REVIEW – I’ve had a black cowhide leather jacket for about 30 years and really like it, but I have been wondering if it’s time for an upgrade. When the FJackets Women’s Real Leather Black Biker Jacket came up for review, I was allowed to review it. How does it compare to my old jacket? Read on!
What is it?
The FJackets Women’s Real Leather Black Biker Jacket is a lightweight jacket made of lightweight lambskin leather.
Design and features
The first thing I noticed when the FJackets Women’s Real Leather Black Biker Jacket arrived, was how light the box was that it came in. The jacket is made of lightweight lambskin leather dyed black. The leather is super soft and silky to the touch. The jacket seems decently constructed, although I don’t know anything about the way the leather was tanned, the grade of lambskin leather used, or what kind of thread they used to sew the jacket.
I took the jacket to a couple of leather craftsmen and asked if they were able to tell me about the grade of the leather. Both said they thought it might be top-grain lambskin, but one of them said that to make the best guess, he needed to see a raw edge. Since there were no raw edges to see on the jacket, there was no definitive way to tell. There was, however, a small piece of lambskin sewn behind the care instructions.
The nature of lambskin (which is the hide from young sheep) means that the hide has relatively few imperfections to begin with. If the jacket uses top-grain leather, that means that the surface has been sanded to eliminate even more of the variations of wrinkles, scars, and other imperfections that you might see if the surface wasn’t sanded.
The jacket uses all KYY metal zippers including the top two pockets and the bottom two pockets.
The pockets are not very deep. I can get 3/4 of my hand into each of the pockets while holding my hand flat as shown in the second photo above. The bottom sides of the jacket have two snaps to cinch or loosen the bottom edge (third photo above). There’s also a pocket inside the jacket to hold your phone as shown in the last photo above.
When it arrived, the jacket had a card attached to the coat’s hanging loop. Apparently, removing the card means that I would not be able to return the jacket (thus, you will want to make absolutely sure that the jacket fits and you want to keep it before cutting the tag off).
The care instructions sewn inside the jacket say that the outer shell is made from “real leather” (don’t mistake this for “genuine leather” which is a cheaper grade of leather). The lining of the jacket is made of polyester and the garment is made in Pakistan.
The FJackets women’s biker jacket is very lightweight. It is the correct size for me, but I didn’t like the way it looked on me. The product photos on FJackets’ website make it look more tailored than it is. I would describe it as more of a box shape. I would have also preferred a little more length in the body of the jacket and shorter sleeves.
The shoulders of the jacket have some padding, which surprised me, but it doesn’t detract from the jacket.
You’ll notice in the above photos that my hands only fit completely inside the jacket pockets if my hands are curled into fists. Additionally, I like the metal zippers, but they don’t zip smoothly – they “catch” here and there when using them.
From what I have read about lambskin, it is a soft, thin, flexible, porous, lightweight material (Medium.com) that can be prone to water stains so it should be dried quickly when it gets wet. It also tends to be more expensive than some other leathers because the size of the hide is smaller than others – around three to five square feet – since young lambs are smaller (the hide used is a byproduct of the meat industry; the lambs are not raised for just their hides –Medium.com).
Lambskin is also less rugged than some other leathers like full-grain cowhide and thus doesn’t last as long. Lambskin is very thin and ranges from one to three ounces (about 0.4 to 1.2 mm). The thickness of the lambskin piece sewn into the jacket is 0.8 mm (shown in the photo above).
When researching lambskin and the cost of lambskin jackets, I found that the higher-quality ones cost around $600 or more. Leathercraftgarage.com states,
…not all leathers are created equally. The tanning method used to create your prized lambskin dramatically affects the outcome of the leather. Some imported leathers come from places where the quality control is…terrible.
And that’s me being nice about it.
Poor quality control leads to lambskin leathers that lack durability. Strange things start to happen to the leather, such as cracking and splitting, tearing along the stitch line, and premature fading in some areas.
And the mysterious defects happen even after you have worked hard to treat your lambskin properly.
One of the best ways to make sure that your lambskin is durable is to purchase products from reputable sources…
But if you are purchasing a lambskin leather product, here are a few things that you can do to ensure that you are getting a stable product.
- Research the company that sells the products.
- Read reviews about the product.
- Check the return rate of the product.
- Call the company and ask where they get their hide. Are they imported?
If imported, is that area known to use sub-par lambskin hides?
Lambskin requires more care than other leathers because it absorbs oils and water more easily, but if it is a good-quality lambskin leather and you take good care of it, it should last years (up to around 15 years from what I’ve read). The problem is, it’s difficult for me to tell the quality of the leather used in this jacket as there is very little information on FJacket’s website and their customer service doesn’t seem to know much about the specific details of the jacket (e.g. the grade of leather).
In the “How Leather Jackets are Made” section of the FJackets’ website, you’ll see that they say a lot without saying a lot – e.g. “Our experts use fast tanning and proper cleaning solutions to ensure the hide is usable for jacket production.” They also mention that “For better stability, we wrap all of our products in special bags for leather jackets to avoid freight damages.” But my jacket did not arrive in a “special bag”. It was simply folded, placed in the box, and shipped to me.
The FJackets Women’s Real Leather Black Biker Jacket is priced at $199 on FJackets’ website. The $200 price range is for the type of leather product you would get at a department store. To get a higher-end lambskin product, I expect that you would have to spend much more (~$600 or more).
I tend to be kind of picky about leather goods and their quality. So, after reviewing this jacket, I will continue to use my old leather jacket, which is about 30 years old now. It looks better on me, has lasted decades, and still looks good.
What I like
- It’s lightweight
- It feels silky smooth
- It has metal zippers
What I’d change
- Provide detailed information about the materials used in making the jackets (where the leather is from, the name of the tanning process used, the type of thread used (cotton, polyester, etc.), and the kind of metal (e.g. brass, type of stainless steel, etc.) used for the closures.
- Make the sleeves shorter and the body of the jacket longer
- Tailor the jacket a little more
The FJacket Women’s Real Leather Black Biker Jacket is a decent lightweight lambskin leather jacket. The leather is smooth and silky to the touch and the construction seems fine. It appears to be made from top-grain lambskin leather according to a couple of leather craftsmen I talked to but they aren’t sure.
However, the jacket doesn’t look as good on me as I would have liked it to. The product photos on the FJackets’ website make it look more tailored than it is. It seems more of a “boxy” shape. It is the correct size for me, but it’s just not flattering. Additionally, the jacket’s body is a little too short for me and the sleeves are a little too long (note that I am 4′ 11″ or 150 cm). It might fit better on others than it does me.
If you want an affordable leather jacket, you might enjoy the FJacket Women’s Real Leather Black Biker Jacket, but be careful! Don’t cut the tag off until you’re absolutely sure you want to keep the jacket, since cutting it off means you won’t be able to return it.
However, if you are more discerning about your leather products, you might want to look elsewhere. Why? Because FJackets is an online store only and there’s very little information about the details of the quality of materials used in making the jackets on their website (where the leather was obtained, the leather tanning process used, the grade of leather used, the type of thread used, etc.), thus, you can’t be sure of what you’re paying for.