In the blue corner, a rugged American icon – the denim jacket.
In the black corner, the notorious bad boy – the leather jacket.
These two titans have dominated the world of men’s casual jackets for years –
And they’re just getting stronger with age!
Today these mighty warriors will duke it out over six rounds for the title of Jacket Champion of the World. Place your bets, guys – which do you think will be the winner?
This fight is sponsored by Original Grain, makers of bold, masculine wood and steel watches that look great with either denim or leather.
Click here to check out Original Grain, and use code RMRS for an exclusive discount.
Now – are you ready for this? Leather vs. Denim, Round 1 – FIGHT!
This first round is all about range – and look at these fighters go. Right now it looks like they’re equally matched for range. Both leather and denim can be smartened up with a button-down shirt, dress boots and a stylish watch, or dressed down with sneakers and a t-shirt (make sure it’s a plain, well-fitted t-shirt though – you’re not 12.)
But wait – leather’s getting past denim’s guard. Leather jackets look great with any kind of jeans – but a blue denim jacket with matching blue jeans is a NO. It’s known as the ‘Canadian tuxedo’. Can denim come back from this?
Yes – the plucky denim jacket is fighting back. It’s looking good with black jeans. It’s looking good with off-white jeans. In fact, any color of denim jacket looks fine with any contrasting color of jeans – charcoal, brown, dark green – just as long as they’re very different from each other.
This round isn’t over yet, though. Leather is coming back strong with all kinds of different leather jacket styles – the motorcycle jacket and flight jacket, fatigue, and trench. Some are definitely less casual, like the blazer and cafe racer. You can see from the details that they’re more formal. For instance, formal leather jackets usually just have slit pockets, while less formal ones will have flap pockets.
Now this is impressive range. And denim’s got nothing to match it. Denim jackets don’t really have this sliding scale – they’re pretty exclusively casual. Leather is going to take this first round.
Winner, Round 1 – Leather
Round #2. Denim Vs. Leather Jacket Prices For Men
Denim’s looking great going into this round – much cheaper than leather. You can get a good denim jacket for under $100 – you won’t find a good leather jacket for under $500. Is this a clear win for denim?
Not so fast. Denim is much less durable. Leather might cost more, but if it’s good leather you’ll be passing it on to your son on your deathbed. Remember the men’s style equation – VALUE = price/number of wears. Leather is matching denim punch for punch.
Winner, Round 2 – Draw
Round #3. Are Denim Jackets Easier To Care For Than Leather Jackets?
Leather’s still in the lead as we go into this round, but can it hold on to its lead? Leather is durable on its own but needs to be oiled and protected from heat to really last. You can’t wash a leather jacket – you have to spot clean it by hand.
Now, look at denim going on the attack. You can throw your denim jacket in the washing machine and hang it up to dry. Your biggest worry is shrinkage – but you can keep that to a minimum if you wash it on a cool cycle and avoid tumble drying, or just dry it on the coolest setting.
Denim wins this round, and we’re at 1:1 going into round 4.
Winner, Round 3 – Denim
This is a crucial round – which of our fighters is the toughest in hot, cold, and wet weather?
Leather’s starting strong – it’s an excellent windbreak and can be very warm in cold weather, especially with a sheepskin lining, or a fluffy polyester ‘Sherpa’ lining. But there’s a big chink in leather’s armor – in hot weather, it gets sweaty and uncomfortable.
Denim by itself is breathable and comfortable in warm weather, though it isn’t cool enough for hot weather like linen. However, you can also find denim Sherpa jackets with that fluffy lining that will keep you warm in extreme cold. So denim scores a surprise win on temperature – you can wear it for more of the year.
When it comes to rain, though, leather is pulverizing denim. Denim gets heavily waterlogged and takes a long time to dry. Leather is naturally water-resistant; most jackets these days add waterproofing compounds during the treatment of the hide as well.
If you’re going to use a leather jacket as a raincoat, remember that it doesn’t have a hood – you’ll need a hat. Most leather jackets are also too short to offer any protection to your legs.
This was a close round, but the winner has to be leather – because when you say ‘leatherproof’, you don’t think denim.
Winner, Round 4 – Leather
Round #5. Can Men’s Leather And Denim Jackets Be Tailored?
The plucky denim jacket is coming back with a devastating attack on leather! This looks like it’s going to be a short round. While denim may be a little hard to alter yourself because of the thick fabric, it’s no problem for your tailor.
Leather is extremely difficult to alter – your leather jacket needs to fit you well right off the bat. Never buy online unless the store offers returns.
With leather on the ropes, denim wins this round and our fighters are neck and neck going into the final round. Which one will claim the title of Jacket Champion of the World?
Winner, Round 5 – Denim
The crowd’s going wild for this round. To win this battle, our fighters HAVE to win over the ladies. And leather is smirking through the blood and bruises because this bad boy is famously attractive to women – it’s the combination of primal ruggedness and a tactile, touchable surface.
But denim isn’t going down without a fight. A denim jacket with a well-fitted white t-shirt underneath gets you plenty of fans too. James Dean looked equally iconic in both. And denim is easier to pull off – a man in a leather jacket that doesn’t fit his body (or his personality) looks like a douche.
The punches are really flying on both sides. That iconic black leather jacket is looking great on the high-contrast men but really overpowering on low-contrast men. They’ll look better in brown leather or blue denim. And faded blue denim just looks ‘meh’ on high-contrast guys.
Leather has ‘bad boy’ appeal, but that doesn’t suit every man – denim has more of a ‘good boy’ appeal while still looking cool and masculine, which some men – and women – prefer.
It’s been an incredible fight, it’s almost too close to call, but the winner of this round by decision is – leather.
Winner, Round 6 – Leather, but it’s closer than you’d think.
And that means the overall result of this epic battle is:
Do you agree with my decision? Which do you think deserves the title of Jacket Champion of the World – leather or denim?
Whether you’re a denim jacket man, a leather jacket man, or both, you can kick your jacket styling up a notch by accessorizing with a men’s statement watch.
Click here to check out Original Grain’s unique wood and steel watches, and don’t forget to use code RMRS for a great discount.