What is Vintage Leather

What is Vintage Leather?

Many people who are more inclined to a classy look would always opt for vintage leather. Perhaps you’ve met someone who can’t stop talking about the vintage leather bag or jacket they purchased, and you can’t seem to relate because you don’t know how to differentiate between normal leather and vintage leather. This leads to the question:

What really is vintage leather?

A ‘vintage leather’ refers to a leather product that pre-dates the 1930’s. Vintage leathers are characterized by their unique features like scratches, wrinkles, and other imperfections, which are all contributing factors to its aged appearance.

Since the 1930’s down to this present date, vintage leathers made into bags, jackets, boots, and other accessories have predominantly taken over the fashion world. During the 1980s, bomber jackets featured this vintage leather look, making them quite a popular feat amongst celebrities. The bomber jackets were made with various shades of dyes.

Today, vintage leathers are been dyed with different colors creating unique highlights and adding a rough texture to it. Nevertheless, don’t be misled. Vintage and distressed leathers are two distinct types of leather, even though they might be used interchangeably.

‘Distressed leathers’ are leathers that are dyed using aniline dyes to create an artificial worn appearance.

However, for vintage leathers, there are two key distinctions.

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Vintage leather criterion

1. Age

Vintage leathers technically refer to items that are 20 – 100 years old. Antique leather or items are anything older than a hundred years. Vintage leather dates as far back as the early 1930s.

Their unique features which make up the beautiful imperfections of vintage leather makes it difficult to accurately duplicate its unique look, unlike new leathers that can be replicated using synthetic materials, that it might be confused for real leather.

Because of its eccentric design, vintage leathers are often a popular choice for making furniture like couches and chairs.

This makes new leather or synthetic leathers disparate from vintage leather because they aren’t usually as soft as that of new leather.

Bags, boots, wallets, and other accessories made with vintage leather also sport this rough and cracked feature.

2. Character

As vintage leather ages, it doesn’t wear out. Rather, this high-quality leather beautifies and develops into a lustrous sought-after patina and eccentric character that cannot be easily replicated.

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Owning a true vintage leather item is equivalent to owning a piece of history. So it’s important to take extra care of it, so it maintains that unique look.

How to wear vintage leather

Sporting a vintage leather would always be considered a classic look. If you want to be the center of attention, then a vintage leather look is a go-to investment piece that is sure to steal the show. Here’s how you can style some leather pieces.

Leather Jackets

Having a leather jacket incorporated into your lifestyle can be fun. Not to mention the grand impression it gives out when you sport one. A vintage leather jacket is a perfect leather for both sexes.

Whether it’s the classic biker look inspired by the bad boys and girls of the 1950s, a long coat inspired by the 70’s fashion, or a boxy 90’s piece, the vintage leather jacket is a must-have item in your wardrobe.

You can pair whatever vintage jacket you choose with a pair of your favorite jeans and be sure to achieve that classic rebellious look.

Leather Bags

You can never go wrong with a classic leather bag. Whether it’s a handbag, small messenger’s bag, a Dopp kit, a travel bag, or a wallet, vintage leather would give you that eccentric look, you’re opting for.

Leather Skirts

A vintage leather skirt is versatile and so it’s a compulsory item for your wardrobe. For a classic chic look, why not try a turtle neck shirt with a mini skirt. Feeling extra bold, you can fling on a leather jacket to complete the look.

Leather Pants

A vintage leather pant is an easy-to-go look. The leather pant is trendy nowadays, with so many designers creating bold looks with other fabrics.

So why not hop in on the moving train and show how chic you can be sporting a leather pant?

Journals and Notebooks

Vintage Leather Journals are a beautiful gift for those who love to ink their memories.

How to care for a vintage leather

Remember that leather can be considered a skin. Just as you need to moisturize and clean your skin to give it that glassy look, vintage leather needs to be maintained in the same way to prevent it from deteriorating.

Take to a professional

If your vintage leather is especially delicate, taking it to a professional leather cleaner to clean would be highly recommended.

Clean at home

Use a damp cloth to remove any excess dust on the surface of the leather. Avoid getting the vintage leather soaked or stained. Always use cleaning products made specifically for vintage leather.

While some might claim that leather can be washed using a washing machine set on a very mild setting, you do not want to take that risk when it has to do with your vintage leather. Always dry your leather away from sunlight or direct heat.


Conditioning your vintage leather is essential if you want it to retain its beautiful look. Conditioning your leather every 3-6 months will ensure that it never gets cracked or dry.

Ensure that whatever leather conditioner you’re using is specifically made for vintage leathers. Avoid conditioners that contain silicon and waxes as they do not enable the leather breath.

Remember to always:

  • Use a soft cloth when conditioning your vintage leather.
  • Apply the conditioner to a cloth first before using on the leather.
  • Apply the conditioner mildly and evenly until the whole surface is covered.
  • Ensure you apply light coats of conditioner to the leather.
  • Always remember to store your leather in an environment that is neither too dry nor humid.

With vintage leather now mainstream in the fashion world, little wonder that you would want to get at least a piece for yourself. Remember, leather isn’t old, instead it’s the way forward.

DIY Leather Conditioner In Five Easy Steps
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Author and Marketing Head

Grace Mukai

Grace Mukai is a Marketing Manager at Anuent with over a decade of fashion industry experience. She expertly merges her fashion passion with innovative digital marketing strategies. Known for her trendsetting vision, Grace significantly influences the fashion dialogue, making her an integral part of Anuent's success story.

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