Genuine leather jackets make a statement. Whether right off the hanger or after leather repair, the material can feel stiff and heavy. It will soften and become more comfortable with time, but there are ways you can speed up the process. 

How to Break In a Leather Jacket

1. Wear It Often 

It may sound obvious, but the easiest way to reduce the rigidity of natural leather is to wear it. The heat from your body, as well as your regular movements, will stretch the fibers, making them more flexible.

You can layer the jacket over a chunky sweater or other thick fabrics for further stretching. 

2. Massage It

tailoringIf wearing your jacket isn't feasible due to heat or wet weather, breaking down the stiffness with your hands is almost as effective. Gently tug, stretch, and massage the jacket.

Rolling the jacket into and out of a ball repeatedly will help develop creases in the leather. Do this once or twice a week until it reaches the desired feel. 

3. Use Leather Conditioner

Leather conditioner can help break down the stiffness of the leather, making it more supple as well as preventing dryness and cracking.

Saddle soap works well in many cases, but check the manufacturer’s label for care instructions first. Look at the soap bottle, too; some contain high concentrations of ingredients like lye that may cause brittleness or discoloration. 

You can also ask a leather repair specialist to recommend a high-quality leather conditioner that's right for your specific material. Apply a thin coat and massage it into the material using a soft cloth every three months or so.  


Well-loved leather jackets can last for years with proper care. Keep your jackets looking new with tailoring and leather repair at Wo's Custom Tailoring on the Upper East Side. For over 40 years, these tailors have provided custom tailoring and alterations for Manhattanites who want to look their best. Contact them today at (212) 988-9889. Visit them online to learn more about their services.