How To Break In & Stretch A Faux Leather Jacket The Right Way

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

If you recently purchased a vegan leather jacket, congratulations! You’re making an incredible fashion statement—not to mention a socially responsible one. Faux leather is both cost-effective and cruelty-free, making it a much kinder choice compared to real leather. But you may have noticed that your new jacket feels a little stiff and maybe even makes a squeaking noise when you move. Don’t worry—these are common issues with new faux leather jackets.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliated; we may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. We only ever add brands & products we truly believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands who are making the world a better place!

Fortunately, breaking in and stretching your faux leather jacket can help alleviate these problems and make it more comfortable to wear. It will also improve how the jacket fits to your body and make it more flexible, which will make it easier to move in. In other words, it’ll feel like a second skin in no time. So if you’re ready to break in your faux leather jacket, here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started.


  1. Buy the right size jacket
  2. Wear the jacket in
  3. Soften and stretch leather by using oil, steam, water or heat
  4. Try a lubricant on the seams
  5. Follow the care label
  6. Patience is a virtue!

Products and Tools To Break In and Stretch A Faux Leather Jacket

As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. We only ever add brands & products we truly believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands who are making the world a better place!

Wear The Jacket In

It sounds obvious, but the easiest way to break in a faux leather jacket is simply by wearing it for periods of time over a few days. Yes, you’ve heard that right – the same process for breaking in real leather applies to its faux and vegan cousins! If you are short of time – don’t worry there are other options further on in the article you can try.

Wear it around the house

To gradually break in the jacket, start by wearing it for short periods of time (15-30 mins) and gradually lengthen the time as the fabric begins to give. When you are wearing the jacket, move and stretch the leather by walking, reaching for something, or bending down. Get creative with activities around the house like dusting or vacuuming that will enable you to move freely while still breaking into your jacket. You’ll be astonished at how quickly its material softens up!

Wear it outside

After a few days or sessions of wearing it around the house, it’s time to take it out for a spin. This might be after a few days or sessions of wearing it inside, depending on how quickly the fabric starts to soften. Wear it out shopping or running errands. By doing this you’ll continue to stretch and move the leather and break it in further.

Soften and Stretch the Leather

If your faux leather jacket is stiff and unyielding, to help soften the fabric, there are still a few more options you can try which will help to soften and stretch the leather to make it more pliable.


Gently steaming your jacket inside out with a handheld or standing steamer is a great way to soften and stretch your jacket. If you are short of time or on a budget – go for a handheld. I have both and only pull the upright one out (it’s an absolute pain to get out and put away) when I am steaming a pile of clothes.

I own the Tefal DT8150 Handheld Clothes Steamer and use it most mornings. TIP – If you are in the UK you can currently pay for it over 5 monthly installments on Amazon!

Editors Choice
Electrolux Portable Handheld Garment and Fabric Steamer 1500 Watts

I've lost count of the clothes steamers I've gone through but this is easily the best one for all fabrics and travel. Steams faux and vegan leather garments easily and has a long cord (many don't).

  • Heats up extremely quickly
  • 3 meter cord
  • Continuous steam
  • Easy to use and refill
As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. We only ever add brands & products we truly believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands who are making the world a better place!

How to Stretch and Soften a Faux Leather Jacket Using a Steamer

  1. Set Steamer to Lowest Temperature

    Before you begin, make sure to set your steamer to the lowest temperature. For most fabric steamers, the setting can range from 105-140°F. Don’t turn it up any higher! Similarly to ironing, too much heat can damage your faux leather jacket.

  2. Patch Test a Small Area of the Jacket

    Before steaming your faux leather jacket, you need to conduct a patch test on an unseen area such as inside the collar or a pocket. This will help you to detect any potential heat sensitivity issues.

  3. Reverse Jacket Inside Out

    To protect your jacket and avoid any scorch marks or unwanted discoloration, remember to turn it inside out before steaming.

  4. Hang Your Jacket

    To achieve the best results, make sure to hang the jacket vertically. The steam will soften the leather and let gravity take over; it’ll pull the wrinkles down and out for a smooth finish. Use either a hanger or the rack of your standing steamer.

  5. Steam Faux Leather Jacket

    For the best results, use the steamer to evenly coat the inside of your jacket with steam. Keep the device four inches away from the jacket and only hold it on each section for one second as you move it around.

  6. Allow Jacket To Cool and Dry

    Allow your jacket to cool and dry completely before wearing it. Hang your clothing immediately after steaming and avoid folding. This will help keep the wrinkles at bay!


To break in your faux leather jacket with water, you can try the following steps:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with water and lightly mist the surface of the jacket.
  2. Allow the jacket to air dry completely.
  3. Repeat the process a few times until the jacket feels softer

Only use a small amount of water and allow the jacket to completely dry between applications. Using too much water or not allowing the jacket to dry will cause the fabric to become stiff and hard, rather than soft and pliable.


Here are the steps you can follow to break in a faux leather jacket using a hairdryer:

  1. Use a hair dryer to blow hot air onto the surface of the jacket, focusing on areas that feel stiff or rigid.
  2. Put on the jacket and wear it for a few hours, or until it feels more pliable.
  3. Repeat the process until the jacket feels comfortable and broken in.
Editors Choice
Parlux 3200 Compact Ionic & Ceramic Hair Dryer

After 15 years of hardcore use I've just replaced my first Parlux hairdryer with the Parlux 3200. Yes, it's expensive but the durability, speed and finish this hairdryer offers is well beyond any other hairdryer I've tried.

  • Most widely used hairdryer by professionals and salons
  • 550 grams - lightweight to hold but extremely powerful
  • 71 cubic metres/hour concentrated airflow 
  • Ionic ions and ceramic to reduce static and stress to the hair
  • 3 meter cable
As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. We only ever add brands & products we truly believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands who are making the world a better place!

Keep in mind that faux leather may be sensitive to heat and can become damaged if it is warmed for too long.

Faux Leather Conditioner

Another way to soften the leather is to use a conditioner or cream. This will help to moisturize the fabric and make it more flexible.

Editors Choice
Furniture Clinic Conditioner and Protection Cream

Many leather conditioners are unsuitable for faux and vegan leather. Furniture Clinic Leather Conditioner can be used on vegan shoes, clothes and furniture.

  • Water-based solution - contains no harsh or abrasive chemicals
  • Conditions and protects in one product 
  • Works on synthetic, faux and vegan leather
  • Easy to use
As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. We only ever add brands & products we truly believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands who are making the world a better place!

How to Break In Faux Leather Jacket Using Conditioner

  1. Start with a clean jacket. Make sure there is no dirt or debris on the fabric.
  2. Spot-test the conditioner in an hidden area of the jacket, such as the inside of the collar or sleeve.
  3. Apply a small amount of conditioner or cream to the jacket. You can use your fingers or a cloth.
  4. Rub the conditioner or cream into the fabric until it’s evenly distributed.
  5. Let the conditioner soak in for at least 15 minutes before wiping off any excess with a clean, dry cloth.
  6. Put your jacket on and test it out.

If your jacket is still stiff, you can try repeating the process. I recommend using a different product if the first one doesn’t seem to be working.

Lubricate The Seams

If your jacket is still stiff, you can try using a lubricant on the seams around the collar, shoulders and arms. This will help to reduce the stiffness between the two surfaces of the joined leather.

You can use a variety of lubricants such as oils, lotions, or even Vaseline. My preference is natural coconut oil which I find easier to apply than vaseline (plus I use it for my hair and shaving my legs!). Simply apply a thin layer to the seams and rub it in.

Editors Choice
Handcraft Fractionated Coconut Oil - 100% Pure & Natural
  • Includes a dispenser
  • 100% coconut oil - no added ingredients
  • Paraben free
  • Sulfate free
  • Cruelty free
As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. We only ever add brands & products we truly believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands who are making the world a better place!

How to Lubricate the Seams of a Faux Leather Jacket

  1. Choose your lubricant. Any type of oil or lotion will work.
  2. Apply a thin layer to the seams. You can use your fingers or a cotton swab.
  3. Focus your application on the seams around the arms, around the collar, and the body of the jacket
  4. Rub the lubricant into the seams so that it’s evenly distributed.
  5. Remove excess lubricant with a soft, clean cloth.
  6. Put on your jacket and test it out.

What To Avoid

When breaking in a faux leather jacket, it’s important to avoid certain techniques that can damage the fabric.

  1. Avoid using excessive force or applying too much pressure to the fabric.
  2. Do not use harsh abrasion techniques such as scrubbing or rubbing too hard on the material. This makes the faux leather more vulnerable to tearing.
  3. Avoid harsh chemicals or products that are not specifically designed for use on faux leather.
  4. Steer clear of soaking the faux leather too much, as it could cause saturation and lead to permanent damage.

Follow The Care Label

One of the main reasons it’s so important to follow the care label when breaking in a faux leather jacket is that it will help to prevent accidental damage to the fabric. Faux leather is a synthetic material that is thinner and less durable than real leather, which makes it more prone to damage.

By following the care label, you can avoid using products or breaking in techniques that could potentially harm the jacket. You’ll also help to extend the durability of the faux leather. For example, if the care label advises against washing the jacket in a washing machine, you can avoid permanently damaging the fabric. Similarly, if the care label recommends avoiding heat or harsh chemicals, you can protect the jacket from these potential risks.

Buy The Correct Size Jacket

When breaking in a new faux leather jacket, the fit is crucial. Not only will badly fitting jackets look and feel unflattering on your body, but they are also more difficult to adjust – so make sure you get it right!

If it is too tight, the faux leather could look cheap, will be hard to keep smooth, and the fabric will bunch up and creak. If the jacket is too loose, the material will rub and squeak when you move around.

If you are anything like me, the most likely culprit is that jacket is too tight!

Breaking in and stretching a jacket that is too small can be tricky. It will be too tight and limit your range of motion making it uncomfortable – or even agonizing – to wear if you keep it zipped up. As a result, you’re less likely to wear it often, which is essential if you want to break it in properly.

What’s more, if a jacket is too big for you, it won’t maintain its shape as well as one that fits properly. As the fabric begins to move along with your body during wear, it gradually stretches becoming more supple and comfortable. However, when a jacket is overly big for someone wearing it; leather will not cling to their shape like it should or break in adequately.

To guarantee that your jacket fits you just right, grab a tape measure and wrap it around the broadest area of your chest to obtain your bust size. After that, measure the distance between the topmost part of your shoulder to wrist for sleeve length. Compare those measurements against the manufacturer’s sizing chart; keep in mind each brand might have unique sizes. if possible, try on garments before buying or pick retailers with an excellent return policy if shopping online!

Taking the time to find the right fit can make all the difference when it comes to your faux leather jacket. Not only will you look great, but it’ll also be much more comfortable to wear. The cozier you feel in your jacket, the more likely you are to wear it often and the faster you’ll break it in.

Don’t let the sizing hassle discourage you; take some extra time to find a jacket that fits you like a glove. Trust us, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Buy Better Quality Faux Leather

When it comes to faux leather jackets, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you invest in a higher quality one. Not only will the jacket be easier to break-in but also more comfortable and long-lasting. Higher quality faux leather jackets are often made with more durable and pliable materials that are likely to stiffen and creak. These jackets are likely to be more carefully constructed, with better attention paid to detail and fit.

That said, even higher quality faux leather jackets are likely to require some breaking in. The process can differ based on the leather used and someone’s shape, so even top-notch jackets may require some wearing in before they become comfortable to wear.

Brands such as Mango and Zara all offer great quality faux leather jackets that won’t break the bank.

In addition, you’ll now find cool faux-leather jackets across designer houses and at cult brands such as Nanushka. These might be more expensive, but they’ll last longer

Be Patient

When it comes to breaking in a new faux leather jacket, patience is a virtue! Depending on how stiff the seams are, how much moisture you use, and how often you wear the jacket, it could take several weeks for the jacket to become softer and more comfortable.

For a successful break-in of your new faux leather jacket, don’t attempt to rush the process. Wearing it all day right away will only cause discomfort and strain on your posture! Go slowly instead; begin wearing it for short periods of time before gradually increasing the duration as the fabric begins to soften up. Your body and this timeless garment will thank you for taking such care – we guarantee it!

So there you have it – everything you need to know about breaking in a faux leather jacket. Whether you’re new to the world of faux leather or a seasoned pro, we hope these tips and tricks have been useful and will help you get the most out of your new jacket. Happy breaking-in!

What Is Vegan Leather? (Should You Make The Switch)

Is Mirum Leather The Future of Sustainable Fashion?

How To Care For Vegan Leather

How To Stop Faux Leather Pants From Squeaking

Are Vegan Doctor Martens Waterproof or Water Resistant?