How to Identify the Best Italian Leather Jackets

When you get it right, an Italian leather jacket looks fantastic but there are a few things to look out for to ensure you’re buying a quality item.

Italian leather jackets can be hit or miss. They can accentuate your physique, whether you’re a man or a woman, and can look effortlessly cool. But if you want to cultivate a natural and casual look, there are certain things to make sure of before you commit to making a purchase. Here are some tips to help separate the best Italian leather jackets from run of the mill garments.

Identify the Kind of Leather

Different manufacturers and brands will often use different animal hides for their leather and it is important to know the differences.

Cowhide: The most common hide is cowhide. This is durable and hard wearing but the downside is that it doesn’t drape as well as others and comfort isn’t the best. Overall it offers reasonable value for money. Buffalo hide is a variation.

Sheepskin and goatskin: These are lighter and finer grained than cowhide. They drape better which means they hang on your body better and as such complement your shape. Strong enough to be sufficiently durable, these leathers will actually get better with age and should be your first choice for Italian leather jackets.

Pig skin: Pig skin leather is cheap but also looks it. It has a poor quality finish and is often shiny with a plastic look and feel. Avoid at all costs

Identify the Tanning Process

There are several different tanning processes to look out for when buying an Italian leather jacket. A quality Italian fashion house will only employ one or two. If it is not one of the below, avoid.

Nappa: This is the preferred tanning technique commonly employed on quality sheep or goatskin hides. This makes leather soft, supple and durable – everything we want from a quality Italian leather jacket.

Aniline: Aniline is a transparent chemical that softens leather whilst maintaining color and tone. A quality tanning technique, it is ideal for brown leather jackets.

Nubuck: This is a premium (and expensive) finish that buffs the material for a soft and velvety texture. Nubuck jackets are invariably high quality. Ask if the jacket has been waterproofed as untreated Nubuck is susceptible to water damage.

Tailored fit

Whilst not technically “tailored”, an off the rack Italian leather jacket should drape well. This ties into the kind of hide used to make the leather; sheep and goatskin naturally drape well. You may find that cowhide Italian leather jackets may not fit as well. For both men and women, leather jackets should always accentuate your shoulders and come in at the waist.

Match leather Panels

A great tip to identify a quality item is to check that the panels of leather used to construct the jacket are the same. A manufacturer looking to cut corners will not be worried about matching the different parts of the jacket with the same hide. Make sure all parts of the jacket are the same colour, tone and texture.

When buying an Italian leather jacket, you cannot always rely on a famous fashion house to provide top quality. Equally, you should spend time exploring lesser known brands which may offer excellent items. Armed with a bit of knowledge, you will be able to identify a quality Italian leather jacket that will not only flatter and accentuate but also get better with age.

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