When it comes to shopping for basics, one item that frequently pops up on many wish lists is a good leather jacket. In recent years, it’s become the stereotypical uniform for models off duty and Instagram celebs, but it’s a versatile piece, even if you don’t spend time posing for a camera. Like any good staple, it can look completely different depending on how it’s styled. With that in mind, the Cut asked five working women to show us how it’s done. Scroll down to see the different ways a moto can be worn, along with more options, at every price point.
Alyssa Reeder, writer
Halima Sayek, student
Feeling nostalgic for the ‘90s? Find a choker and layer a striped shirt under a slip dress, and you’re pretty much every girl circa 1995.
T by Alexander Wang classic pebbled leather jacket, $1,095, Alexander Wang; Max Mara top, $495 at Max Mara stores; Y/Project dress; Eddie Borgo choker, $275, Bergdorf Goodman
Ayumi Patterson, actress
A bright-blue leather jacket sounds more intimidating than it really is. It’s fun to go all-in with color and wear it with other primary hues.
Coach moto jacket, $995, Coach; Salvatore Ferragamo top, $1,250 at select Salvatore Ferragamo boutiques; Marc Jacobs sailor pants, $1,400, Marc Jacobs, 163 Mercer St., 212-343-1490
Lynne O’Neill, fashion-show and event producer
The coolest part of this jacket is the detail — the vinyl embroidering snakes all around the jacket and even onto the inner lapels. It’s definitely a big splurge, but it also doesn’t adhere to any trend, so you could wear it for years.
Noir Kei Ninomiya synthetic leather jacket with vinyl embroidery, $1,860, Dover Street Market
Jennifer Lee, personal assistant
Dressing for evening doesn’t always mean you have to wear a cocktail dress. Separates like this crop top and high-waisted skirt along with a sleek, classic leather jacket feels fresh. Plus, it’s highly doubtful anyone else at your event will wear the exact same look.
Burberry leather jacket, price upon request, Burberry for similar; 3.1 Phillip Lim top, $350, Spring; 3.1 Phillip Lim skirt, $495, Spring; Gianvito Rossi sandals, $795, Gianvito Rossi
Zara leather jacket
If you’re on a tight budget and you want something that looks expensive, this is a genuine leather jacket that’s under $200.
Massimo Dutti red leather jacket
Don’t feel the need to stick to plain black when it comes to this style. Bright red can be just as versatile if you treat it exactly like you would a neutral.
$345, Massimo Dutti
MICHAEL Michael Kors leather moto jacket
Pay attention to the hardware on jackets — that’s a tiny detail that can have a huge impact. Case in point: This style features black-on-black zippers and buttons that give it a sophisticated-yet-cool look.
$398, Michael Kors
Veda Grand leather jacket
Finding a good brown leather jacket under $1,000 can be tricky — you want the color to be really rich, not generic. This one is that perfect shade of caramel that feels like the interior of a fancy sports car.
Junya Watanabe croc-embossed faux leather jacket
Faux leather has a bad reputation for looking, well, faux. But you can also do really interesting things like add vinyl embroidery or create a crocodile effect.
$1,450, Saks Fifth Avenue
Acne Studios Swift jacket
Should you want to splurge, you can’t go wrong with Acne Studios. They always seem to know how to create the right fit, whether you want something snug and cropped or slouchy and oversize. While you could technically go for classic black, their peachy-blush version would be the perfect way to dabble in the color of the season.
Photographs by Kacey Jeffers. Styling by Diana Tsui. Hairstylist: Cynthia Alvarez. Makeup Artist: Allie Smith.