High-quality leather is among the most durable materials for clothing. Owing to its versatile properties, it has been widely used ever since the origin of mankind and craft processing has been subject to a steady development. Today’s leather clothing features a soft finish combined with a sophisticated, fashionable, and also classically elegant look.
Where does the leather come from?
Leather is an animal product that is made durable by way of a special chemical tanning process. It makes the leather supple, tough and versatile. The skins of cattle, calfs, goats, sheep and pigs are most commonly used; these are a by-product of the food industry. Depending on the animal, leather can have different characteristics that make it particularly suitable for certain types of clothing.
Different types of leather and their characteristics
Smooth or rough? This is not just a matter of personal taste – it is important to think about the properties you expect of leather clothing and when you want to wear it. Depending on the type of animal and the manufacturing process, we differentiate the following leather types:
Nappa leather Extra soft and supple smooth leather, usually from calves or sheep. The tanning process closes the pores by applying many extremely thin layers, making it pretty much impervious to moisture and dirt.
Cow leather The skin of fully grown cattle is thicker and tougher than that of calves. That is why it is perfectly suited for shoes and bags.
Goat leather Goat leather is very soft with an attractive grain pattern. It is often used for leather clothing, and also for purses and bags.
Suede Any type of leather with a soft, roughened exterior is referred to as suede. This effect is achieved by sanding the fibres of the top layers of the material. The resulting leather clothing has a distinctive character and is particularly soft to the touch.
Leather materials are differentiated not only by their origin but also by their finish. Quality ratings exist for grain leather and split leather – customers usually only see a difference in terms of price.
The tanning of animal skins is one of the oldest crafts known to mankind. Up to the 20th century, there were few alternatives to leather as a material. To this day, animal skins are treated, sanded and cleaned with herbal substances, mineral salts, fats and meanwhile also synthetic tanning agents. Various individual steps are required to achieve a smooth and soft exterior. The tanning agents are permanently absorbed by the skin, making it resistant against decomposition by micro organisms. Once the process is completed, the material can be used to manufacture clothing.
Discover leather clothing
No matter, what style you prefer: Leather can be used to make virtually any item of clothing. Unlike many textiles, leather can also be used for making a wide range of accessories. The following items of leather clothing are particularly popular among men and women:
Jackets and coats
Shoes and boots
Soft calf nappa, lamb nappa, and delicate goat suede are often used for outer garments that shouldn’t feel tight or constricting when worn every day. Cow leather is the better choice for shoes and various types of accessories.
How to combine leather items
Smart leather clothing is an essential part of any well-stocked wardrobe. Leather jackets or coats in classic shades of black, brown and beige are particularly popular. Latest dyeing techniques allow for other, cheerful colours for welcome variety. You’ll definitely find something to suit your favourite outfit!
You’ll know it if you tried it: Some women’ leather clothes are simply never out of place. Your timeless all-rounder is most definitely your simple black leather jacket. It looks great with jeans and just as pretty with a light summer dress. Leather jackets in subtle earthy hues like ochre, bordeaux or dark olive are always a chic addition to your outfit. Suede adds life and movement to your look. Vintage and antique effects or eye-catching dividing seams round off the look of smooth nappa leather to perfection.
An elegant leather coat adds flair to the most modest of outfits. The motto is: Just slip it on and look great.
Elegant leather trousers are guaranteed head-turners for special occasions. They have long since overcome their “biker chick” image. Worn with a delicate silk blouse, lace or fine wool, leather trousers are perfect for getting you noticed.
How do I clean leather clothing?
You want to keep you leather clothing looking great for years to come – but that means it must be carefully stored and cared for. Dry air from central heating, washing machines or strong stain removers are absolute no-nos. A specialist leather cleaning service used regularly is always a good idea. In case of emergency, you can also do the following at home:
Use a damp cloth to wipe down smooth leather. Make sure to apply a suitable care product after cleaning. That will prevent moisture penetrating into the fibres and leaving unsightly marks.
Suede should never come in contact with water, because it will cause permanent stains. Suede leather clothing can be brushed from time to time with a special rubber brush and should be impregnated afterwards.
Use a good hanger and store your leather clothing in a well ventilated place away from radiators. This will prevent the leather drying out and creasing unnecessarily.
Leather clothing is among the few garments that become more beautiful from use. Jackets, coats and other items that are properly cared for, will take on their wearer’s character over time. Anything goes: sporty chic, cool minimalism and urban design, a sophisticated country style or western vibe.
Short, fitted biker jackets are popular among trend setters as a break in style, for example when combined with a delicate silk dress. Highlights are studs, coarse zippers or tabs with buckles. Loose fits, leather strings and fringes on the other hand, give leather clothing a hint of western vibe that looks great with jeans.
Any look can be personalised with individual accessories for new and exciting styles again and again.
Minimalist models in leather look great with business suits and are perfect for urban looks. Bright colours create variety and are trendy eye-catchers. A sophisticated women’s leather parka in velvety goat suede in forest hues, on the other hand, conjures up memories of long horseback rides in the countryside and round off any casual outfit.
When it comes to leather clothing, there are no limits to your imagination. Timeless classics will complement any wardrobe – and all you need is one signature piece to create countless new looks: definitely a smart investment!