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10 best leather jackets for women that are a timeless wardrobe staple

Invest in a mainstay piece you’ll love coming back to year after year

Daisy Lester
Monday 16 May 2022 15:46 BST
Leather is firmly on the moodboard for 2022
Leather is firmly on the moodboard for 2022 (The Independent)

While once being synonymous with bikers and soldiers, leather jackets have since transcended their more practical roots to become a firm fixture of the tastemaker wardrobe.

This fashionable shift began in the 1950’s with big-screen swooners like Marlon Brando and James Deen, before morphing into the rock n’ roll crowd of the Sixties and Seventies, and finally the Britpop scene of the 1990’s. Now, leather jackets are just as at home on the catwalk as they are on a motorbike.

From Julia Fox and Kanye West’s top-to-toe leather look at Paris fashion week earlier this year, to the revival of leather trousers across the high street, leather is firmly on the moodboard for 2022. But despite the many takes on the trend, you just can’t beat an old-school jacket.

From classic biker styles, trench coats and bombers, to blazers, gilets and suede hybrids, there are myriad variations on the leather jacket. The best, however, have staying power in your wardrobe year after year and season upon season.

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How we tested

In our search for the crème de la crème of women’s leather jackets, we looked for classic pieces that retain all the signatures of a good biker jacket, as well as more interesting designs that offer a contemporary twist on the traditional style. Above all, we considered quality, value for money, durability, aesthetic and fit – seeking out styles for every budget and taste.

The best women’s leather jackets for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – AllSaints Billie oversized leather biker jacket: £399, Allsaints.com
  • Best belted leather jacket – Warehouse real leather button through belted jacket: £139, Warehousefashion.com 
  • Best cropped design – Mango leather-effect biker jacket: £59.99, Mango.com
  • Best for Nineties-style – Topshop faux leather zip up jacket, black: £42.50, Asos.com
  • Best fringed jacket – Nasty Gal fringe biker jacket: £167.20, Nastygal.com 
  • Best budget buy – New Look dark red leather-look biker jacket: £26.24, Newlook.com 
  • Best bomber jacket – Karen Millen leather bomber jacket: £209. Karenmillen.com
  • Best gilet – Topshop faux leather gilet: £39, Asos.com
  • Best suede and leather blend – Jigsaw Nakoa leather mix jacket: £320, Jigsaw-online.com
  • Best vintage-inspired design – Free People Christy moto jacket: £268, Freepeople.com

AllSaints Billie oversized leather biker jacket

allsaints .jpg

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

There is a reason why AllSaints is the place to go on the high street for top-quality and durable leather jackets. We particularly love the cool, oversized fit of the mid-range label’s Billie jacket. Crafted from smooth leather, the design’s retro-inspired worn-in finish is a result of being heavily washed and tumbled for effect. From the stud detailing to the classic removable belt, the jacket boasts all the characteristics that help make it an instant wardrobe mainstay. If you’re willing to invest in a timeless classic, this leather jacket is the one.

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Warehouse real leather button through belted jacket

warehouse .jpg

Best: Belted leather jacket

Rating: 8/10

Offering a more structured silhouette, this Warehouse button-through jacket is a smart and clean-cut staple – with the addition of a belt awarding the piece a flattering fit. While it looks best buttoned up and belted, the versatile piece can also be styled unbuttoned and sans the removable belt for a toned-down look. We also love the Seventies-style of the defined collar and large front pockets, while the fact it’s crafted from buttery smooth lamb leather helps ensure its durability and softness – making for a worthy investment.

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Mango leather-effect biker jacket

mango .jpg

Best: Cropped design

Rating: 9/10

This affordable take on the quintessential biker by Mango is effortlessly cool, with its lapel collar, shoulder loops and zipped side pocket all in-keeping with the classic style. Whether thrown over jeans and a t-shirt or layering with a floaty mini dress, the oversized fit, complete with a slightly cropped cut, makes it ideal for an easy-breezy summer evening look. As for the faux leather finish, it looks near-identical to the real deal – with the added bonus of being lightweight and thin enough for your warm weather wardrobe. For under £100, we’ve got no complaints.

  1. £59 from Mango.com
Prices may vary
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Topshop faux leather zip up black jacket

asos .jpg

Best: For Nineties-style

Rating: 8/10

Breaking away from the biker mould, Topshop’s leather jacket is delightfully Britpop-infused. Its matte finish owes to the smooth faux leather material, with the front zip emphasising the jacket’s Nineties-style boxy silhouette. The structured collar and two functional front pockets award the simple piece extra detailing while its mid-length cut sits flatteringly below the hips. Team with faded denim and trainers for an off-duty look.

  1. £42 from Asos.com
Prices may vary
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Nasty Gal fringe biker jacket

nasty gal.jpg

Best: Fringed jacket

Rating: 8/10

Nasty Gal is on to a winner with its western take on the classic biker jacket. Made from premium-quality leather, the design boasts an oversized silhouette that’s exaggerated by the long fringing on the back. Despite the dramatic tassels, the jacket retains all the biker signatures with its large notched lapels, pointed collar, metal hardwear and zip closure. An ideal choice for this festival season and beyond.

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New Look dark red leather-look biker jacket

new look .jpg

Best: Budget buy

Rating: 7/10

If you’re shopping on a budget, New Look’s cheap and cheerful red faux leather jacket is hard to fault. While simplistic in its design, it still ticks all our boxes for a good biker jacket with its front zip closure, sleeve zips, stud detailing and front lapels. The leather-effect finish is soft and lightweight, making it an ideal spring and summer option. And for its price, we were pleasantly surprised with the comfortable and flattering fit of the piece – though we would recommend sizing up.

  1. £26 from Newlook.com
Prices may vary
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Karen Millen leather bomber jacket

karen millen .jpg

Best: Bomber jacket

Rating: 8/10

While leather isn’t the most obvious material for a bomber jacket, when done well, they are the epitome of edge and effortlessness. And Karen Millen has successfully put its elegant stamp on the style with this design. The super-cropped cut creates a flattering silhouette with the elasticated hem and arm cuffs cinching the piece in. There’s a sporty feel to the jacket owing to the white lining down the zip closure and the blue and white stripes on the arms. Though made from durable real leather, it gets extra kudos from us for being responsibly sourced from tanneries that are working to reduce their environmental impact.

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Topshop faux leather gilet

gilet .jpg

Best: Gilet

Rating: 9/10

From denim to quilted, gilets are high on the sartorial agenda for 2022 and we love this leather intepretation on the trend from Topshop. The sleeveless cut is complemented by a low v-neck, lace-up side panels and biker-esque stud detailing. Ideal for the summer months, its lightweight and soft faux leather is a dream to wear. While the three stud closures allow for a more structured fit, we think it looks best unbuttoned – whether adding interest to a simple jeans and vest look or grunging up a pretty dress.

  1. £39 from Asos.com
Prices may vary
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Jigsaw Nakoa leather mix jacket

jigsaw .jpg

Best: Suede and leather blend

Rating: 8/10

Jigsaw is a favourite of ours thanks to its interesting cuts and unique takes on seasonal trends. Case in point, the label’s Nakoa leather jacket. Reimagining the classic style, Jigsaw’s elegant piece is crafted from a mix of nappa leather and suede. The contrasting effect of these two types of leathers creates a striking navy and black-hued look. Though this isn’t the only point of interest, the slightly cropped sleeves and scoop neck collar also help set it apart from more traditional leather jackets.

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Free People Christy moto jacket

free people .jpg

Best: Vintage-inspired

Rating: 9/10

There’s much to love about this moto jacket from Free People. With its exaggerated zips, buckle detailing and flashes of red lining, the piece boasts all the hardwear we’d expect from a biker-style jacket. But the pièce de résistance is the off-white star design printed on the back which injects some edge into the jacket. The lambskin leather outer feels durable yet soft, and is cut into a slim-fitting silhouette.

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The verdict: Women’s leather jackets

It’s no shock that AllSaint’s jacket was our top buy – with the mid-range label famed for its premium-quality leatherwear at reasonable prices. Feeling durable, buttery soft and structured, its Billie jacket is an investment for year-on-year wear.

Its faux-leather counterpart is Mango’s cropped jacket, which is similarly timeless but comes in at a much more affordable price point. Meanwhile Free People’s quirky star-decorated jacket sits right in the middle in terms of cost, yet still doesn’t scrimp on quality.

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Looking for another wardrobe staple? We’ve rounded up the best women’s trench coats

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