How to make your leather piece last for years

The best men's leather jackets

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If some of the prices on this list cause you to reconsider your decision to buy a leather jacket, there’s a reason high-quality leather jacket options run into the hundreds and thousands of dollars. It primarily has to do with how leather is created. 

First, a cow or sheep must be raised — a process that takes at least a year. After harvesting the animal and cleaning its hide, the tanning process, which is the procedure by which leather is changed from skin to the material we know and love, begins. This can take up to a month or more if using a vegetable dye process. From there, the leather must be cut and sewn into a jacket. 

All of these steps take an intensive amount of time and resources, which equals a higher price tag. But the good news is, thanks to leather’s enduring strength and style, you won’t need to buy more than one in your life — unless you want to.

And the way to make leather last a lifetime? Proper care. 

Unlike your favorite leather boots, a leather jacket isn’t typically dragged through the mud and banged against rocks, so you’re likely not going to see scrapes or abrasions. For light soiling, simply grab a barely-damp rag and wipe the jacket’s exterior. Allow it to dry. If soiling is deep, there are special leather cleaning products, such as saddlesoap, that can help provide a deeper clean. 

It’s also a good idea to give your jacket a needed dose of moisture every year or so. Do this by lightly applying a leather conditioner and then removing any excess. If you find your jacket has totally dried out, is stained, or is otherwise in severe disrepair, seek the guidance of a leather repair professional. Taking these simple steps will ensure your jacket looks and wears well for decades to come. 

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