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Suede Jacket vs Leather Jacket – Which One To Buy?

Suede jackets are my go-to piece for outerwear during the fall season. They provide warmth, feel cozy, and add a lot of texture to an outfit.

The only jacket comparable to the suede jacket, in my opinion, is a leather jacket.

Leather jackets are durable, sturdy, and make you look like an absolute badass. The garment is synonymous with “cool” and does a surprisingly great job at keeping you warm.

But both suede jackets and leather jackets cost a fortune. And money, sadly, is limited.

So which one should you buy first? That’s what I will try to break down in this article by going over the pros and cons of the two, and I will also elaborate upon the differences between suede jackets and leather jackets.

Let’s begin!

Difference Between Suede Jackets And Leather Jackets

BasisSuede JacketsLeather Jackets
DurabilityLess durable.More durable.
CostSuede jackets cost less.Leather jackets cost more.
VarietyVariety in terms of colors.Variety in terms of styles.
WeightLightweight.Can be quite heavy.
SeasonSuede jackets are perfect for fall.Great for both fall and winter.
MaintenanceRequire more maintenance.Require less maintenance.

If you are looking for a jacket, and are confused about which one to get first, I recommend that you go for a leather jacket over a suede jacket.

Which Jacket To Buy First?

leather jackets from Allsaints

In my opinion, if you are confused between buying a leather jacket and a suede jacket, go for the leather alternative first.

Although both the jackets are extremely versatile and can be paired with a huge range of outfits, there are two departments in which a leather jacket can’t be beaten – warmth and durability.

Leather jackets are a lot warmer than suede jackets. This is due to the added heaviness of the leather. They are perfect for even the coldest days of the winter, provided that you use proper heat-tech under them. The same, however, cannot be said for suede jackets.

Leather jackets are also much more durable than their suede counterparts. If properly cared for, a leather jacket can last multiple generations. Remember, I am not talking about years here. I am talking about generations.

Suede jackets are also durable, but not as much as a high-quality real leather jacket. Suede jackets, if properly cared for, can last a decade or so.

Due to both these reasons, along with the larger number of options and colors a leather jacket is available in, makes it a much better choice than its suede counterpart for someone’s first jacket.

Pros And Cons Of Suede Jackets

Suede jackets are, in my opinion, one of the most underrated pieces of a man’s fall wardrobe. Like any other garment, suede jackets also have a lot of pros and some cons:

Advantages of a Suede Jacket

1. Price

Suede jackets, although a bit costly in their own right, are much less expensive than leather. A good suede jacket can be bought for anywhere between $100-250.

2. Lightweight

Suede is a much lighter material than leather, and thus suede jackets just feel like any other jacket when it comes to weight. They aren’t too heavy and work perfectly for the fall season.

The lightweight nature also makes suede jackets great for layering. You can use them as both the top layer and the mid-layer of an outfit.

3. Texture

The biggest advantage, in my opinion, of wearing suede jackets is the texture and visual interest that they provide to an outfit. There’s really nothing else like suede that looks so good visually speaking.

They make your outfit look three-dimensional and give a very snuggle-bear type vibe only rivaled by fleece.

4. Rare and Unique

Suede jackets are much less popular than leather jackets. Go out on Times Square once fall season begins, and you will see a sea of dudes wearing the same biker leather jacket.

The rarity of suede jackets makes them a statement piece (that is still very versatile), which helps you in standing out from that sea of dudes.

Disadvantages of a Suede Jacket

1. Maintenance

Suede is not an easy fiber to deal with. It can get easily damaged, especially when exposed to water. Therefore, waterproofing suede becomes extremely important.

And cleaning suede also requires access to good suede cleaning kits, because it cannot be cleaned with water.

2. Not warm enough for extreme winter

Suede jackets are great for fall and early winter, but once the real winter comes around, they are pretty much useless. Especially if you, like me, live in a place that experiences harsh winters such as New York; a suede jacket is going to leave you freezing.

Pros And Cons Of Leather Jackets

A leather jacket is universally regarded as a wardrobe essential. And with so much history behind it, the pros and cons of leather jackets are also well-known:

Advantages of a Leather Jacket

1. Durability

Leather jackets are extremely durable. If you buy a high-quality buffalo leather biker jacket, chances are that it is going to outlive you. That means that a jacket that you are buying now is probably going to be worn by your grandchildren too.

2. Image

Here’s something for you if you have been living under a rock for the last 50 years -Leather jackets look badass.

Think of the people that come to your mind when you think of leather jackets – Marlon Brando, James Dean, etc.

This image has been carried forward by the rockstars and bikers who adopted the leather jacket.

3. Variety in terms of fits and types

Leather jackets are available in a wide range of fits, cuts, and styles. You can go for a cafe racer, a bomber, a coat, and a good ol’ biker jacket, just to name a few. Suede options are also available in these styles, though in much lesser quantities.

4. Warmth

Leather jackets are extremely warm and work great for the winter season. Although naturally associated with the fall, leather jackets can also be worn in winter provided that they have a fur lining on the inside.

Disadvantages of a a Leather Jacket

1. Price

Leather jackets cost a lot.

Let me correct that. Quality leather jackets cost a fortune. In fact, some people say that you shouldn’t even buy a leather jacket if it’s retailing under $400. I personally do not agree with this, and I think you can find good deals in the $150-350 range.

But still, that’s a lot for a piece of clothing.

2. Weight

Depending on the animal that the leather has been derived from, leather jackets can be heavy to the point of discomfort. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the animal, the heavier your jacket is going to be.

Lamb leather? Very light.

Goat leather? Medium weight.

Buffalo leather? Heavy as f*ck.

3. Color restrictions

Although leather jackets are manufactured in a variety of different colors, realistically speaking, you only have two options – black and brown.

Although not a problem if you are buying your first jacket, but if this one’s your fourth and you don’t want any more black or brown jackets, then you are going to have a hard time looking for alternative colors that look good.

Final Remarks

Suede jackets and leather jackets are both excellent options for outerwear during the fall and winter season, but if you have the money to buy only one, I recommend that you go for leather jackets.

But this does not mean that only leather jackets are good and you should avoid suede jackets at all costs.

Remember, this article talks about what jacket should you buy first? If you have the means or the willingness to buy both, then buy both.

Also, take a look at the pros and cons of both that I have mentioned above. If you think that suede jackets are going to be a better option for you, by all means, go ahead and buy a great suede jacket.

What it all comes down to is you.

Buy the jacket which is going to make you feel happier and more confident.