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How Should a Leather Jacket Fit? Quick Guide

When you invest in a leather jacket, first you want to be sure you’re getting a well-made jacket. Next, you want to be sure it fits properly. Do the same rules apply to how a leather jacket should fit as to other jackets or outerwear? Not necessarily. Read on for details.

No matter your age, style, or location, a leather jacket is a wardrobe essential. So, if you’re about to purchase one, you want to make sure it fits well.

How Should a Leather Jacket Fit?

Leather will stretch over time, so you never want to start with a leather jacket that is too big. But that obviously doesn’t mean you want a jacket that’s too small! It’s also important to allow room for layers under your leather jacket. Here are a few specific tips for finding a leather jacket that fits just right:


Suit coat rules do not apply to leather jackets, so it’s fine if the shoulder comes down your arm a few inches. However, even though the leather will give over time, if the shoulder seam is higher than your shoulder, the jacket is too small.



Leather jackets ought to fit a bit more snugly through the chest than a regular overcoat, but consider the types of layers you may want to wear underneath. Also, you should be able to comfortably zip or button your leather jacket all the way up, even if you plan to wear it open.



The bottom of your leather jacket should not reach below the bottom of your belt / top of your thigh. This is likely shorter than other overcoats you’ve owned, but unless you’re wearing a long leather trench coat, a leather jacket that hangs well below the belt is too big.



The proper sleeve length on a leather jacket is consistent with pretty much any jacket: sleeves should end at your wrist. Any shorter, and your underneath layers will stick out (unless those sleeves are too short as well, in which case you may really need to consider our lesson on measurements below). Sleeves that extend past your wrist give the appearance that you’re wearing a beloved hand-me-down from someone at least a size bigger than you.

black and white tape measurer for leather jackets

How to Properly Take Measurements for Sizing

If you’re shopping in person, you will obviously have the chance to try on different sizes and styles of leather jackets to get the perfect fit. But if you’re shopping online, as most of us do these days, you’ll want to know your measurements to help ensure a great fit. Keep in mind, however, those measurements will only be helpful if they are taken correctly. Here’s how to get accurate measurements for jacket sizing:



Do not use a metal tape measure. (Those are great for measuring flat surfaces; not so great for taking body measurements.) Also, don’t let the tape hang loose when you’re measuring, but avoid pulling the tape excessively tight as well.



For the chest measurement, ​​you will be measuring the full circumference of your chest. Begin with one end of the measuring tape at the fullest part of your chest. Then, keeping the tape level, wrap it around (under your armpits, around your shoulder blades, and back to the front) to get the measurement.



When measuring the waist, you will be measuring the full circumference of your natural waist. Note that your natural waist is below your rib cage and above your belly button. Many people erroneously measurebelow their belly button. (If you’re not sure exactly where to measure, bend to the side; your natural waistline is where the crease forms.) Like with the chest measurement, begin with one end of the measuring tape at the front, then keep the tape level as you circle your waist all the way back around to the front. (If you’re trying to get an accurate number, don’t suck in when you measure!)


4. MEASURE the sleeve length.

Accurately measuring sleeve length is tough to do by yourself, so ask someone to help with this one. This measurement includes more than just the length of your arm! Beginning with one end of the tape at the center of the top of your back (the middle of the base of the back of your neck), measure across to your shoulder and then down to your wrist. This entire length is your sleeve length measurement.

Now that you have your measurements in hand, check out our selection ofMEN'S LEATHER JACKETSall with sizing guides provided.

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