A fine leather jacket is a rite of passage. They can be luxurious, elegant, badass, or all of the above. For some, it can even be the defining wardrobe accessory that anchors an entire style.
However, leather jackets can also be, for many, prohibitively expensive. Now, the last thing you want when buying a luxury item on a budget is to feel like you’re making concessions or compromises. So where does one turn when they want to buy a luxury leather jacket on a budget?
Well, Thursday Boot Company, the disruptive bootmaker from NYC, might have just the thing.
Thursday Racer Jacket Pros and Cons
If you’re in a rush, here are the pros and cons of this very disruptive jacket.
- Phenomenal value
- Available in three different cuts: slim, athletic, and relaxed
- Elegant profile
- Quality stitching and construction throughout
- All jackets (except Black Matte) are lambskin
- Slightly inconsistent leather grain
- Polyester lining could be of higher quality fabric (Silk blend, viscose, etc)
The Café Racer Jacket Materials and Construction
- Lambskin leather (or suede)
- Cotton & Polyester lining
- Three fits available
Thursday has been making jackets for a few years now, but they haven’t received the same level of exposure or focus as their boots and shoes. While the initial few releases received some mixed reviews, the current generation of jackets is very impressive.
The quickest way to ruin the fun of buying something is to be reminded that you can’t afford something fancier. It just ruins the romance. With regards to the pure feel of what a luxury leather jacket should be, the Thursday Racer does not disappoint.
The Racer comes in 5 different colorways: Black Matte, Black, Natural Taupe Suede, Tobacco, and Natural. Our editors Troy and Nick are wearing the Tobacco and Natural jackets, respectively.
Most of them are made from lambskin, and Matte Black made from Thursday’s new ‘Rugged and Resilient’ cowhide. The lambskin leather feels supple and elegant to the touch with a satisfying, yet not dramatic, weight. The stitching throughout is tight and even, with rolled edges underscoring a general cleanliness of construction.
On the inside of the jacket is a silky, if somewhat synthetic feeling liner made from a cotton and polyester blend. The sleeves, like the interior of all of the pockets are a smooth polyester. Speaking of the pockets, the two exterior and two interior pockets are large enough to be comfortable and functional, but don’t add excess material or lumpiness to the jacket’s profile. The construction inside is as neat and tidy as it is on the outside, with no loose threads or shoddiness to be found. Assuming no aversion to synthetic fabric, the only potential complaint that could be made with the lining material would be with the slight crinkly sound it makes.
Note that we also wore in one of the first generation of Thursday’s Flight Jackets which had a poor quality lining that tore. This was a common complaint around Thursday’s earlier jackets that they’ve since fixed; we’ve had no issues with this lining.
The hardware on the Racer is fairly minimal. The zipper has a nice substance and feels solid, unlikely to bind up or wear out anytime soon.
Overall, the jacket has a slim, slightly structured fit as a more fashion focused or luxury jacket should be. Not only does the jacket come in sizes S-XXL but now in three different fits: Slim, Athletic, and Relaxed. Slim, being the most fitted, tapered, and structured, Athletic with more accommodation for wider shoulders and a broader chest, and Relaxed offering the most roomy fit throughout.
This amount of variety and choice in leather jackets is extremely rare and is extremely exciting.
[Further Reading: How to Care for a Leather Jacket]
Thursday Racer Jacket’s Price & Value
Leather jackets are typically investments no matter how you shake it. But shopping for one on a budget can prove a frustrating and often disappointing experience. There are few things worse when making an aspirational purchase than coming face to face with evidence of the corners that have been cut. At $349, does Thursday’s Racer feel like a compromise?
To be perfectly honest, no. While early jackets had less-than-perfect lining and buttons, this new generation is significantly higher quality. The brand is known for constantly iterating on their designs, and it’s heartening to see that they responded to their initial feedback.
Overall, the Thursday Racer is a spectacular jacket for an extremely reasonable price. The finishing is lovely and the construction solid.
So how has Thursday managed to offer a jacket that compares to other more expensive jackets from more prominent fashion labels? Certainly this is because of their direct-to-consumer business model that cuts out brick and mortar stores, though it’s also worth noting this is lambskin, not cowhide, which is a hair thinner and less durable than cowhide. But given this is a lightweight jacket to be worn casually and not for providing protection on a motorbike, the choice of lambskin won’t affect how the customer wears it — and it makes for a softer, smoother feel.
When buying a leather jacket, or indeed any luxury wardrobe item, the way you feel when putting it on and wearing it is at least as, if not more important than, how the jacket itself is made. If that tactile pleasure is missing or obscured by quality issues or cheap materials, then the entire experience is ruined. While it is true, to an extent, that you get what you pay for, there is no denying that luxury leather goods are often subject to excessive markups and hype surrounding certain name brands and labels.
This is all to say, half of what you’re paying for with a luxury leather jacket (and this is indeed a luxury jacket) is the leather and craftsmanship, and the other half is the fantasy of it all. You’re paying for the romance of what a leather jacket means and how you feel while wearing it. We all want to feel that sense of elegance that can only come from wearing a beautifully made garment, crafted from rich, supple leather.
By that standard then, the Thursday Racer isn’t just a good leather jacket, it’s a great one.