Nothing softens the look of a leather jacket like suede. A plush, napped leather can be a good way to tone down the utilitarian origins of a bomber jacket or cafe racer – making them friendlier versions of their rugged counterparts. Want to wear a leather A-2 without looking like you’ve just stepped off the set of Top Gun? Or a double rider without people mistaking you for a Hells Angel? Get them in suede.
The material can be particularly nice in the warmer months since it absorbs light. That gives the jacket a softer, more sophisticated appearance on a bright day than some of your smoother, shinier leathers. Plus, much like suede shoes, you can use them to add texture. A suede jacket lends visual interest to a plainer t-shirt or henley, but it also won’t clash with a patterned shirt. In the colder seasons, you can team one with a speckled Donegal sweater or cabled Aran for a texture-on-texture look.
I recently picked up this suede five-zip from Maison Margiela (on sale at the moment at SSENSE). The design has been with the company for over ten years now, making it one of the more enduring non-traditional styles. It has long, diagonal zips across the chest – giving it an edge – although it’s still easy enough to wear with slim jeans or wool trousers. Pictured above: my Margiela jacket with a Barena henley, pair of 3sixteen jeans, and some Saint Laurent sneakers (the quality of the sneakers is admittedly terrible, especially for the price. Readers would be better off with Common Projects Achilles mid-tops in white).
If Margiela’s five-zip is too unusual for you, try Valstar’s A-1s. They’re sporty, slimmed down, and reasonably easy to wear with either jeans or tailored clothing. You can find them at No Man Walks Alone, Exquisite Trimmings, and Mr. Porter. Additionally, Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers are always good for conservative designs, and I like the Italian casual look that Stoffa has put together. Lastly, Unionmade and Club Monaco have some nice options from Golden Bear.
Coming soon: a suede jacket care guide at Put This On.