Leather jacket? High street? Huh? As bad an idea as buying a leather jacket on the high street sounds, not every man can, or wants to, spend upwards of half a grand on the likes of Schott, Belstaff or Saint Laurent. Plus, price and quality don’t always correlate: these five high street favourites are offering up top-grade hides without expecting you to swallow their hefty marketing costs.
Of Zara’s 15 autumn/winter 2016 leather and suede outerwear styles, just three are made from genuine leather. Which probably isn’t surprising for a brand that’s built its name on getting its goods from concept to clothes rail in less than a fortnight. Still, there’s plenty on offer here. Alongside faux leather and leather effect options in colours from black to burgundy, you’ll find a handful of 100 per cent lambskin and sheep leather styles cut in contemporary fits (and a few that look suspiciously similar to J.W. Anderson and Saint Laurent designs). Best for: Fashion-led styles that won’t cost the earth. How much? From £39.99 for faux leather styles; from £119 for genuine leather styles.
Take your leather jackets brown instead of black? Mango Man’s your, er, man. As a European-first brand, the Spanish retailer understands not every guy’s idea of a classic leather jacket is a black zip-covered biker. Here you’ll find leathers in versatile colours like brown, khaki, and navy – the kind that pair as well with a fine-gauge jumper, Oxford button-down and chinos as a tee and jeans. The best bit? Despite none of Mango Man’s jackets costing north of £200, they’re all made from genuine bovine, goat and sheep leather. No messing around. Best for: Colours that aren’t black; genuine leather at prices that can’t be beaten. How much? From £119.99.
The Scandi man’s choice, Danish label Selected Homme’s leather jackets are characteristically clean-lined. Which makes this brand’s wares – which are all black of course, in keeping with the Nordic penchant for minimalism – easy to style with everything from downtime pieces to tailoring. The quality’s top-notch, too. Made from aniline leather (a premium top-grain leather that develops a unique patina over time) each of Selected Homme’s pared-back jackets slowly moulds to its owner’s form, allowing you to pick up a unique piece for a lot less than the price of a bespoke suit. Best for: Top quality at low(ish) prices. How much? From £180.
The Reiss man is refined. Less punk, more polished, you’re more likely to see him mixing vodka martinis at an intimate dinner party than stage-diving into a pint-swilling crowd at a Fat White Family gig. The brand’s leathers reflect that fact. Sleek and almost severely minimal, they’re perfect for men who want to dress supervillain-sharp – all slim fits and subtle detailing. And what the collection lacks in breadth (Reiss currently offers just two styles, three colourways) it more than makes up for in the tailoring of its cuts and quality of its leathers: both styles are crafted from lamb leather so soft you won’t stop stroking it. Best for: Slick, slim-fitting styles in buttery-soft finishes. How much? From £395.
The daddy, the don, the sui generis high street leather jacket brand, AllSaints has become a byword for leather jackets since its launch in 1994, such is its incomparable knack for producing premium styles at pretty affordable prices. Sure, £300-odd might not seem the very definition of ‘affordable’, but cop a feel of an AllSaints jacket and you’ll be instantly convinced its leathers are worth the outlay. They’re made from 100 per cent lamb and sheep leather (which gives them their unbeatable handfeel) and often come ready-distressed – so you don’t have to spend years walking like a bouncer before getting that smooth, burnished finish. Best for: Choice; luxury styles at a fraction of luxury prices. How much? From £298.