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How to make your brand new leather biker jacket look ‘vintage’

Image displayed shows blonde hair drapped over the back of a leather jacket.

So you’ve invested in a new leather jacket, but the problem is – it looks ‘too new’. Don’t worry, you’re among friends here. We get it! We’re not usually one to take short cuts but we do have a little advice for people who want their leather to look as if it’s aged-gracefully rather than fresh from the rack.

Of course, you can always upcycle old leather jacket. That’s the beauty of this brilliant material. However, the chances of you finding the perfect vintage leather in your size, in a charity shop are few & far between – after all, that’s probably why you’re here reading this article.

Whether you’re buying a biker, a racer or a trucker – we have a few tricks up our sleeps to steer you in the right direction. You can get the vintage look without waiting an age. Just follow these simple tips from the Barneys team.

Try washed leather

A jacket with a washed or ‘rub off’ finish will have a worn, vintage-esque look from day one. These jackets are far more forgiving when it comes to bumps and scrapes, as the leather is already designed with markings for new imperfections to blend into. Hardy and stylish, a washed leather jacket is the perfect short cut to that aged leather look & feel without the hassle of trying to hunt down the perfect second-hand item.

Light wear & tear is good

If you’ve got a fresh leather jacket, don’t be afraid to get a little rough with it. Obviously we’ll always want you to handle our jackets with care, but if you’re looking to add wrinkles and texture to your leather you’ll need to simulate light wear marks. The easiest way to do this is to wear the jacket – duh! Don’t just wait until you’re leaving the house to wear your jacket, wear it at every opportunity. Keep it on indoors, let it mold to your body, make your jacket a second skin.

The more you wear your jacket the faster you’ll reach your desired look.

Keep it on the hanger

You want to get rough with your jacket, but you do want to maintain the shape. We recommend hanging your jacket on a padded hanger to ensure the jacket maintains it’s shape when it’s not in use. Don’t make the mistake of hanging your jacket on the back of a chair or on lazily hooking it on a coat hanger. This may alter the way your jacket sits on your shoulders.

Avoid logos

Nobody wants to feel like a walking billboard. Jackets that have huge logos and obvious branding can often date themselves very easily. An obvious logo will make your jacket look very ‘of it’s time’ and – if you’re bothered about this sort of thing – it can easily make you look ‘last season’ once the moment has passed.


Before we get started with this one – try this tip at your own risk! Maybe even patch test this first to ensure you like the desired effect. Select and area of the jacket that isn’t usually seen, such as under the zipline or under the collar. We also highly recommend you wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area for this one.

Rubbing the leather jacket with acetone will pull the dye away from the leather. You won’t need a lot of acetone to reach he desired effect, simply dip a cotton bud into the liquid and begin to dab away at the leather, drying off any excess to ensure it does drip over the rest of the jacket. This effect looks best when used on normal wear marks such as cuffs and elbow patches.

Buffing your leather jacket

You can use a gentle leather cleaning brush to simulate a buffed texture on your jacket. This is likely to create a subtle matte finish and take away the ‘shine’ of a brand new leather jacket.

We’ve recently seen advice online suggesting that people may use sandpaper – however, this is risky business. For starters, sandpapers come in a variety of coarseness. Secondly, softer skins that are used in fashion such as sheep nappa, pig split and newbuck will likely shred under the grain of sandpaper rather than subtly buff.

Again, patch test where appropriate before you commit to buffing your leather jacket!

Give your jacket a sun tan

We usually advice against leaving your leather jacket out in the sun, but some someone looking to simulate a worn look on their leather jacket this could be an excellent shortcut. The UV rays in the summer sunshine will bleach your leather jacket. When used strategically, an hour or so under the sun can give your jacket a subtle aged look.

However, keep a close eye on your jacket and keep rotating it to ensure the jacket bleaches evenly. We recommend setting alarms on your phone to make sure you don’t leave it out there in the sun all day!