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How to Wear-In Leather Jackets

Updated February 21, 2017

A stylish leather jacket is a fashion statement that represents status and personality. From motorcycle enthusiasts to Hollywood stars like James Dean, leather jackets are a staple of fashion bearing connotations of confidence and toughness. For many who choose to wear leather jackets, the look and smell of new leather, with its sharp lines and crisp texture, can ruin the rough-and-tumble image they search for. You can take some steps to make your jacket look worn in and slightly faded to enhance your tough look.

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  1. Fill a spray bottle with clean, warm water. Use filtered water if possible, so that any minerals or chlorine in your tap water do not stain your jacket.

  2. Lightly spritz your leather jacket until the surface is damp, but not wet. Do not soak the jacket, as too much water can cause shrinkage.

  3. Wear the jacket until it dries. Move your arms in natural positions, bending at the elbows or raising your arms over your head. Pump your arms while you walk. The moist leather will mould to your body and will develop wrinkles in the areas that your muscles move, making it look as though you have been wearing it for a long time.

  4. Roll your jacket into a rough ball shape and tie it firmly with twine or string. Roll the ball around or even play catch with it. When you unroll the jacket, it will be wrinkled and more worn.

  5. Rub areas where you want extra wear with low-grade steel wool to create wear marks or small scratches. Work very slowly and inspect your work often to avoid doing too much damage.

  6. Wear your leather jacket whenever possible, inside and outside. There is no substitute for genuine wear and tear.

  7. Tip

    Examine older leather jackets to see where the leather wears the most, such as around the collar and under the sleeves. These are the areas where you should focus the wear.


    Some types of leather, such as lambskin, cannot hold up to breaking in as well as durable cowhide. Know what type of leather you are working with, and the effects your efforts will have, before you attempt to wear in your jacket.

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Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Twine
  • Steel wool

About the Author

Samantha Volz

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

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