Men had been wrapping themselves in animal skins for centuries before World War I fighter aces devised the leather jacket as a way to combat freezing temperatures at high altitude. Over the years, the pilot's necessity became a mark of rebellion for bikers and a statement piece for ascendant rock stars.
RELATED: Build Your Look From the Ground Up (Video)
These days, a leather jacket is no longer a specific signifier, which means that every man can have one and wear it every day – it is, after all, one of the most versatile pieces of outerwear available. Throw it over a T-shirt and or dress it up with a tie. The options are myriad and it's hard not to look slick.
Still, with countless menswear companies making hundreds of different models in a variety of cuts, actually buying a leather jacket can be quite complicated. But it doesn't have to be. Follow these steps to find a jacket that will fit your torso and your personality.
Check out: J.Crew Stockton Racer.
Don't let the strategic distressing or patina fool you – the Stockton Racer means business. Constructed from tough-as-hell oiled Italian leather, the motocross-style jacket will withstand brutal beatings from the elements and asphalt alike. That thick leather also means a longer break-in time, so don’t be surprised if you have to spend a couple of weeks flexing your arms in order for it to feel familiar. [$895; JCrew.com]
Credit: Courtesy J. Crew