10 Not-So-Classic Takes on Fall’s Must-Have Leather Jacket

There are many downsides to the end of summer, but luckily there are just as many upsides to the beginning of fall. One of the best is that, when cooler temps hit, it’s time to slip into a snug leather jacket that offers total protection from the elements — and pretty much anything else that may come your way. Yes: September is the supreme moment when you get to break out the edgiest member of your wardrobe and channel your inner rebel.

Almost everyone, at least once in their life, has a leather jacket awakening. Usually, it’s inspired by one of the many icons who have immortalized the look throughout history. Heartthrob James Dean turned the military staple into the ultimate bad boy symbol in the 50s and he’s certainly not the only one who reinforced the rebellious side of the leather jacket’s reputation. Twenty years earlier, Amelia Earhart beat him to it when she made a major statement for gender equality flying solo across the Atlantic in her legendary aviator uniform.

These days, the Olsen twins and Kate Moss are probably among the first celebs that come to mind when you consider this practical, utilitarian piece. Donned by superstars from Madonna to Lady Gaga, the look never gets old. And while leather jackets do add a heavy dose of flat-out cool to any ensemble, they don’t necessarily have to shout “don’t mess with me” (though they’re capable of that and more). In fact, you can work these sleek items into sporty, professional and polished outfits alike.

There’s never a time when leather jackets aren’t fashionable, but they are definitely a fall must-have. And don’t forget that bona fide leather’s not a requirement, either. These days, there are lots of faux leather alternatives that don’t lose any points on the durability scale while also having the advantages of being eco-friendly and cost-effective.

No matter what it’s made of, unique details are key to finding the perfect piece for you. That could involve an unusual color, surprising embellishments, an avant-garde cut or something even more inventive. Get inspired by these 10 street style pros and discover how you can put a not-so-classic spin on a timeless leather jacket of your own.