Tips for Breaking in a Leather Jacket: The Schott NYC Jacket Giveaway

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 8, 2009 · 1,085 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style


Editor’s note: While the Saddleback giveaway last night, we’ve got another awesome holiday season giveaway of one the finest leather products in the land: a jacket from Schott NYC. Here Schott shares its tips in breaking in a leather jacket. For a chance to win one of their uber-manly jackets and coats, check below for details.

Tips for Breaking in a Leather Jacket

1. Figure out what type of leather you are working with. To break in a jacket, the leather must be strong enough to withstand abuse. Lambskin is soft and luxurious but does not have the same tensile strength of cowhide or goatskin. Leather is not like fabric in the sense that you can stitch up a hole; marks and scratches are permanent on skins. It is important to choose a strong durable leather to really wear it in and make it conform to you.

2. Take it slow. Anything you do to the jacket cannot be undone. Look at old leather jackets that are worn in and see where there is the most wear to the leather. Usually the collar, pockets and under the sleeves get the most wear from friction and rubbing. Leather will naturally break in unevenly over time so be sure not to be too precise.

3. Get caught in a light rain. Water will soften up the leather and allow you to stretch and crease at specific points on your body. Many people will tell you to put your leather jacket in the washing machine and dryer, which is a very effective method but will cause serious shrinkage of the leather. In order to avoid shrinking your jacket significantly, wear it through a light drizzle until the leather is damp. Bend your arms, find a punching bag, or do some pushups, anything you can to get some wrinkles in the right places while the jacket is wet until it dries on you. If you can’t wait for the weather, lightly spritzing the jacket with water will work too, but just be sure to do it slowly and not to drench it. As it dries it will form to your body.

4. Rough it up. To take off some of the finish in highly worn areas, use steel wool to lightly and unevenly scratch the surface. Sandpaper is generally too abrasive and harder to control. Remember to use uneven strokes and go very slowly to check your progress because you can’t go back and erase the scratches. However, the jacket will continue to change and break in over time so if you make a mistake just try rubbing this area more as you wear it to naturally break it in. Crumple the jacket in a ball, tie it up with twine and play catch with it; the more you throw it around and soften it up, the more it takes on your unique shape and fit.

5. There is no substitute for just wearing it. Each Schott jacket starts as a blank canvas for years of wear and customization. Each scratch and nick tells a story unique to the person wearing it whether it is on their motorcycle for a cross country road trip or to the ball game and back.

The Schott NYC Jacket Giveaway

A lot of leather jacket makers try to spin stories about their company’s heritage (even if they go way back to 1980) while making World War II-style jackets. Schott’s, on the other hand, is a true-blue, real-deal, slice of Americana. In 1913, brothers Irving and Jack Schott started making raincoats in a basement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Innovators from the beginning, they were the first to put a zipper on a jacket and the first to design and produce a leather motorcycle jacket (the Perfecto-named after Irving’s favorite cigar). At the start of World War II, Schott’s was commissioned by the military to make bomber jackets for its airmen and pea coats for its sailors. Schott’s would produce these leather and wool jackets for the US Military for the next 60 years.

Post-war, Marlon Brando made Schott’s Perfecto motorcycle jacket famous in the iconic film The Wild Ones. And James Dean added to the legend, wearing the jacket everywhere he went until his tragic death.

Today the company is still run by third and fourth generation members of the Schott family. They still make most of their coats and jackets right here in the USA. And they still design their outerwear with a rugged, manly style that manages to invoke both tradition and quality and freedom and rebellion.

Now one of these babies can be yours. Enter the Schott NYC giveaway for a chance to don one of these legendary coats and jackets. You have two ways to enter: leaving a comment or Twittering about the contest. Do both to up your chances of winning.

1)Leave a comment

Visit the Schott NYC website and pick out the coat or jacket you would like to win if you are so lucky as to have your name drawn. Schott’s will give you any jacket up to $500. If you have your eye on one over $500, that’s okay, as long as you’re willing to pay the difference.

Leave a comment sharing your selection with us.

2) Twitter It!

Twitter this message to enter:

Just entered to win a Schott NYC Leather Jacket. Just retweet to enter yourself:

A winner will randomly be drawn and will receive one jacket up to $500 in value!

The contest ends Monday, December 14 at 11:00 pm CST.

Follow Schott on Facebook and Twitter: and

1001 Justin December 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket 135 in black 42 is my favorite.

1002 Joshua Barber December 13, 2009 at 7:13 pm

I would choose the Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket 118, unless my wife wants a leather jacket… and then I’d get her whatever she likes.


1003 Justin W December 13, 2009 at 7:28 pm

If I could get the A-2 Flight Jacket A2SM in a Small it would make my YEAR

1004 Benjamin Staples December 13, 2009 at 7:55 pm

How much is a Perfecto?

1005 Christopher Glenn December 13, 2009 at 8:11 pm

The Military Style Antique Lambskin Leather Bomber Jacket 233 in size 40 is just what I love.

1006 Anna Barber December 13, 2009 at 8:30 pm
1007 Tom O December 13, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Torn between the classic Perfecto, the B3 Bomber or the G1 Navy. Probably the Perfecto.

1008 Edward Vinter December 13, 2009 at 8:43 pm
1009 appleuser December 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Wool Car Coat DU738 in grey. Very nice coat.

1010 Travis Roehm December 13, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Vintage Motorcycle Jacket 585 for me. Thanks!

1011 Alex M. December 13, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I’d totally go for the Split Cowhide Leather Rancher Coat 359. Reminds me quite a bit of the coat that the local sheriff wore in the film “Misery”… although things didn’t turn out so great for him, he had a cool coat.

1012 Mary Boerger December 13, 2009 at 9:45 pm

The Classic Racer Jacket 141L would look fantastic on my husband. He totally deserves it!

1013 Michael December 13, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I would most definitely have to go with the Classic Wool Naval Pea Coat with leather trim, 740 C. Simply for its timelessness.

1014 Chris Prendergast December 13, 2009 at 10:35 pm

I absolutely adore the Classic B-3 Sheepskin Leather Bomber Jacket!

1015 Wayne December 13, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Wool Car Coat DU738

It would be great to wear while I’m walking around campus.

1016 Aaron S December 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Sweet Jackets! So many to choose from and if I won, then I would narrow down the choices (Casual Weekend is at the top for now). Thanks for holding the giveaway.

1017 A.J. December 13, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Definitely the wool car coat (DU738)

1018 sunny December 13, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Military Style Antique Lambskin Leather Bomber Jacket

1019 Matthew Parker December 13, 2009 at 11:37 pm

That vintage motorcycle 585 is me, either that or the classic horsehide racer.

1020 Evan Mannweiler December 13, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Classic 32 Oz. Melton Wool Naval Pea Coat 740. Black.

1021 clark lemke December 14, 2009 at 12:01 am

Vintaged Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket please. 40/42 i’d pay diff

1022 Llamanerds December 14, 2009 at 12:03 am
1023 Race O. December 14, 2009 at 1:46 am

Double Breasted Military Leather Jacket 650 For the Win!

1024 Keith Sawka December 14, 2009 at 1:47 am

I love the Schott cafe racer jacket in horsehide!

1025 Keith Sawka December 14, 2009 at 1:51 am
1026 Jacob McPherson December 14, 2009 at 2:44 am

I would like a Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket. I love the quality made in the USA. Keep it up.

1027 David T December 14, 2009 at 2:47 am

I would definitely have to go with the Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket

Thanks for the opportunity!

1028 Omar December 14, 2009 at 3:37 am

I would prefer the Classic 32 Oz. Melton Wool Naval Pea Coat 740 in size 40 in navy because it is timeless and functional.
See for yourself:

1029 ALFREDO URRUTIA December 14, 2009 at 6:49 am

saw this twitter contest and thought that it would be cool to own a “Single Rider Steerhide leather Motorcycle Jacket 641″
that was truly made in America. will differently consider buying from the company in the near future. thank you for opportunity to win such cool prize. Size 42

1030 Matt N. December 14, 2009 at 7:12 am

Jeans Style Leather Jacket 100 looks great!

1031 Kimberly December 14, 2009 at 7:20 am

I would LOVE the Women’s Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141W (Size 12)
Beautiful jackets! Was so tough to decide on one!!!

1032 Kimberly December 14, 2009 at 7:21 am

I posted links on twitter and facebook!!!! Hope to win the Women’s Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141W for Christmas:D

1033 Kimberly December 14, 2009 at 7:23 am

I posted links to “The Art of Manliness!” leather jacket contest on twitter! I would love to win the Women’s Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141W (size 12) So many beautiful jackets it was tough to choose only one!! Would love to win this for Christmas!
Cheers :D

1034 Wanderer December 14, 2009 at 8:48 am

The Classic Schott Racer is beautiful.

1035 Michael Doren December 14, 2009 at 10:06 am

Schott style 135!

1036 Jason December 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

Melton Wool Clasp Jacket

1037 Jim Schmidt December 14, 2009 at 10:46 am

I’ve been working on revamping my personal style from my college-era denim jackets and hoodies, and the Classic Wool Naval Pea Coat with Leather Trim (740C) would do wonders in that department.

1038 kevin d winter December 14, 2009 at 10:47 am

The Cafe Racer in Horsehide has been the object of my desire for quite some time now.

But then again, a classic pea coat might be warmer, or a perfecto might be cooler… Nah- cafe racer is the way to go. Made in America. Wow.


1039 Jeff Abbott December 14, 2009 at 11:04 am

Easy Rider Striped Motorcycle Jacket, size 44.

1040 Mark December 14, 2009 at 11:09 am

The Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket (141) or Vintage Motorcylce Jacket (585) would sure be nice now that I will have my 1985 Suzuki Madura soon.

1041 Rusty December 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Great selections but I got to have this one:
Satin Lined Duffle Coat

1042 Kimberly December 14, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Hey! I just posted another link via twitter! Hope to win the Women’s Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141W for Christmas:D

1043 Shannon Burkholder December 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Classic Perfecto for my manly man!

1044 Ryan Harris December 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Classic B-3 Sheepskin Leather Bomber Jacket for me. Grandpa used to wear one, be pretty neat if I could too.

1045 Kyle December 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Definitely the double breasted military jacket (650)

1046 Tom Luczycki December 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Arrg! The Classic Racer 141 vs. the Western Fringe 395?
Depends upon which personality that manifests itself when/if I win.

1047 Carter December 14, 2009 at 2:48 pm

the 135 is a winner! maybe i will be too…

1048 M. Pinot December 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Dying for the Women’s Washed Lambskin Fitted Cafe Racer JF202W in small

1049 kylack December 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Had a Schott 141 way back in the day. Never should have given it up. I think today I’d go for the brown 585. Looks pretty sweet!

1050 Jim December 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I’ll take the Vintaged Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket. Paying the difference is still a deal.

1051 vince December 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm
1052 Michael Luevane December 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Those jackets and coats look beautiful.
I’d love to have a Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket (#118)
Yes, I’ll pay the difference that my girth adds to the price :)

1053 Brett Johnson December 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Easily a Classic Racer 143 in size 36

1054 Derek D. December 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I am a simple guy. A-2 Flight Jacket in XXL for me.

1055 Joe Jaklitch December 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I really dig the Classic Perfecto Steerhide Leather Motorcycle Jacket 618. The peacoats are great, but I have several peacoats already. I have yet to find a leather jacket that suits me, but I feel a jacket from a company such as Schott would be pretty reliable.

1056 Frank Wick December 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm

#118 – Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket! I could paint “The Horror” across the front instead of ‘Johnny’. Crossing my fingers!

1057 Ethan December 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket – enough said.

1058 Ben Park December 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm

i really like the Lambskin Bomber Jacket JF224 in black. There are so many good jackets for sale on their site, but the average starting size is a XL/XXL! please restock some M!!

1059 John Park December 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I like the police jacket, but they dont have my size :(

1060 Kelson December 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Double breasted military jacket 650 Quite possibly the best looking jacket ever. Although the Mens multi zip wool field jacket looks great as well.

1061 Reid December 14, 2009 at 5:58 pm

I would have to go with the Double Breasted Military Leather Jacket 650.

1062 Alex December 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm

My choice would be the Easy Rider Jacket, #671. Can’t go wrong with Captain America! Although the Classic Perfecto is looking pretty good, too….

1063 TJ December 14, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Multizip Racer Jacket JF221, it’s a sick jaket. Small btw.

1064 TJ December 14, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I also can’t spell jacket..

1065 Doughboy December 14, 2009 at 8:40 pm

A-2 Flight Jacket A2SM Nothing beats a classic jacket like that.

1066 Si Jia Li December 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Cowhide Casual Racer 654

Although it’s a tough choice between that and A-2 Flight Jacket A2SM. No way to know without trying it on first.

1067 Jerry December 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm

i’m a 48, thanks for the jacket (i know its early but im hopeful)

1068 James December 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Under the wire! The Double Breasted Military Leather Jacket 650 is a fine piece of America, probably in XL (I’m a tall 42/43).

1069 Jafner December 14, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Really like the Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141 in black (size M/40).

1070 Chris Kennard December 14, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Men’s Slim Fitting Wool Peacoat DU704I in a brown large.

1071 Aaron Morse December 14, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I’ll put my name in for the 118 Classic Perfecto!

1072 CTeufelJr December 14, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Vintage Motorcycle Jacket 585, I love the vintage style.

1073 Clint Miller December 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm

The Classic Perfecto looks pretty sweet. I’d be pretty stoked to win one as I’m sure it would add man points to my appearance.

1074 lesterBrown December 14, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Classic Perfecto Steerhide Leather Motorcycle Jacket 618

thank you folks!

1075 Frank December 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm

The A-2 Flight Jacket looks good to me….

1076 Hospadaruk December 14, 2009 at 10:57 pm
1077 Debra Luczycki December 14, 2009 at 11:00 pm

I know that the Western Fringe Leather Jacket would definitely enhance my mans manliness!!!

1078 Thomas F. Shamma December 14, 2009 at 11:18 pm

This jacket is incredible. I want like six of them. I’ll settle for one… if I win…

1079 Greg December 14, 2009 at 11:29 pm

The Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141.

1080 Samuel V. December 15, 2009 at 1:48 am

Lets see if i win

I’ll go with Easy Rider Striped Leather Motorcycle Jacket 671

wish me luck!!!

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