Men’s Leather Jackets & How To Wear Them – Bomber + Motorcycle

In this article/video, I wanted to do an update to my (4 year old!) men’s essential leather jacket story. A lot of the information in my previous article is still valid, so think of this as more of a supplement for why you should own a leather jacket instead of completely replacing it. As for the types of leather jackets I’m featuring in this video/article, you’ll likely notice that some are missing and that’s for a specific reason – I just don’t like them and they tend to not look great on most men. See the video below for an explanation of what styles I don’t prefer and why.

For the best ways to wear your leather jacket(s), check out the new video and my previous article and video here.

Biker Jacket

In my previous story, I mentioned that I didn’t like the biker style very much because they have a lot going on and should only be worn if you have a very specific rock and roll style. I still think this is true if you go with the traditional or classic-style biker jacket with the belt, chrome hardware and shiny leather. But, over the years, I discovered a slightly updated version that does away with the belt and replaces the shiny hardware and leather with matte options. Basically, this style of biker jacket removes all the things I disliked about the traditional versions, and now I’ve got to say, I’m much more of a fan.

As for how to wear them, I’d style with a t-shirt or sweater in white, black, or grey, dark wash or black jeans/chinos, and a pair of black boots. If you want to “dress it up” a bit, then pair with a casual collared shirt (leave untucked) in black, green, or burgundy, and some chinos or wool trousers.

$2395 – Burberry leather biker jacket – Burberry consistently makes some of my favorite leather jackets. You’ll pay for it, but if you can swing it, they’re totally worth the price and the fit is incredible. Remember, leather jackets are a BIFL piece.
$420 – AllSaints cargo leather jacket – all the hardware on this jacket is completely blacked out which I always prefer, but is tough to find. AllSaints’ leather jackets are worth the price and for the quality and construction, they’re a steal!
$420 – AllSaints leather biker jacket
$133 – AllSaints dark green shirt – this is the shirt Dorian wore throughout the video. The dark green color and cut of the shirt is super flattering for all shapes and sizes, especially if you’re thin or huskier.

Leather Bomber Jacket

I’ve said it a gazillion times and I’ll continue to say it, over and over again (all these articles feature bomber jackets) – regardless of your age and body type, from super thin to more rotund gentleman, every single man should have at least one bomber jacket in his closet because it’s a super versatile year-round item that can be worn a myriad of ways. Now whether you go with leather, suede or fabric options, that’s up to you. Frankly, I’d have each option, if your budget allows.

As for how to wear a leather bomber jacket, I always like to keep it simple. Pair with a crewneck sweater or t-shirt, dark wash jeans, and sneakers or boots. To make it more formal, I would pair with a white collared shirt, black tie, and wool trousers. The beauty of a bomber is that you can pretty much wear it with any kind of shirt – just pair with chinos, jeans or trousers on the darker side and you’ll never go wrong.

$500 – AllSaints leather bomber jacket – classic, classic, classic.
$500 – AllSaints leather bomber jacket in greyish blue – if you already own black, mix it up with this neutral-like color. Wear how you normally would with a black or brown jacket.
$465 – AllSaints leather and wool bomber – Dorian wore this in my Fall Shoes video and it’s such a sleek take on an all leather jacket. Super timeless and stylish.

The Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt

The Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt is *the* holy grail of dress shirts. When I was conceiving the idea of this series, this was the article of clothing that started it all because it embodies everything an Essential means to me:
  • It works for everybody – regardless of age, face shape or body type.
  • It works in all scenarios.
  • It will never go out of style.

A semi-spread dress shirt will look great dressed up or down, with or without a tie, with the sleeves rolled up, underneath a v-neck sweater or even a leather jacket.

In all your outfits, but especially when dressing up, you want to put your best foot forward, and a pillar of a sharp outfit is the dress shirt.

If you’re new to dressing, looking and feeling better, it’s extremely easy to get bogged down by the minutia. So let me save you the time and just say don’t worry about other collars until later on in your style journey.

What is a Semi-Spread Collar?

Let me show you via the simple image below. There are other types of collars such as the club, mandarin, tab and contrast collar, but those have extremely specific use cases and won’t work for most people, so let’s stick to the most common ones below:

DressShirtCollarTypes

Why A Semi-Spread and Not..?

The collar is very important. It makes or breaks an outfit. The collar of a shirt borders your face, so this is the first thing people see when looking at you since our natural tendency is to look at the face/head and move down.

Also, the type of collar informs the viewer, often unconsciously, what the rest of your outfit should be and how to perceive you.

Point vs Semi-Spread

A point collar, the most common one you’ll see in stores, simply doesn’t look good on most guys because it doesn’t fit most faces or body types. I rarely dress my clients in them because it’s just not worth the hassle when there’s something that looks good on all men. Whenever I see someone wearing a point collar, they almost always shouldn’t be wearing it because it’s not for them. I’ll do a more detailed post about this later, because I can go on forever about my dislike of the point collar.

Full Spread vs Semi-Spread

The full spread collar is similar to the point collar in that it is acceptable in only specific contexts and body shapes. These have gotten more popular over the last few years and I’d choose them over a point collar, if given the choice.

They’re great if you’re wider or broad shouldered, but I see a lot of guys wearing them who really shouldn’t be. These are also the same guys who have a full windsor knot to fill in the space of a spread collar, and on thinner guys, this is style suicide! Don’t do it!

What Colors Should I Get?

You’ll want to stick with white and light blue because like the gray suit, it’s a blank canvas that goes with anything you pair it with and you can easily add your personality via accessories (ties, pocket square, etc). Later on, you can play with the color and pattern, but for right now, these two colors are timeless, sharp, and don’t require any thinking when you put an outfit together.

How Should a Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt Fit?

I’m glad you asked. Head over to my Fit Guide for details about how all your dress shirts should fit.

The Best Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirts

Budget Friendly

J Crew Ludlow Semi Spread-Collar Shirt
Zara Semi Spread Collar Shirt 

For the price and quality, I love J.Crew’s and Zara’s semi spread collar dress shirts. The collars are just the right spread and height, and the fit is nice and tailored. It’s a staple shirt that they always have year after year that I can always count on.

Designer

Burberry London Slim Fit Stretch Cotton Blend Shirt
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Shirt 

My, hands down, favorite dress shirts come from these designers. The quality and fit is spot on. Burberry London and Emporio Armani’s collar height is perfect for most men, while Brooks Brothers’s tends to be a tiny bit taller so if you’re slim and under 5’7′, then I’d advise to go with the former brands. Side note, the Brooks Brothers dress shirt says it’s a spread collar, but it definitely fits like a semi-spread.

3 Ways To Wear

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-1-Full Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-1-Detail

True Vintage Revival TVR504Burberry Lightweight Lambskin Bomber Jacket 
Brooks Brothers White Milano Fit Spread Dress Shirt
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Plain Front Flannel Trousers
The Tie Bar Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Brushed Straight Silver Tie Bar
Brooks Brothers Calfskin Belt
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Dress Shoe
True Vintage Revival Glasses

*NOTE: You choose the type of lenses (shaded, etc.) during checkout for the sunglasses above.

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-2-Full

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-2-Detail

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Grey Suit Jacket 
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Grey Suit Trousers
Brooks Brothers White Milano Fit Spread Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Grenafaux Midnight Navy Tie
The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Navy Border
IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Dress Shoe

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-3-Full

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-3-Detail

Burberry Prince of Wales Virgin Wool Suit Jacket 
Brooks Brothers White Milano Fit Spread Dress Shirt
J Brand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Burgundy Border
IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch
Brooks Brothers Calfskin Belt
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Dress Shoe

Outfit Inspiration

 

Model: Michael Tribby