Leather jackets are iconic, probably in large part because form has followed function. The B-3 Bomber jacket, perhaps the most iconic leather jacket, kept aviators warm in trying conditions, and allowed them operate an aircraft in combat conditions. Likewise, A-3 jacket of fighter pilots, provided protection for the elements in the tighter confines of a single-seat cockpit, and without the quite the demands of high-altitude night flight warmth.
Motorcycle jackets, of course, have been the calling card of outlaws and wannabes for more than a half-century. The most familiar “biker” style, was initally popularized by police motor-officers, an ironic turn. Other jacket styles have their origins as deep as board track racing, when an unprotected get off could mean life threatening splinter wounds.
But leather as protective gear goes back to the classical age, as boiled and cured leather, served as defence against edged and blunt weapons alike. Perhaps the origins of leather as warrior-wear provides its timeless appeal today.