The Top 6 Vintage Leather Jacket Styles
There’s a reason leather jackets have never gone out of style. You simply can’t improve on a classic. The original vintage styles have barely even changed since they first hit the streets (or the air).
Here's the lowdown on the top vintage leather jacket styles
Originally designed as protective outerwear for airforce pilots and bikers, leather jackets started out being worn by tough guys, with tough jobs and good tales. It’s no wonder they became associated with a level of effortlessly cool.
From bombers to bikers and the high fashion styles that came after, leather jackets have been iconic in fashion every decade. From rebellious youth subcultures, to modern sleek fashion looks.
Let’s take a look at the top styles of vintage leather jackets:
1. Vintage Leather Bomber Jackets
A true classic and one of the first styles of leather jackets is the bomber jacket.
Originally designed for military pilots, it provided protection, while the roomy fit offered enough freedom of movement in the cockpit.
Baggy sleeves and a baggy body were cinched in with ribbed cuffs at the wrist and waist to keep out the chill.
But when it comes to leather bomber jackets, we have to talk about the 80s. Nothing fits the silhouette of the decade better than the bomber. Everything was big on top, and of course, the 80s revved it up a few notches.
The 80s leather bomber jackets were extra baggy, and extra cropped for the puffiest bomber shape. With shoulder pads for even more oomph to the volume up top.
The 80s love of bomber jackets was boosted by movies like Top Gun. Paired with rolled-up acid wash jeans and high-top sneakers, they’d be thrown over a casual outfit for the effortless “I borrowed my dad’s old flight jacket” vibe.
Features of leather bomber jackets:
- Tight or cuffed wrists and waist
- Roomy body and sleeves
- Flap pockets
2. Vintage Leather Biker Jackets
The biker jacket is the next classic.
Like the name suggests, the biker jacket was created for protection on motorbikes, eventually catching on in youth subcultures as a rebelious style.
Biker jackets are studded with zips and large lapels.
Then punk subculture of the 70s made its way into the fashion trends in the 80s. No longer just worn for alt fashion, artists like Madona brought the studded biker into mainstream pop fashion.
Helped by the 50s revival from the love of movies like Greece, everyone wanted to be a T-bird in a cool leather jacket.
80s leather biker jackets were cropped and often studded or in bright colors, like red or royal blue.
Features of leather biker jackets:
- Diagonal zipper
- Wide lapels
- Zip pockets
- Belts and studs
3. Vintage Aviator jackets
Also known as lammy coats, flight jackets, shearling or sheepskin coats.
The father of the bomber jacket, the aviator was also a style of leather jacket created for pilots to keep warm in open cockpit planes. They were longer than bombers and lined with shearling, fleece, or fur to keep warm.
Aviator jackets have been loved for this nostalgic aesthetic through every decade without ever changing much in their design.
Features of aviator jackets:
- Suede or leather outer
- Shearling, fleece or fur lining
- Lining extends to the collar, cuffs or waist
- Large collar that can be zipped or buttoned up to the neck
- Large open pockets
4. 70s Long Vintage Leather Coats
Moving into the sleek modern styles of vintage leather jackets, with the long leather coat.
In the 70s, leather jackets took a turn towards the sophisticated side of fashion. No longer just for bikers and punks, leather jackets got a smart makeover.
Blazers, suit-style jackets, and long belted leather trench coats were worn by men and women. Immortalized as a cool guy look by iconic 70s detective characters like Starsky and Hutch and Shaft, the long leather coat has even swished it's way into the 70s-inspired wardrobe of the current Doctor Who.
Features of 70s leather coats:
- Big lapels
- Button up front
- Belted waists
- No zips
5. 90s Vintage Leather Jackets
The 90s were the highlight of leather jacket minimalism.
The love of straight, long, black leather jackets peaked in 1999 with The Matrix movie. But before that, super sleek black leather jackets were seen all over tv characters, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to every character in Friends.
Features of 90s leather jackets:
- Sleek, straight styles
- Simple pockets, or no pockets
- Black, black and black.
6. Vintage Leather Moto Jackets
The modern take on the biker that became popular in the 00s
Moto jackets were designed for the motocross sport of off-road racing. They're all about protection, but with a sleeker style than the oldschool biker jackets. What they lack in fixtures, they make up for in stand-out designs from racing stripes to logos.
Worn by 00s pop culture characters from House to Tyler Durden in Fight Club (but we don’t talk about Fight Club).
Features of leather moto jackets:
- Fitted design
- Padded shoulders and arms
- Band collar
- Racing stripes
- Logos or brand name features
- Zip pockets
Where can you buy vintage leather jackets?
- If you’re feeling inspired from our rundown on the top styles of vintage leather jackets, check out our online collection.
Our collection of vintage leather jackets are hand-picked by experts to bring you the best styles, with the original vintage quality and design.