A short history of the leather jacket.
A leather jacket is quite literally a jacket made of leather. Typically the jacket is black or brown, but lately, colorful leather jackets, including flag jackets have featured the virtual rainbow of coloring. There are a variety of styles of leather jackets and different versions versions have been associated with different cultures. For example, the leather jacket has been associated with Hells Angels, fighter pilots, punkers, and law enforcements, which wears jackets for protections and to be intimidating.
In the 20th century the leather jacket became an icon, largely through Hollywood. Examples include Marlon Brando, Michael Pare, James Dean, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of these actors popularized leather jackets in American, British, Canadian and Australian culture. Another American icon from Happy Days, Henry Winkler’s ‘Fonzie’ also popularized the leather jacket. The Fonz’ jacket is now in the Smithsonian while the movie Grease also popularized leather jackets.
The brown leather jackets worn by pilots and military called bomber jackets which were made to specific government specifications and seen in various movies, think Jimmy Stewart. Bomber Jackets, mouton collars, remain popular. Of course, who can forget Tom Cruise’s jacket in the movie Top Gun?
Other popular leather jackets include the Terminator jacket, which became the trademark of Harley-Driving Terminator, Wrestler Bret Hart's leather jacket, leather jackets worn by the Black Panthers, punk rock, heavy metal, etc. These jackets have been worn to connote a rebellious image. This stigma of the leather jacket continues.
There are differences between fashion leather jackets and motorcycle jackets. Leather jackets designed for motorcycles and law enforcement protect the wearer and are naturally thicker. Some military grade jackets even have body armor.