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

801 Dan December 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Its a toss up between the Double Breasted Military Leather Jacket 650 and the Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket… guess i’ll have a tough decision to make when I win this contest…

802 LM December 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Men’s Multi-Zipper Leather Bomber Jacket 8H801
yeaaaahhhhh That’s the jacket for me! It was MADE for me! I mean, they actually said, “hey, come here we will make you a jacket” and they did….they just forgot to give it to me….then……when they first made it……….

803 Caleb December 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Leather Naval Pea Coat 140 black. either a 34 or 36. It’s been a while since i’ve bought a jacket so i’ll need to remeasure.

804 LM December 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

I really love this jacket … the true owner (who’s love is pure for the jacket) should have the jacket….that would be me

805 Josh December 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I think I would get the Jeans Style Leather Jacket 100. I have a leather coat that must be made of lamb’s skin or something, because it is starting to fray at the cuffs and by the zipper. This one looks fairly durable and stylish.

806 Stuart December 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I love the look of the Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket (141) in brown and size 40. Thanks.

807 Neal Davis December 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm

618 Classic Perfecto Steerhide Leather Motorcycle Jacket. Thanks.

808 Ken Zeitung December 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Easy Rider Striped Leather Motorcycle Jacket

809 Kyle December 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Recently purchased a new bomber but would love a small a2sm for my brother

810 Thomas December 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Unlined Leather Rocker Shirt J225

811 Brian December 10, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Ohhhhh, such amazing jackets… Why, the 141 Classic Racer in black, of course! :)


812 Jeremy Briggs December 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm

What a better way to up my manliness than to own my first leather jacket. I’ve been wanting a Classic Perfecto Steerhide Leather Motorcycle Jacket in 46 for awhile now. Hopefully I get a merry christmas this year!!!!

813 Ben December 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Man, I’d definitely go for the double breasted military leather jacket. Sweet. Of course, the anything in the Perfecto line is nothing to sneeze at.

814 Shaun December 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Love the Classic Wool Naval Pea Coat with Leather Trim 740C! I’ll have one of those please :)

815 Dan December 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket looks pretty sweet!

816 peter December 10, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I am loving the Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141

817 Peter December 10, 2009 at 7:32 pm

The Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide 135 looks like the perfect jacket. Great article and resource.

818 Spencer Adams December 10, 2009 at 8:14 pm

The Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket 135 in black looks just right. What an incredible collection of jackets.

819 Brandon Esparza December 10, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Washed Lambskin Jean Jacket JF202
I want one!!

820 Dino December 10, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Nothing could possibly beat the original Perfecto. Nothing has looked cooler since.

821 Clark December 10, 2009 at 8:54 pm

The whole line looks great. However, I’ll stick with the Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket 135 in black.

822 Reid December 10, 2009 at 8:56 pm

I would like the Classic Schott Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket in Horsehide 641HH;

823 Nate December 10, 2009 at 9:03 pm

The leather chaps could be fun, but not $400 worth of fun. I am not the leather pants kind of guy. I already have a nice black leather coat. I would go with a little more casual A2 flight jacket. I liked the bomber jackets, but don’t care for the furry collar.

824 Dave Tholen December 10, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Fantastic looking product. I would choose the Weekend Pebbled Cowhide – 135 for its simple good looks and style.

825 a remick December 10, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141

It is SO cold in San Francisco today, and shivering is SO unmanly.

826 J D December 10, 2009 at 9:52 pm

It may be more than $500 but the Classic B-3 Sheepskin Leather Bomber Jacket is worth paying the difference for.

827 armod December 10, 2009 at 9:55 pm

I’ve been looking for a nice pea coat and the navy design is spot on

740 Classic 32 Oz. Melton Wool Naval Pea Coat

828 Jeff Loselle December 10, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141

829 Jack H December 10, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Great article and contest — I would love to own and wear the Classic 32 Oz. Melton Wool Naval Pea Coat 740. Thanks!

830 Frank December 10, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Wool Car Coat DU738, Oxford Grey, Size Medium.

831 Marc V December 10, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Men’s Slim Fitting Wool Peacoat DU704I. beautiful, classic, elegant. a perfect college coat, and a beautiful khaki color that you don’t usually see in other pea coats.

832 Kevin Fehlen December 11, 2009 at 12:04 am

The B-3 sheepskin definitely. I’ve been wanting one for years. And I would not mind paying the $188 difference one bit for such a fine coat.

833 Terry Karney December 11, 2009 at 12:12 am

I need a new motorcycle jacket, since the one I own is a bit scarred from a crash, so I’d go for the Classic Perfecto Steerhide Leather Motorcycle Jacket 618.

834 Eric December 11, 2009 at 12:17 am

Men’s Classic Horsehide Racer Motorcycle Jacket with Spread Collar

835 Chris Panzero December 11, 2009 at 1:14 am

Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket 135. It calls to me… Ahhh, why can’t everyone have leather jackets like these?

836 Chris December 11, 2009 at 1:22 am

Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket 135

837 Joe December 11, 2009 at 1:25 am

Definitely the Vintage Motorcycle jacket 585. It would finally give me a reason to get that motorcycle!

838 Bob Killen December 11, 2009 at 1:33 am

I think I’d have to go with the Vintage Motorcycle Jacket 585…My current leather jacket is starting to show its age and this would be the perfect replacement.

839 Kevin December 11, 2009 at 1:41 am

I don’t think there’s a man out there who hasn’t wanted a Classic Perfecto at some point in his life, that’d be the one for me.

840 Nolan Bryan Lynch December 11, 2009 at 2:21 am

One Star Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket 613

841 Duncsn December 11, 2009 at 3:02 am

Has to be the Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket (135). Made in the USA and a classic design.

842 scott December 11, 2009 at 3:15 am

My favorite jacket is the Classic Schott Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket in Horsehide

843 Dan December 11, 2009 at 4:27 am

Vintaged Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket 618V1

844 jack December 11, 2009 at 5:31 am

Loved the tips

845 Ron Russell December 11, 2009 at 5:42 am

I favor the third and fifth method…getting caught in the rain, and no substitute for wearing it, have done both in my 17 year old Schott 184, and it looks great.
I’d never steel wool a jacket, or crumple it into a ball and toss it around, that seems like abuse of a high quality garment.

Tough choice on jacket styles, need more time to think about it….

846 Tarcas December 11, 2009 at 8:41 am

I like the Cowhide Casual Racer 654. It’s a nice simple style, neither showy nor overly-casual.

847 Kirk December 11, 2009 at 8:56 am

585 brown vintage motorcycle jacket

848 Dave December 11, 2009 at 9:04 am

Its pretty hard to beat the Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141. Such a clean look.

849 JC December 11, 2009 at 9:31 am

Classic Wool Naval Pea Coat with Leather Trim 740C.

850 nadiv December 11, 2009 at 9:56 am

I fancy me some “G-1 Leather Flight Jacket G1S”, it’s simple yet attractive.

851 Kevin December 11, 2009 at 10:00 am

The A-2 Flight Jacket is just awesome. I just saw a couple of these in the Pima Air and Space Museum, along with a bunch of other B-17 memorabilia. This jacket is a tribute to the many men whose efforts helped turn the tide in Europe and win the war.

852 Mark December 11, 2009 at 10:25 am

So many great jackets & coats, it’s hard to choose just one. However, I think the Vintage Motorcycle Jacket (585) is the one for me. Thanks.

853 Jake B. December 11, 2009 at 11:28 am

The Classic B-3 Sheepskin Leather Bomber Jacket is a jacket I have been wanting for years. Living in the Rockies I see my fair share of sub-zero weather and think that this coat will be perfect.

854 Jimmy December 11, 2009 at 11:46 am

I would love the #233 Military style antique lambskin bomber jacket! Booyahh!

855 Jennifer Gannon December 11, 2009 at 11:53 am

Women’s Washed Lambskin Fitted Cafe Racer JF202W

Fantastic jacket- I do the PR for Schott NYC in England but sadly for me we are mainly menswear?! Is that sad? Or is it a bonus as it means I’m dressing male models?! Fingers crossed for this majorly xx

856 birchum December 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Those Scholl coats look great! I like the Long Navy Peacoat, 140L.

Thanks Art of Manliness!

857 Deborah December 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Great article. I think my son would look marvelous in the Antique Lambskin Bomber Leather Jacket.

I just discovered the Art of Manliness website today. I’m impressed. I will be sharing it with everyone I know. Thanks!

858 Brandon December 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Much like several others, I would totally go for an large A2 jacket in antique: A2SM

859 Connor December 11, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I’d have my mind set on a Wool Car Coat (DU738)…boy would that be nice…looks like a great company.

860 Andrew December 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I’m torn between several, of course. But ultimately, I would go with the Washed Lambskin Jean Jacket and just try to live up to its level of coolness.

861 Rene December 11, 2009 at 2:16 pm

So many amazing jackets to chose from.
But I think the one I would like would be Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket 135.
I think it is very stylish

862 Geoff December 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm
863 Dave December 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I personally like the G-1 Leather Flight Jacket in Big sizes. As a bigger guy, I’m always having trouble finding jackets. I have always wanted a leather jacket but have never been able to find a quality one in my size and wasnt getting raped by the price. This one seems to be the fit for me. And it looks way cool.

864 Paul December 11, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Jeans Style Leather Jacket 100

865 Mike Lewis December 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I really like the Double Breasted Military Leather Jacket 650 and would happily pay the extra 30 bucks if I won.

866 Jeff December 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I have to say I would like the Naval Pea Coat (740). It looks great.

867 David December 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I like the A-2 Flight Jacket.

868 Matt December 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide. Simple as that.

869 Cobalt December 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm

The Classic Racer Leather Jacket 141. It really is classic. And I would easily wear it out, as in, wear it way too often. Just like my last Schott jacket, which has seen better days.

870 sid December 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Vintage Motorcycle Jacket 585

871 Michael December 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Hands down, the A2 in medium. The silk escape map lining really is the kicker.

872 Dave Lewis December 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm

An A-2 Flight Jacket, a Bailey Adventurer hat, and a Smith and Wesson .44 special Triple Lock. Is there a problem here?

873 Ben December 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I’d go with the 135, the Casual Weekend Cowhide jacket. Looks great and comfortable.

874 Gerard Heidgerken December 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Vintage Motorcycle Jacket 585 all the way – GORGEOUS!

875 Patrick Szabo December 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Classic Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket 141… Love it.

Super Classic. I’d love to have this jacket and have it be the thing i give my grandson when he’s looking through my closet for new clothes after high school.

876 Marc J December 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm

I love the Easy Rider replica!

877 Chris December 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Got to go with the classic Perfecto 188. The Wild One.

878 Kevin Heredia December 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Certainly the Washed Lambskin Jean Jacket JF202. It has a rugged, manly, vintage look to it that would make anyone feel like The Man.

879 Daniel December 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm

I like the A-2 Flight jacket (A2SM) in “Antique” and Large. What a great piece of history.

880 Roy December 11, 2009 at 9:16 pm

The G-1 Top Gun Leather Bomber Jacket G1TG has me drooling. As a soon-to-be U.S. Marine I would love to be seen in this manly bomber coat. It is priced at $575, but I would have no problem paying the difference.

881 Henry December 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Classic Racer Jacket 141

882 Tim December 11, 2009 at 9:36 pm

I lost my Navy Pea Coat shortly after leaving the Navy and I have my eye on a black Leather Naval Pea Coat 140. Mine was wool, but why not upgrade while your shopping at Schott’s!

883 Cameron December 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Clean, simple, and timeless. The A-2 reminds me of my dad’s old flight jacket.

884 Chris December 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Vintage Motorcycle Jacket 585

This brown jacket would be amazing, would be extremely happy to win and front the rest of the cost.

885 Chris December 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Vintage Motorcycle Jacket 585 (Large)

This brown jacket would be amazing, would be extremely happy to win and front the rest of the cost.

886 Ian December 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

I’m a fan of the Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket (135). Nice, clean lines – nothing too flashy.

887 Anthony December 11, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Wool Car Coat DU738 in oxford grey would look very nice on me — I drive an old car that takes a while to warm up. This would do quite nicely in these topsy turvy mid-atlantic winters.

888 Matt December 11, 2009 at 11:23 pm

The wool car coat is pretty sweet.

Wait, does it still count if the jacket I pick isn’t leather? Curses!

889 Patrick December 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm

I would absolutely love the Wool Car Coat DU738. Leather is definitely a classic look, but the Wool Coat style oozes a tough ability to look after things, and shows the character that the wearer understands that sometimes function outweighs fashion.

890 Maxwell Pollack December 12, 2009 at 12:04 am

Washed Lambskin Jean Jacket JF202 is my pick.

891 Marko December 12, 2009 at 12:06 am

The Classic Melton Wool Naval Pea Coat 740 looks very elegant indeed. That would certainly be my choice.

892 Todd December 12, 2009 at 12:17 am

I’m a big fan of the Men’s Slim Fitting Wool Peacoat since I am a slender smaller guy and I need a more mature upgrade. Navy and size Small

893 Abe December 12, 2009 at 1:10 am

I’d have to go with the classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket (#118).

894 Joshua Jay December 12, 2009 at 1:29 am

I don’t actually need a jacket ATM (goodwilled a decent looking wool trenchcoat, which is a great coat for what I’ve to spend on the things right now), but were I to win one I’d probably go with the 184SM A-2 Naked Cowhide Leather Flight Jacket.

895 Wes December 12, 2009 at 1:30 am

Gotta dig me some Multizip Racer Jacket JF221

896 davidd December 12, 2009 at 2:30 am

So many incredible jackets on the Schott website! What an amazing selection. If I had to select just one, I think it would have to be the #585 Vintage Motorcycle Jacket. Stylish, yet practical for day-to-day wear.

And owning the jacket might even inspire me to finally look seriously at getting a Royal Enfield.

897 Daniel Shuford December 12, 2009 at 3:09 am

I’ve actually been eying the Classic 32 oz. Melton Wool Naval Peacoat 740 for quite a while. What a wonderful surprise it would be to to win it!

898 Bucky December 12, 2009 at 3:59 am

Classic Pebbled Weekend Jacked #135 would do me very well.

Classic indeed!

899 Kevin December 12, 2009 at 5:52 am

135 Casual Weekend Pebbled Cowhide Leather Jacket looks awesome! size 36

900 Michael December 12, 2009 at 6:47 am

I’d love to have the Cowhide Casual Racer (654).

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