How To Get A Petite Leather Jacket
A leather jacket is one of the most timeless, classy, and sought-after wardrobe staples. However, not all leather jackets are created equal. In order to achieve the sexy, put-together aura, your leather jacket must meet two important standards: it has to be well-made with high-quality leather and it has to fit you like a glove.
Buying a first-rate and well-fitted leather jacket in standard sizes is easy because so many companies choose to maximize their profit by selling only standard-size leather jackets. But, what do you do if you are a bit shorter than the average? How can you find the perfect leather jacket in your price range?
Understand the Basics of a Good Leather Jacket
The first step to getting a good jacket as a short man is to understand what kind of fit will be the most flattering for your frame. It can be tempting to wear a jacket that is bulky because it feels rugged and manly, but for petite guys, this will actually have the opposite effect. Instead of making you look larger, a leather jacket that is too large will make you look much smaller than you are.
As such, smaller men should focus their attention on finding more fitted styles. To get the right fit, focus your attention on the three main problem areas that can overwhelm your frame and make you look smaller: the shoulders, the sleeve length, and the jacket length.
Having big, broad shoulders is every guy's dream, and a lot of guys make the mistake that thinking if they wear leather jackets with large shoulders (or worse, shoulder pads!), they'll be able to achieve that sexy, big-man look.
Unfortunately, the reality is that when you wear shoulder pads, you are only making the rest of your body look smaller. A good leather jacket will fit your shoulders snuggly, giving you a nice smooth silhouette. Avoid jackets that are too tight, as well, as this will make your jacket, no matter how expensive, look cheap.
Even if your jacket is perfect in every other way and fits you like a glove all through your torso, the sleeves can be a deal breaker. In order to avoid looking like a child in a grown-ups jacket, you will need to choose the correct sleeve length (or invest a bit of time and money into a good, specialist tailor, which we'll talk about later).
The sleeves of your jacket should hit around your wrist. It can be as much as a 1/4 inch longer to give you a little bit of slack in the arms to keep you covered as you move. Any more than a quarter inch and you will end up looking more childish than manly.
Finally, the length of your jacket matters. Jackets that are too long for your torso will only succeed at making you look shorter than you really are, whereas jackets that are too short will risk looking too feminine. Look for leather jacket styles that hit just below the waist, which works also to elongate your legs.
Well-Known Styles that Work for Petite Guys
If the criteria above seems a bit overwhelming, that's okay: we have several well-known styles that will help you narrow down your search.
The Fitted Racer Jacket
A fitted racer jacket is a simple classic. It is clean cut, with a simple zipper closure right down the middle, and it avoids looking too bulky because it doesn't have large pockets on the chest.
This jacket highlights everything that a shorter guy should look for in a leather jacket. The lack of added bulk from pockets or shoulder pads won't make you look smaller, and the simple cut will highlight your best features.
The Double Rider Style Jacket
Another classic style, a double rider jacket features an off-center zipper and a double-breasted style. Its history as a motorcycle jacket means that it is one of the more cropped jacket styles, which works for the benefit of a shorter guy. With a cropped style, you'll be able to elongate your legs.
One tricky part of a double rider style jacket is to be sure that the collar lies flat across your chest and that the hardware is not cheaply made. If the collar sticks up or if the hardware of your jacket tarnish easily, you'll risk looking cheap.
The Ribbed Cuff Leather Bomber
This style has recently made a comeback, and for good reason. It is a relatively basic leather jacket, and its most distinguishing feature is the sleeves. The sleeves are made to be a bit loose and large, with a ribbed, cotton-material holding them in place at your wrists.
As long as the body of the jacket doesn't have extraneous pockets that will add unnecessary bulk to a small frame, you'll be able to easily pull this jacket off. Even better, for guys who don't want to worry about going to a tailor, this style is usually very forgiving in the sleeves because of the ribbing.
Don't Forget to Tailor Your Sleeves
After choosing a great leather jacket from a traditional retailer that fits your body like a glove, you'll want to transform that jacket to the perfect leather jacket by having the tailor adjust the sleeves. Because leather is such a tricky material, you will need to find a specialist who is willing to work with you, and you will need to be willing to pay anywhere from $75-100.
The benefit of having a tailor adjust your sleeves after you choose your jacket is that you can then focus your attention solely on the fit of the body.
Shop in High-Quality and Specialty Stores
In addition to carrying high-quality leather jackets and well-known brands, high-end department stores and leather specialty stores tend to have a wider variety of options for leather jackets. While the price-point for these stores can be higher, the quality of materials and the quality of the fit generally justify the expense.
One of the best tricks for getting this quality for cheaper is to keep an eye on the sales for these stores. Toward the end of the season, leather jackets will start to go on sale, and you'll be able to score a name-brand jacket for a fraction of the price.
The Bottom Line
When all else fails, the option to have a leather jacket that is custom-made can be the most appealing option. The benefits of getting a custom-made jacket are that you have absolute control to make the jacket exactly the way you want it to be.