A suede jacket can be an intimidating proposition for some. Allow us to per-suede you.
I have always struggled with leather jackets. Almost impossible to blend into an outfit, they're too focused, too specific, too edgy. They come with such cultural baggage, one only sees the reference points and counter-culture heritage, rather than the garment itself. In trying to build a balanced, complementary ensemble, it's just too damn loud.
It’s a jacket with the volume turned up, from the rocker's cropped asymmetrical biker jacket through to the Obergruppenführer's trench coat, the leather jacket is the star in its own movie. A costume. A pose.
Aside from the rebellious connotations, this has a lot of do with the high contrast and shine. In a leather jacket, one can feel like a cartoon drawing coloured in with a sharpie, all detail and subtlety lost in a uniform tone. And yet, hide is an ideal material for jacketing. Hardwearing and prone to improvement with age, no one has come up with a better natural defence to the elements: animal skin is the original outerwear.
A suede jacket is the viable alternative. The softer, napped underside of full grain leather avoids the uniformity of its flipside, its matte surface absorbing rather than reflecting light for a more pleasing, welcoming appearance. In the colder months, this blends with those other stalwarts of cooler climes — tweed, cord and woollen knitwear — for an overall textural accord that is hard to match.
One drawback of suede is its perceived vulnerability. While it is true that finer iterations can be softer and less durable, the wiser choice for jacketing is a heavier weight suede such as the crosta that Drake's have used for this autumn's suede chore jacket. More commonly called upon for rugged pursuits such as mountaineering equipment, crosta has the same water repellent characteristics as grain leather and a tremendous drape to boot. It's the ideal medium for the workwear-like cut of the coat, and an echo to the outdoor smarts of the ranch hand and field worker.