Whether it is a jacket, briefcase, or loafers, leather represents sophistication, and a true gentleman is nothing if not sophisticated. However, with a lot of clothing companies selling “Genuine Leather,” it is important to know how to identify good quality leather from its cheap counter part.
First, it is important to know what kind of leather you are getting. For the most part Leather comes from animal hides such as cow, deer, lamb, ostrich, and crocodile. However, the most commonly used are cowhide and deer skin. Although cowhide is less expensive than other hides, it has high durability and a very soft feel. This is important when looking for a leather coat that will last at least 5 years. In addition cowhide does not stretch easily, which allows for repeated wear.
Deer skin, on the other hand, has a very soft feel, which makes it difficult to keep clean. In spite of this, deer skin is also extremely durable and is resistant to ripping, fading, or snagging. It is for this reason, deer skin is often used in boots and gloves. Deer skin also ages smoothly. The more it is worn, the darker the leather becomes, which gives the leather an authentic look. However, the downside of deerskin is its elasticity. Wearing deer skin too often can stretch the material, giving it a droopy look.
There are three types of leather that you should know about:
Grade 1- Full Grain: This is the highest quality leather and is not only the strongest and most consistent in color, but it is the smoothest of the three grains. What I like about full grain leather is that the natural grain and imperfections are untouched, which contributes to its smooth feel.
Grade 2- Top Grain: Although top grain is of high quality, it is not as good as full grain. This type of leather is less consistent in color, has been sanded, and given a finishing coat.
Grade 3- Corrected Grain: This is the lowest quality leather; all imperfections have been sanded away, thus causing the leather to have a stiff feel. In addition, because the leather has been treated it lacks the natural look, which requires artificial patterns to be stamped or pressed back onto the leather.
Black Leather Briefcase | Valextra
Limited Edition Brown Leather Loafer (Made for Zenga by Sutor Mantellassi) | Ermenegildo Zegna