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.
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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: Marc Jacobs's Thunder.
When you first strap on this glossy, slim-cut bomber, you might be floored to find out it's made of horsehide – the leather is stronger than three fingers of scotch but flexes like an Olympic gymnast. Made in Italy, the jacket also features a pair of front-facing oversize pockets – perfect for stashing sunglasses, cell phone, and maybe a flask. [$2,995; marcjacobs.com]
Credit: Courtesy Marc Jacobs