Mid-Range Leather Jacket – Which One Is Best?


I’ve been forever hunting for the perfect leather jacket for my wardrobe, but finding the right one at a reasonable price has eluded me for a long time. A black leather jacket is amazing for fall, spring, for travel and as a closet staple, so with our upcoming London trip I thought it was time to really find the right one. Shana mentioned she’d heard great reviews about the J.Crew jacket and I’d recently seen the Madewell in-store, so I ordered both of those and a third from AllSaints (my all-time favorite British cool-brand) in the same price-range to check out and compare. See what I found out…


tee | jeans | mules

J.Crew Washed Leather Jacket – Loved the fit, but this one smelled really strong though. I did like the width of the arms (a bit roomier than the others) but maybe too roomy to be flattering? The Small fit great and just a tiny bit looser than the AllSaints. I really liked the slight faded black color and that the simple hardware that wasn’t over-the-top. The leather had more texture than the other two. I didn’t love that, but it wasn’t stiff at all. I forgot to snap a picture of this one zipped, but it fit well when closed.

Pros: fit and length was great, leather was nice and substantial. Cons: smelled strong and the leather was a bit more textured than I wanted.


tee | jeans | mules

Madewell Washed Leather Jacket – The Madewell and the J.Crew are SO similar it’s almost hard to tell them apart in the photos, but the Madewell fit smaller than the J.Crew jacket even though I tried Smalls in both. It was slimmer in the arms, especially. This one was out of thinner leather than the J.Crew but really soft, nice leather and a super smooth texture. It would probably be the perfect weight for a bit warmer climates. It also didn’t have same strong smell as the other. It seemed just slightly more cropped than the J.Crew or AllSaints. Looking at these photos it was probably more flattering in the arms than the J.Crew was, even though the roomier arms were comfier.

Pros: soft, smooth, fitted (if you want that look). Cons: fit was too small, leather was thinner and the length was too short for my liking.


tee | jeans | mules

AllSaints Bales Leather Biker Jacket – Size US 6, UK 10. This one was more fitted than J.Crew but roomier arms than the Madewell jacket. This is the one I ultimately went with because it’s so rad. The collar is just amazing and unique. The buckles at the collar look great, even when not buckled (which is good because they’re a bit tricky to buckle without a mirror.) Love the soft leather and the hardware isn’t over-the-top either.

Pros: the collar, it’s unique, the leather is gorgeous and the fit was perfect. Cons: no real pockets to speak of (teeny 2″ deep zipper pockets at bottom look cool but don’t hold hands) **Update: I’ve been wearing this for a while now and it’s amazing. It breaks it perfectly but doesn’t stretch out too much and it’s so so soft. It’s been fine in light rain, too, which is great and something I was worried about. I am so glad I made this purchase!

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The Take-Away

For me, the decision was easy between these. I mean, that collar. And the AllSaints jacket just fit me best. But if you want a bit of texture and roomy sleeves, go for the J.Crew. If you like a slim fit with super smooth leather, try the Madewell.

A leather jacket is such a great wishlist item for birthday or for the holidays. I highly suggest ordering some to try out against each other for size and style. What I tend to do is order online so I can try at home and then return the no’s to the store for quicker credit, on big ticket items like these. I love being able to try them on at home for better lighting and the ability to try them with a variety of tops or outfits.

If you have a leather jacket you love, do share! Hope everyone is having a lovely October.




  1. Nice post. I’ve been looking at (faux) leather jackets for the fall as alternative to other jackets, coats in my rotation. Any recommendations in the faux category? I’ve mostly found the Blanknyc ones to be a good fit with enough details, but not over the top. You are rocking the one you chose! And I love Camper photobombing you too. 🙂

  2. In love with the collar on your All Saints jacket! So good! My husband gave me a Michael Kors one for Christmas two years ago that I wear all the time. Super soft leather, great fit and the hardware is black, which I think makes it a little unique. The closest I can find to it online is this one:
    As always, love this post and your style!

  3. I bought my Mackage jacket last year during the Anniversary Sale- the best $450 I ever spent. I think it would have been close to $700 non sale. The leather is amazing. The lining is great. The fit is perfect. I get compliments all the time. Highly recommend, especially on sale!!

  4. Does anyone have suggestions for a dark gray (charcoal) jacket similar to Laura’s AllSaints one? I gravitate towards no hardware on the “lapels”…e.g. not the Madewell or J Crew style. Thanks!

  5. For my fellow Bargain Shoppers: I knew my tastes in jackets out-paced my budget so I went second-hand. I ended up finding a PERFECT Veda leather jacket on The RealReal for about $150. I feel so pulled together and cool in it! It took some patience and stalking to find my perfect jacket, but it paid off. Also, the hunt was pretty fun 🙂

  6. This post is everything! I was just in Vancouver and have been looking at very similar jackets. The All Saints looks amazing on you; I tried on the channel-quilted one and am in love with it. I’m 5’0 115# and the US4 was comfortable but close-fitting over a medium weight sweater. Thanks for this post!

  7. Any tips on leather jackets that don’t have the moto-style asymmetrical zipper? Most leather jackets seem to have that style, but prefer the “straight up the middle” zipper. Hard to find!

  8. I finally added a leather jacket to my grown-up wardrobe, from J. Crew, a couple years ago, and just have a hard time working it into my weekly outfit routine! I’d love some tips!!

    • I’ll work on a styling post! But I love pairing it with preppy pieces so it doesn’t feel too moto, if that makes sense. Ie. a striped tee, loafers or mules or dressy boots instead of clunky or casual boots. Or it’s always great to pair one with sneakers to dress up the sneaks.

  9. OK so… looking for opinions on this… I decided last early Spring to go in for a leather jacket at Nordstrom Rack. It was a “now or never” moment, since there were several options, I was in the mood to throw down, I had an upcoming trip to NYC and wanted easy warmth, and the discounts were amazing. SO. My question is… I decided on a *color* leather jacket. Reasoning was, it had the best fit, feel, and styling for my taste. It would have been 100% perfect in black. But since fit/comfort is major important to me (I’m curvy especially in thighs and upper arms), I went for it. The color is a very dark teal. Thoughts? Are there any red flags about wearing colored leather jackets? My fashion hangup is that I don’t want to look foolish, but I know that having style means taking risks. What makes a color leather option look foolish… and what, if anything, makes it cool? (Ps I still wear it and feel ? even though I don’t know the answer)

  10. I have been thinking about the All Saints Jacket since you first posted! Just bought this morning! $392 on sale! Decided to stick to my size rather than size up to a 10 -very exciting!

  11. I was on a hunt for the perfect faux leather jacket but nothing was exactly right and then I stumbled upon the Bales jacket mega sale and could not be more thrilled with the style and quality of the leather. Then I found your review! I wanted to ask, have you been wearing your often and if so, has it stretched a lot? I’m torn on which size to keep and would love feedback from someone who owns it! Thank you!

  12. Hi Laura, Since having your jacket for a while now, has it stretched out? I’m assuming you purchased true to size with a t-shirt on, are you able to wear it with a sweater or a hoodie underneath? I just bought an All Saints jacket, but I’m wavering if I should exchange it to a size up as it fits perfectly with a t shirt, but very tight with a hoodie on.

  13. Thanks for the post. I’m looking for a versatile leather jacket and this helped a lot. I’m 5’2″ 110 – petite but athletic. I do have narrow shoulders. I love the all saints on you but not sure if it’s too bulky for Los Angeles. so I’m leaning toward the madewell one for me. Curious if you have any thoughts.

    • I’m so glad it’s helpful! I’m leaning towards suggesting you try the Madewell first, too. The AllSaints is lovely and not bulky but it is heavier and might be too warm for L.A., especially with the tall collar. I’m thinking you sound like you’d need a size down from me in whatever you choose to try. I hope that helps!

  14. Hello, I just saw this post and I’m similar stats as you, small frame 5’2” 107 lbs, living in Los Angeles. If you haven’t tried it yet I’d try the Madewell. I just ordered it on the shopbop sale and I really like the fit and it’s pretty thin which is great. I love how it’s not shiny and there isn’t a ton of hardware. I got the xs and can fit light sweaters underneath and it also looks great with a camisole. I haven’t really worn it out of the house yet but it’s looking good. The sleeves are a bit long but actually it works fine. I once tried the bales jacket many years ago but I returned it. I think the beautiful collar didn’t work on me.

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