The History of Women’s Leather Jackets

Brunette Woman wearing a Hidepark Leather Biker Jacket on the streets of London

Leather jackets are a key staple in many women’s wardrobes and have been for decades. Providing extra interest to outfits whilst acting as a buffer against the natural elements, a leather jacket is an ideal piece of clothing, but when did this begin?

At Hidepark our passion for leather has allowed us to explore the styles and trends of women’s leather jackets, finding our favourites from the past and creating  leather jackets that can stand the test of time like so many women's vintage leather jackets before them.

Women’s Vintage Leather Jackets

Leather jackets have been around in fashion since 1928, but didn’t truly become popular in women’s fashion until the 70s and 80s. 

Women’s Leather in the 50s

Woman in a leather jacket riding a red Harley Davidson

Harley Davison created a leather jacket ‘fit for a queen’ in 1954 with their Ladies Companion Jacket, helping to protect female motorcyclists with this early version of the women’s biker jacket.

Initially designed to protect women when out on their bikes, women’s biker jackets have become a fashion staple over the years. One of the most famous leather jackets of the 50s can be seen on Sandy from Grease. Whilst Grease was filmed in the 70s, the plot was based in the 50s and accurately portrays the type of women that tended to step outside the box with their adobe, those with a badass ‘bad girl’ image.

Modern Fashion in the 1960s

After hitting the spotlight in the 50s, the 60s saw women's leather jackets become more mainstream. With Elvis and the Beatles rocking the leather look, it was inevitable that leather jackets drifted into Mod Fashion.

The British Mod subculture began in London and focused on music and fashion, so of course leather wearing musicians were a source of inspiration. Rejecting fashion based on gender norms, women favoured androgynous outfits, with leather jackets and slim-fit trousers making up a majority of outfits at the time.

The 60s took the classic biker look and flipped it to look good with a Vespa.

Women’s Leather in the 70s and 80s

The time of Rock’N’Roll was the real inspiration for women’s leather jackets. After years of seeing male stars rock the leather look, it was time for female musicians to show off the sexy look that inspired women to mix up their style.

Artists like Joan Jett and Debbie Harry helped to make the leather jacket popular for women across the world, turning this women's jacket into a wardrobe staple.

A classic black biker jacket gave Blondie’s Debbie Harry her edge and encouraged women to embrace the style. Discover the Debbie Harry look with the Viki Black Leather Biker Jacket, paired with loose camo for a true Blondie look.

Not quite your style? Channel your inner Madonna with an oversized Zoe Leather Biker Jacket and your favourite pair of blue jeans, you can’t go wrong.

A 1990s Staple Fashion Item

After so much popularity in previous years, the 90s saw leather jackets start to change. Oversized leather looks were in (thanks Cher) and new styles were emerging.

Leather Bomber Jackets were perfect for the oversized look, often paired with plaid and scrunchies for that classic 90s look. Alongside leather bomber jackets, leather coats and blazers were a popular choice, adding a touch of formality to leather that we didn’t see in previous years. 

Leather coats and blazers were a great winter staple, protecting the wearer from the outside weather whilst remaining fashionable and comfortable. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Courtney Cox were huge in the nineties, and their sense of style made them even more popular.

Gwyneth Paltrow was all over magazine covers in leather jackets. Steal her style with the Jess Women’s Black Leather Blazer, a white t-shirt and your choice of maxi skirt or boyfriend jeans, or create a fun formal look with a solid satin dress.

Leather Jacket Looks: The 2000s and Beyond

After years of rock and music influence, leather jackets in the 2000s were hitting the catwalks from a variety of high-end fashion designers, taking the leather look from an edgy status symbol to a precious piece to add to your wardrobe for a long-lasting jacket that spans the test of time.

But modern leather wasn’t the end of grunge. Costume Designer Jenny Beavan took to the Oscars stage with a dress-code defying look that had crowds talking. Whilst flashy dresses are the norm on the red carpet, Beavan accepted her well-deserved award in statement leather, remaining comfortable and standing out from the crowd of designer dresses.

The Evolution of Women's Leather Jackets

Leather jackets have evolved over the years, from style and colour to quality and care.

Leather jackets may still come in the familiar styles as seen over the years, but those styles have been tailored, offering sleek and comfortable looks for those hunting for their ideal leather jacket. Whilst the past few decades have loved the monochromatic leather look, the 2010s saw the rise of coloured leather jackets, perfect for adding a statement piece to any outfit.

Leather Jacket Care

Whilst leather jackets have been popular since the 1920s, leather jacket care wasn’t considered until much more recently. Whilst women’s vintage leather jackets were all the rage, finding a quality piece in a thrift store is difficult.

There are many ways to care for a leather jacket that prevents it from damage, including cracking, wrinkling or signs of wear and tear over the years. These leather care tips are the ideal way to keep a quality leather jacket looking just like new, which is why choosing a quality women's leather jacket is important.

Discover Timeless Women’s Leather Jackets at Hidepark

A properly cared for, quality leather jacket can stand the test of time, looking just as good in fifty years as it does upon delivery. Whilst thrifting a womens vintage leather jacket could be exciting, it may not last as long as a well made leather jacket from Hidepark. 

Uncover women's leather jacket styles and find your ideal fit with the full range of women's leather jackets from Hidepark today.