Difference Between Jacket & Jerkin


1) The key difference between a jacket and a jerkin is their wearers; jackets are worn by both men and women, whereas jerkins are worn only by men.
2) Jackets are typically worn over one layer of clothing such as a T-shirt, shirt, or blouse, while jerkins are worn over doublets.
3) Jackets can have different styles and designs, with various names such as dinner jacket, blazer, suit jacket, leather jacket, bomber, sailor jacket, and more. Jerkins, on the other hand, are typically close-fitting and sleeveless, made of leather, and were commonly worn in 16th and 17th century Europe.


Jacket and jerkin are two types of upper garments that are worn over another layer of clothes. A jerkin is a type of jacket which is close-fitting and sleeveless. The key difference between jacket and jerkin is their wearers; Jackets are worn by both men and women whereas jerkins are worn only by men.

What is a Jacket?

Jacket is a garment that covers the upper part of the body. However, jackets are typically worn over one layer of clothing such as T-shirt, shirt or blouse. Jackets are very similar to coats and blazers and sometimes these words are also used interchangeably. However, jackets are generally considered to be shorter, lighter and close-fitting than coats.

Jackets can have different styles and designs. They usually have a front opening with buttons or zips, as well as collars, lapels and pockets. They can be sleeveless or have full length sleeves. Jackets usually extend either to hips or mid-stomach. They are worn as fashion items or a protective layer against the weather.

What is a Jerkin?

A jerkin is a close-fitting, sleeveless jacket worn by men. Jerkins are typically made of leather. They were commonly worn during the 16th and 17th century Europe. It was common practice among men of those days to wear jerkins over doublets, padded, close-fitting jackets with long sleeves.

The style and cut of jerkins however, did not remain the same. In the 16th century, jerkins were slashed and punched, and were closed at the neck and hung open at the doublet. But by the 17th century, they had high waists and long skirts like the doublets worn at that time. They were also buttoned at the waist and opened above.

It is also important to know that jerkins can refer to another type of garment – the word jerkin is also used to refer to a sleeveless leather worn by British soldiers in the 20th century. However, this jacket is also very similar to the historical jerkin and provided soldiers protection against the cold while allowing free movement.

What is the difference between Jacket and Jerkin?

Jacket Jerkin
Jacket is an upper garment worn over another cloth. Jerkin is a type of close-fitting, sleeveless jacket.
Jackets are worn by both men and women. Jerkins were worn by men.
Jackets can be loose or tight. Jerkins are tight.
Jackets are typically worn over shirts, t-shirts, blouses and even dresses. Jerkins are worn over doublets.
Jackets usually have long sleeves. Jerkins are typically sleeveless.
Jackets are very popular and worn by everyone. Jerkins are not very popular garments in modern fashion.

Image Courtesy:
“Picture of jerkin” By Europeana staff photographer – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
“Tan leather jacket” By Dr. Blofeld (Blofeld of SPECTRE) – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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