faux Leather Leggings
Faux leather leggings are a comfortable way to dress glamourous any day of the week. They’re reasonably priced and look much like the real thing, with many finishes, colors, and fits. Faux leather leggings are fashionable and can be dressed up or down.
Leather chaps are great for riding motorcycles, riding horses, and protecting yourself from cold and wind. They can be worn with purpose or out on the town. Leather chaps come in dark and light colors, even with reflective designs for nighttime riding. Fitted or loose, fringed or flap, leather chaps are durable and look great on men and women.
For a truly glamorous and head-turning look, there is the leather dress. Form-fitting or loose, with or without sleeves or straps, long or short, leather dresses offer many different looks to flatter any woman. Many different shades are also available, making them easy to glam up for a cocktail party or keep lower-key and classy for a day at the office.
Get a head start with my personal knowledge program and enjoy crafting more today.
Leather masks are leather face coverings used for protection and style and are available in many options, including costume, cosplay, and party. Leather masks can include coverings for the mouth and nose while riding a motorcycle, masks for the eyes (with and without ears), and even full head covers. There are even masquerade-style eye masks in beautifully tooled leather.
Leather Fire Helmets
Leather fire helmets offer better protection to firefighters than the standard-issue plastic helmet. These are not only more resistant to heat and flame but are better fitted and more durable. Leather fire helmets are key to keeping first responders safe in treacherous situations.
Leather Work Gloves
Leather work gloves are made strong and durable to protect hands during gardening, masonry work, carpentry, electrical work, and much more. They’re thick and flexible, resistant to temperature and rough or sharp surfaces, and can be depended upon to keep your hands safe for many years.
Originally used to keep shirt sleeves clean, leather cuffs are wristbands made of genuine or synthetic leather and can be feminine or masculine. Leather cuffs make beautifully embroidered pieces of jewelry to make a fashion statement or can serve as durable protection for the wrists.
Leather gauntlets are durable leather garments that cover the hand, wrist, and part of the lower arm. Originally used for protection in combat, leather gauntlets are worn by crafters, merchants, and those working with hazardous materials or in dangerous weather. They can also be worn for style and come in various types with laces, buckles, and finger covers. They’re great for cosplay, costume parties, or even fashion accessories.
Leather aprons are made for frontal protection from heat, sparks, sharp objects, and more and cover the upper chest to the mid-thigh or beyond. Some have pockets for tools or glove storage, but all are sturdy and durable to last a long time. Leather aprons help keep your clothes clean and your body safe while cooking, welding, grilling, and more.
Leather armor was once the primary mode of protection for battle in medieval times. Leather armor consisted of gorgets that protect the chest and shoulders, gauntlets, faulds for the midsection and thighs, and greaves for the legs. Leather armor is more flexible, providing protection and agility.
Leather suspenders are not just for holding your pants up — they’re also a fashion accessory. These come in several colors and styles, with buckles or slides, and add a unique flair to any outfit. They can be tooled or embroidered, personalized and functional as they can be used for workwear, emergency responder uniforms, and more.
A leather jerkin is a sleeveless outer garment worn with a doublet in the late 16th century. Leather jerkins were worn for hunting, swashbuckling, and as armor. It works as a jacket and can be worn for cosplay or as a fashion statement.
Leather Tool Belt
Leather tool belts are a handy accessory for the weekend warrior, contractor, do-it-yourselfer, or handyman. These offer pockets, pouches, belt clips, carabiners, and other options to carry your tools right at your sides. Everything is within reach at your workbench or on the top of a ladder.
Pros and Cons of Wearing Leather Clothing
Pros of Leather Clothing
Leather clothing is very durable, ages well, is easy to repair if damage occurs, and is comfortable. It will keep you warm in cold weather, is easy to clean, and is resistant to spills and stains. Leather clothing is also recyclable.
Cons of Leather Clothing
Leather clothing can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations, too much sunlight (with some finishes), and excess moisture. Leather clothing starts stiff when it’s brand new, and if not fitted correctly, it can develop baggy spots (like the knees in pants and leggings). Leather clothing can also be expensive.
Characteristics of Leather Clothing
Leather clothing material can be manufactured or made from animal hides. It is soft, luxurious, and durable enough to resist punctures, tears, and rips, yet comfortable.
Leather clothing comes in multiple sizes from XS-XXXL, 0–24, and even body-specific measurements for shoulders, bust, waist, and hip.
Variations of leather clothing include:
- Tight fitting or loose.
Leather clothing finishes include:
- Dry milled
- Antiqued grain.
How Leather Clothing Is Made
Leather from animal hides goes through several processes to become leather clothing. It begins with cleaning and removing hair. The leather is then treated and tanned for preservation and color. The tanning process also makes leather durable and sewable.
The leather material is trimmed into shapes, stitched together using patterns and sewing machines (sometimes by hand), then other materials like insulation or liners may be added. Once this is completed, the leather clothing is cleaned and inspected in preparation for shipping to stores.
Cost of Leather Clothing
Leather clothing costs depends on various factors, from quality to size. A leather tie will be cheaper than a leather jacket, for example. The more leather material is involved in the clothing, in general the more expensive the item will be.
The higher the quality of leather, like genuine leather, the more expensive it will be. Brand name also plays a factor in price. For example, a men’s leather jacket can range from $25 from Maxam to $2,995 from Overland. Women’s leather pants range from $16 from Mercari to $1,800 from Nordstrom.
Tips for Choosing Leather Clothing
Leather is an investment, and for the best purchase there are a few tips to help you choose the right leather clothing.
- Choose genuine leather for the highest quality.
- Look for uniformity in colors and finishes.
- Get measured! Find well-fitting jackets, blazers, and pants with the correct dimensions for your body.
- Choose the right fit. Some leather clothing items should be snug, like a second skin, but not tight. Some should be loose but not swallow you up.
The Most Popular Leather Clothing Items
I surveyed many friends and family regarding their usage of leather clothing and asked what their favorite articles of leather clothing were. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll about popular leather clothing.
|Leather Clothing Item||Times Selected|
Leather Clothing Care and Maintenance
How to Clean Leather Clothing
Leather clothing can be cleaned using a soft dry brush, vacuum on a light suction, or soft cloth. Non-absorbent leather clothing can be spot-cleaned using a leather cleaner with a microfiber towel. Test any cleaning products in an inconspicuous area for colorfastness.
How to Maintain Leather Clothing
Proper maintenance of leather clothing includes cleaning and conditioning with the right products. Protect leather from moisture and spills, and clean up spills immediately to prevent stains and mold. Condition the leather periodically to keep it looking supple.
How to Store Leather Clothing
Leather clothing should be stored in a cool, dry place away from temperature extremes and moisture. Prevent dust accumulation by covering it with a garment bag or box. Take leather clothing out periodically to clean and condition.
Check out this helpful video to learn five ways to wear leather to incorporate into your wardrobe for a simple and classic look.
Is Zara leather real?
Most leather options on Zara are faux leather, with a handful of genuine leather options.
Why is leather good for clothing?
Leather is good for clothing because it is soft, warm, flexible, durable, and long-lasting.
What are some disadvantages of leather?
Some disadvantages of leather include the high price, proper cleaning is required, it can stretch, and it starts a bit stiff in some cases.
Why is leather considered a luxury?
Leather is a luxury because it comes from animal hides, sometimes exotic animals. Producing, tanning, and preserving leather is lengthy and sometimes only done by hand.
Is leather still popular?
Leather is still popular because it is luxurious, durable, and fashionable. It never goes out of style!
Leather clothing has been around for a long time and never seems to go out of style. Whether for fashion or function, leather clothing is an investment that can last for a lifetime or more. With so many varieties of leather clothing out there, you could wear leather from your head to your toes! And don’t worry — if you’re animal friendly, there are plenty of faux options as well.
- Vintage Leather Jacket – Become a Pro Know What To Look For
- Bolo Tie – Guide to History, Style, Options, and Fit
- Leather Blazer – Your Guide to Bold and Traditional Style
- Leather Pants – Guide to Style, Fit, Care, and Designers
- Leather Dress – Guide to Styles, Types, Fit, and Material
- A Guide to Leather Mask Styles, Fit, Uses, and Fashion
- Choosing The Right Leather Tie – Style for Any Occasion
- Leather Apron – What to Look For and When to Use Them
- Guide to Leather Tool Belt Types, Fit, and Quality